About Mitsitam Café & Chefs

Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe

“Mitsitam” means “Let’s Eat!” in the Native language of the Delaware and Piscataway People.

The Mitsitam Cafe enhances the museum experience by providing visitors the opportunity to enjoy indigenous cuisines of the Americas. The cafe features native foods found through out the Western Hemisphere.

Northern Woodlands– Region that spans from the Atlantic Coast to the Mississippi and from Southern Canada to the Chesapeake

Mesoamerica– Home of the Papago or “Bean People” and spans from the American Southwest to Mexico and Central America

South America– Region that encompasses the entire southwestern hemisphere

Northwest Coast– Region that stretches from Southern Alaska to Northern California

Great Plains– Region that stretched over the great landscape from Alberta, Canada to Texas

Each Station depicts the life ways and related cooking techniques, ingredients and flavors found in both traditional and contemporary Native dishes.

Richard Hetzler
Executive Chef

A graduate of Baltimore Culinary College, Chef Hetzler worked at several fine-dining restaurants in the Washington, DC, and Baltimore area before joining Restaurant Associates at the Smithsonian museums. Chef Hetzler was on the team that researched and developed the groundbreaking concept for the Mitsitam Cafe. As executive chef, he continues to create and refine seasonal menus that showcase the Americas’ native bounty.

Freddie Bitsoie
Executive Chef

Bitsoie was the winner of the NMAI’s Living Earth Festival Native Chef Cooking Competition in 2013, and was named “a rising star in the constellation of young chefs” by Native Peoples magazine in 2011.