"White people are comfortable anywhere," says restaurateur Andy Shallal. "In order for a black person to walk into a space, there need to be signals that say, 'You're welcome.'" In this week's show we decode those signals, which include the decor and music, the staff and other customers, and more. These codes tell you what kind of place a restaurant is, and whether it's for you. So what happens when a restaurant uses these signals to bring certain people in, and keep others out? This week we visit three very different restaurants in Washington D.C. to talk with the owners and customers about the different signals these places send, and what those codes can tell us about larger questions of race and culture. This episode is co-hosted by writer and reporter Kat Chow, formerly of the NPR podcast and blog Code Switch.

Note: This episode first aired four years ago. We know that many of us can’t go to restaurants right now, but we think the questions it raises are bigger than restaurants, and remain very relevant today.

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Transcript available at www.sporkful.com.