Spark at Engine 12, safely the only place in town that serves Trinidadian-inflected barbecue out of a century-old firehouse, will limit its kitchen to special events and a small number of ticketed tasting dinners starting next year.
A representative for the restaurant tells Eater it will close on December 30th and re-open under its new business model in January. At that point, chef Peter Prime will develop four to six tasting dinners per month and lead catering for private parties at the three-story firehouse. The first two special dinners have been scheduled for January 18 and February 14 (Valentine’s Day). Reservations are available on Spark’s website.
In a statement provided to Eater, Prime promises to “take Caribbean flavors to the next level with these curated dinners.”
Entrepreneur Jenna Mack, who bought the property in Bloomingdale (1626 North Capitol Street NW) about a year ago, will oversee an events business that will offer Prime’s American-Caribbean cooking as part of its catering packages.
Prime, meanwhile, will also focus on opening his own restaurant. Cane, which is expected to open in February at 403 H Street NE, will showcase local rums from Cotton & Reed and Potomac Distilling Co. alongside Trinidadian staples such as curry-stuffed roti.
Mack, a co-founder of Events Emissary, bought the old firehouse at 1626 North Capitol Street NW about a year ago. Shortly thereafter, she and Prime collaborated on a revamped restaurant that would allow him to cook food from close to home while leaning on a classical French background he honed at Equinox and Citronelle. Michelin put Spark on its 2019 Bib Gourmand list of affordable favorites.
“I never wanted to own a restaurant,” Mack told Eater in February. “Then I tasted Peter’s food.”
Prime’s statement notes that he and Mack are looking forward to continuing their working relationship.
Mack provided a statement saying the business is changing “to meet the demands of the market,” and that Spark’s special events business has grown “ten-fold” in its short lifespan.
“The new Spark at 12 will take the same fantastic food and create an even more special experience for our guests,” Mack says.