Andra “AJ” Johnson

Years of Participation

Andra Johnson got her start in the restaurant business at a local chain restaurant in Rockville, Maryland. She then headed to DC and became an accomplished barista and bartender with Mayorga Coffee and opened a franchise location where she was the GM and Events Coordinator. From there she moved to a bustling neighborhood restaurant, Open City, where she was a Managing Server for 4 years and was then promoted to AGM at The Diner, another restaurant in the Constantine Stavropoulos group. The Diner prompted a deeper interest in fine dining and AJ had to figure out the right establishment to help her make the move. She wound up first at Eola on P Street, a Dan Singhofen restaurant, then joined the opening staff of Le Diplomate, a Stephen Starr restaurant, and finally made her way into the Robert Weidmaier restaurant group as AGM and wine director of Mussel Bar & Grille Bethesda. In 2014, Andra jumped at the chance to work with Tony Brown and Gene Alexeyev at a new neighborhood restaurant, Macon Bistro & Larder, where she later became the GM, Beverage Director, and managing partner. In 2018, Andra also became a co-founder of DMV Black Restaurant Week. Andra is currently the Bar Director of Serenata/Zumo concept in La Cosecha where she renews her commitment to providing exemplary service and thoughtful cocktails each day. Her forthcoming book, 'White Plates, Black Faces', continues her work telling the stories of people of color in the restaurant industry. She is also a Co-Founder of DMV Black Restaurant Week and heads up a cocktail pop up initiative called 'Back to Black' that strives to raise funds to donate to overlooked and underfunded charities and organizations in the DC area.