Downtown DC restaurants were some of the hardest hit during the pandemic, with closures of foodie destinations like Momofuku CCDC and expense account standbys such as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Knead Hospitality + Designer co-founder Jason Berry says his team had those two restaurants in mind when deciding how to revamp Succotash, their splashy Southern collaboration with Louisville-based chef Edward Lee. The Smoke & Pickles author already brings his Korean heritage to dishes like gochujang-glazed “dirty” fried chicken, a hit that will return when the restaurant reopens in Penn Quarter today, August 30th. All they needed were the steaks.
Cue Succotash Prime, a “Southern steakhouse” that will debut in the DC Succotash space, which had been shuttered for over a year (the National Harbor location has remained up and running). “We didn’t just want to do a steakhouse, because that’s not interesting in a city full of steakhouses,” he says. The team also considered the voluminous, white marbled space: a historic bank building that Knead spent over $6 million designing when the restaurant opened in 2017. During the restaurant’s closure, it was home to the Lee Initiative, a pandemic relief effort for restaurant workers. But now, the team is homing in again on its grandeur. Design firm //3877 is behind both the original and current look, which has been refreshed with more greenery in the 50 foot’ vaulted glass atrium.
“The space has beautiful bones to work with,” Berry says. “Are we doing right by the restaurant by having it not be as destination-y as it could be? A little higher price point might match better.”
Lee already had a Southern Pride smoker in the kitchen, and began toying with a menu of lightly smoked steaks—everything from filets to bone-in short ribs and tomahawks. The cuts, which range from $39 to $119, come with optional sauces like bourbon-bordelaise, Cajun-spice butter, and blue cheese/furikake. Lee has also added more seafood dishes to the menu, along with such vegan options as a grilled eggplant steak with chimichurri.
Staples from the old Succotash will remain, including the fried chicken, shrimp n’ grits, a Southern family-style feast ($59 per person), and a decadent weekend brunch (starting September 11). Two other elements that the team hopes will draw diners downtown: live music from Sara & Austin Jazz Duo on Friday, Sunday, and Monday evenings, plus daily happy hour from 4 to 8 PM.
Succotash Prime. 915 F St., NW