Succotash, celebrity chef Edward Lee’s luxe Southern restaurant in Penn Quarter, reopens today (Monday, August 30) with a new name reflecting a steakhouse-style makeover that took place while it was temporarily closed for over a year. Now known as Succotash Prime, the restaurant introduces a revamped menu (full version below) listing smoked steaks with a range of sauces and a la carte sides that maintain the Kentuckian and Korean influences Lee imbued into the original. “That is who I am and it bleeds into everything I cook,” Lee says via email.
Lee calls the steakhouse format “an American classic” that lets people design their own meals. The new menu lists six different cuts of sustainably raised beef from well-regarded producers like Roseda Farms in Monkton, Maryland, Seven Hills Food Co. in Lynchburg, Virginia, and Creekstone Farms in Kansas. From the $39 hanger steak to a $119 bone-in tomahawk ribeye for two, all of them spend brief time in a Southern Pride smoker in Succotash’s basement kitchen before getting seared and paired with sauces like soy-ginger glaze, blue cheese with furikake, or Cajun-spiced butter. Sides include an Old Bay mac and cheese, cheesy grits, watermelon and fried peanuts, and collard greens with kimchi and country ham.
Succotash Prime added a grilled eggplant steak with mint chimichurri, for vegetarians, and expanded its selection of fish dishes. Popular dishes like the chicken and waffles with pickled okra, dirty fried chicken with honey gochujang sauce, deviled eggs, and Nashville hot oysters are still available.
“Half the menu is returning and half the menu is brand-new,” says Jason Berry, a founding partner of parent company Knead Hospitality + Design. “There’s not a lot of steak houses where you can get award-winning fried chicken and filet mignon. We’re pretty excited about the approach.”
Knead also added new murals and made repairs inside the 10,000-square-foot space located inside a historic bank building at 915 F Street NW. Eater DC gave Succotash its Design of the Year award in 2017.
“When a restaurant sits dark for a period of time it doesn’t wear well,” Berry says. “You have to keep a restaurant moving, you have to keep the blood flowing or it tends to get a little sedentary. Our restaurant is no different. We had to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars getting the restaurant up to speed. You can’t charge $50 for a steak in a place that looks rundown and beat up.”
Restaurants in Penn Quarter and other parts of downtown D.C. took a huge hit as tourism dwindled and office workers stayed home. In March 2020, days after D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a dine-in ban, Succotash began operating as a relief center for out-of-work restaurant staffers to pick up free meals. The restaurant attempted to reopen in July 2020 but shut down after just two weeks.
“We of course wanted to give it a shot, make sure it was a bad idea, and it was,” Berry says. Knead agreed with Succotash’s landlord on an August 2021 comeback, and the restaurant group is still optimistic about the neighborhood’s prospects for the fall.
Succotash Prime will open for dinner only, with lunch to be launched at a later date. Brunch will debut on the weekend on September 11 and September 12. The opening hours are slated for 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.