DC loyalists have grumbled in recent years over the influx of chains and out-of-town restaurateurs opening on 14th Street, Northwest. Some great news, to the contrary: the owners of beloved H Street Trinidadian spot Cane are opening a new restaurant, St. James, at 2017 14th Street, Northwest (formerly New York-based cocktail bar Quarter + Glory, which shuttered in 2018). Chef Peter Prime, who operates the Atlas District hotspot with sister Jeanine Prime, says their new modern, pan-Caribbean concept will differ from Cane—popular for its street-style fare like jerk wings, doubles, and whole snapper escovitch.
“It will definitely focus more on the African influences in Trinidadian food. I’m going to give myself a little more license to explore,” Prime says. “You’ll definitely see more callaloo on the menu. There’s also a bigger kitchen and more room.”
The core team behind the restaurant will remain the same as Cane, though Prime says he’s working on some “exciting partnerships” with talents in DC’s bar scene to develop the cocktails and beverage program (Cane, due to its very cozy size, keeps things fairly simple with rum drinks). The H Street spot has been operating through the pandemic as takeout-only—again, due to size. But Prime says he hopes to return to indoor dining around the time DC moves to full capacity on May 21.
“Cane has been transformed, it’s a big takeout machine. We have boxes everywhere. We have to rethink everything,” says Prime. “I’m excited to cook for people that I can see.”
As for St. James, named for an eclectic district in Trinidad’s capital, Port of Spain, Prime says they’re angling for a late summer opening. The former speakeasy-style bar space is being fully revamped. In addition to indoor seating, the restaurant will have a 12-seat patio with standing room.
“I’ve spent a lot of time walking around [the neighborhood] trying to get a feel for it. It’s very different than the 14th Street I knew when I started cooking in DC at Leopold’s [Kafe] and Citronelle. Marvin’s was always a great spot, and Patty Boom Boom’s—it’s a neighborhood I really love. I’m excited to create a fun, inclusive space with great food.”
*This story has been updated with additional information from the restaurant.