Months after leaving his H Street Trinidadian hit Cane, Eater DC’s 2019 Chef of the Year Peter Prime has turned over a new chapter in his culinary career at another island-styled restaurant in D.C.
Bammy’s partners Chris Morgan and Gerald Addison, the former co-chefs of Michelin-starred hotspot Maydan, personally wooed Prime to join their two-year-old breakout venture along the banks of the Anacostia River. Prime brings the cuisine of his native Trinidad and Tobago to the table, with plans to augment and edit its existing menu of Caribbean-hopping favorites like jerk chicken, shrimp and goat curry, conch fritters, and rum-heavy painkiller cocktails.
“This is the perfect next step. I enjoying cooking Caribbean food and this is a great opportunity to keep doing that in a great environment,” Prime tells Eater. His first official day in the Navy Yard kitchen is Wednesday, May 25 (301 Water Street SE).
“I think our understanding of the industry was really different,” says Prime. “Then being at the beginning of something new [with St. James], you really need to be on the same page with a similar vision.” (That modern Caribbean restaurant opens this week, and its newly named chef is Fiola Mare alum Alfredo Romero Contreras.)
Prime’s cooking at Cane garnered hours-long waits and national attention, and Addison and Morgan shared the same idea to reach out when word of his departure first spread.
“We had yet to meet but we heard amazing things about him about his culinary skills,” says Morgan. “He always spends time at tables at his restaurants, which I absolutely love.”
Being a solo executive chef got “super lonely” at times, says Prime, and the chance to be part of a Caribbean dream team had its appeal.
“The camaraderie in the kitchen was one of the things I got into the business for. I’m looking forward to being able to collaborate with people who get the industry,” says the French Culinary Institute grad. Prime got a taste of his new co-workers’ talents years ago while dining at their hearth-fired predecessor.
“I have had transformational, influential food experiences before, and Maydan was definitely one of those,” he says.
Some of Prime’s top-selling creations at Cane included signature doubles (fry breads filled with spiced chickpeas); whole fried snapper escoveitch; pimento wood-smoked jerk wings; and roti rolls, or South Asian-influenced Caribbean flatbreads stuffed with potato and meat curries. At Bammy’s, he plans to keep exploring his Trinidadian roots and the food found at street carts, rum shops, and Caribbean home kitchens.
“We are open to any and all conversation around existing Bammy’s dishes, and ultimately we want the food to be as best it can possibly be,” says Morgan.
The partners opened Bammy’s in 2020 to honor the Caribbean cuisine they fell in love with, through family connections (Morgan has a Jamaican aunt), memorable meals from carryouts in D.C. and New York, and extensive travels through Barbados, Trinidad, and Jamaica.
“I want to respect the great things that have been done here. I’m going to bring my Trinidadian perspective and keep exploring Caribbean food to make cool stuff,” says Prime.
He plans to contribute curries, family recipes, twists on traditional fare, and iconic Trinidadian staples like “bake and shark” — a popular pocket sandwich at beach shacks and street stalls across the island. On its own, a doughy fry bake is a beloved breakfast order he compares to a fried biscuit. Trinidadian rum punch, which goes heavy on Angostura bitters over fruits, could also come on board behind the bar.
“It’s going to be lot of fun playing with Jamaican and Trini curries, contrasting what makes both of them great,” he adds.
Bammy’s marks Prime’s return to brunch service for the first time since 2019, when he led the kitchen at Bloomingdale’s Caribbean-inspired smokehouse Spark before opening Cane. Starting this spring, Bammy’s livened up the weekend meal with reggae music, DJs, and themed day parties.
In comparison to 40-seat, landlocked Cane, Prime’s new waterfront workplace at Bammy’s feels a bit more like home — between scenic views of boats bobbing outside and more customers to entertain. A breezy, 50-seat patio out front is joined by a soaring, 70-seat interior. The kitchen will soon get a refresh with new toys on the line for Prime to play with.
“My theory is the more people coming together to think, it’s going to be better. We are super fortunate to have him,” says Addison. “As soon as you think you’ve figured it all out, you have no more room to keep growing.”