When it comes to local cuisine, many Washingtonians would argue that there’s nothing more D.C. than the sweet, tangy flavor of mumbo sauce. Capice Faulcon, head chef at Black Squirrel in the Adams Morgan neighborhood in the Northwest quadrant of the city has made it his mission to elevate the standard carry-out sauce with marijuana, and in doing so, he plans to make a major imprint on the local culinary scene.
“You know mumbo sauce is technically not really from D.C. It’s from Chicago. But it basically came to D.C… and has become that symbolized sauce that people love about D.C. And I wanted to bring my version of mumbo sauce,” Faulcon told the AFRO.
Faulcon settled in D.C. from Richmond, Va. a decade ago and has been working his way up, and paying his dues at local restaurants, such as Copycat, a Chinese food restaurant located on H Street in Northwest D.C.
“When I became the chef at Copycat, what inspired me was being in a Chinese restaurant working with the dumplings, skewers, and baos, and I was like, ‘Why can’t we have chicken wings here?’ So I studied mumbo sauce,” Faulcon said.
Faulcon said he began selling the mumbo wings at Copycat every Friday, after he perfected sauce, but due to difference about the vision of the restaurant and menu, he had to stop selling them.
“I never gave up on my sauce,” Faulcon said. “After leaving Copycat, and just being in this business, sometimes you get tired of working and not having your own thing… so it was always in my agenda to have something that I can say was mine in D.C.- and it was mumbo sauce.”
As Head Chef at Black Squirrel, Faulcon brought mumbo wings to the menu, which are a big hit, even with the growing popularity of the special sauce at restaurants much nicer than local carryouts.
“Everybody knows the simple steps of what a mumbo sauce is basically, Ketchup, Sugar, Vinegar, Paprika, Water, and Hot Sauce. I switched mine. I wanted to be more Asian fusion with D.C. flare,” he said. In addition, to mixing the ingredients, Faulcon slow cooks the sauce for about two-and-a-half hours, keeping the temperature lower than 200 degrees.
Still, with a tasty product and positive reviews, Faulcon felt like he had not made his mark in D.C. cuisine.
“We had no money. We were basically taking paychecks for rent… and I told them, ‘This is going to be the symbol of our company,’” the 34-year-old said when he presented the idea of infusing marijuana in mumbo sauce to his friends.
Calling the business, Highly Creative, Faulcon, along with his business partners, Maddie Fanning and Dani Ramirez, launched their mumbo sauce product on Halloween of 2017. Since its launch date, the sauce has become a favorite among local cannabis connoisseurs. According to Faulcon, the business makes around 2,000-4,000 sale per week.
“D.C. has made me the guy who has the infused mumbo sauce. The first to do it in the city,” Faulcon said.
Along with mumbo sauce, the company also sells edible treats such as gummies, truffles, drinks, chips, weed pops and infused candy bars. Faulcon, said he hopes that people look beyond what they know about cannabis culture when considering his products.
“We’re not hippies,” he said. “We’re just people who enjoy the quality of life with marijuana.”
Further, Faulcon said his business means even more as a Black man.
“It’s already labeled for Black men to be murderers, and killers, and thugs… We have pride, we have ambitions, we have things we want to go out and get, but we’re so limited because they tell us that we’re limited,” he said.
While it’s not legal to sell infused mumbo sauce and other treats, Faulcon attends marijuana events where the product can be gifted. For now, cannabis enthusiasts over 21 can go to Black Squirrel Thursdays for their weekly event where Highly Creative products are gifted and displayed.
“Never be scared to come out to these events because at the end of the day it’s about getting the medication that you need, Faulcon told the AFRO.