Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen (also known as DCBK) is a South End treasure serving authentic Southern comfort food and signature cocktails while showcasing a variety of talented musicians. At the heart of it all lies a dedication to community, serviceand good fun. No one embodies these values more than owner Nia Grace. When speaking with her, one can’t help but notice the joy Grace exudes when discussing her work. She explains, “The reason why I fell in love with [Darryl’s] is because it is just so authentic, and it really is a space for community. It also happens to have excellent food, great service and a variety of entertainment. It is a gem in my backyard that I grew to be familiar with.”
Nia’s journey to Darryl’s is nothing short of serendipitous. A born-and-bred Bostonian growing up in Roxbury and Dorchester, Grace worked in nonprofits for 12 years giving back to the communities that she loved through mentorship and event planning. As she grew in her professional life, Nia searched for a community where like-minded individuals could gather. Nine years ago, Nia and a friend visited DCBK on a whim, not knowing that a dream was already set in motion: “I said to my friend, ‘If I ever owned a venue, I’d want it to be just like this.’” Just a few years later, Darryl’s was officially sold to Nia.
According to Grace, there is a unifying thread amongst all Bostonians: the love of good music. Located next door to the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music, DCBK has served as a training ground for young musicians looking to gain experience. After live entertainment took a hiatus, Darryl’s has once again welcomed music back onto its stage. Guests can experience a robust lineup of vocalists and ensembles on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as at brunch and dinner on Sundays. Over 50 musicians and groups are employed by Darryl’s each year, with genres ranging from jazz and blues to funk and reggae.
Grace describes herself as a mentor at heart, and is grateful that her work with DCBK allows her to continue making community partnerships in Boston and beyond. Most recently, Grace spoke at the State House steps during a press conference with Massachusetts Restaurants United, a coalition of local restaurant owners and chefs formed during 2020 advocating for the survival of local businesses and the vibrancy of the communities they serve. The organization is calling for 15% caps on third-party delivery app fees, as well as the continuation for cocktails to go—a major draw for many eateries. According to Nia, these connections are vital, as restaurants “are representative of the communities around us, and communities that have historically been there.” In addition to partnerships with local advocacy groups, DCBK is also dedicated to uplifting Black-owned brands and small businesses. Guests can “pour some magic” into their glass with the McBride Sisters’ “Black Girl Magic” wine collection, sold exclusively at Darryl’s. The collection is “an ode to Black culture,” inspired by the creativity and resiliency of Black women.
As for the future, Nia is excited to welcome friends new and old back to Darryl’s. “We’re so happy that we’re a destination for our neighbors,” she explains. “We’ve got a great amount of regulars that just love us, and we have a lot of visitors that are looking for that special gem in the city. We’re so glad that they call us that.”