We were sad to see Indian Ocean leave Van Ness, but 876 Cafe has quickly revitalized the space which sits directly across from UDC. After purchasing the business from Indian Ocean owners, Moreen Wallace and her team set out to create “complex yet simplistic fusion of Caribbean cuisine.” This fusion is definitely unique for the area and the simple menu features common entrees with intriguing twists.
Wallace believes that the one dish that everyone should try is the spring rolls. You can choose ackee and saltfish or callaloo, served with pineapple chutney & sweet chili sauce. Ackee is Jamaican fruit of West African origin. Adding to the Caribbean theme is an art gallery in the space as well. According to Wallace, “The art gallery was added to break up the very long hallway to the restrooms; the inspiration came from the love of art, the love of exposing good talent blended with the opportunity to add another feature to the whole Caribbean experience.”
Wallace is excited to be a part of the DC restaurant scene, which she says “amazes” her with its “unique décor and offerings.” In terms of inspiration, she looks to former DC restaurateurs Jimmi & Sharon Banks (formerly of Red Ginger). Gaining buzz for a new restaurant, especially in Van Ness, can be challenging. We noticed many empty tables this Saturday evening and a friendly employee handing out an opening notice by the Van Ness CVS. Wallace believes the the cafe’s “warm and friendly service, the warm and open décor, the vibrant and energetic bar, along with the unique corridor art gallery” will help differentiate it from other eateries.
The only Yelp review at the time of publishgin for 876 Cafe gives it five stars but is from a reliable user.
Update: Via Twitter ANC commissioner Bob Summersgill informs us that ANC3F plans to support a stipulated liquor license for the business.
Update 2: No vote or resolution yet from ANC3F, but they agreed to a simple Vol Agr in 20 min which includes entertainment endorsement for weekend jazz brunch & outdoor cafe.