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876 Cafe Opened Today in Van Ness

by Prince Of Petworth April 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm 24 Comments

A few weeks ago we noted 876 Cafe was coming to the former Indian Ocean restaurant at 4221 Connecticut Ave, NW in Van Ness. Thanks to a reader for sending word that they’ve opened today. Their Web site says:

Enjoy the complex yet simplistic fusion of Caribbean cuisine with Washington’s premier restaurant 876 Cafe. Located one block from the Van Ness metro station neighboring the Cleveland Park area, 876 Cafe invites you to experience familiar dishes piqued with zesty accents of the islands.

Inside, the warm and open decor showcases talent of local artists and helps the customer to transcend to a vibe where everything is “irie and cool”. Sample favorites like our fresh multi-green salad infused with sweet coconut-gingered flakes, ackee and saltfish wraps or our refreshing coconut water contained in the original husk.

And as with everything you can expect exceptional service in a casual environment.

Go ahead. Grab a group of your friends or co-workers and relax on the veranda, bar or swanky WiFi lounge area for lunch, dinner, weekend brunch or happy hour. 876 Cafe promises to stimulate your pallet and captivate your senses.

You can see their menus here.

  • schweeney

    “complex yet simplistic fusion”
    ??? what does that mean?

    • Denizen of Tenallytown

      I think it means Caribbean food that’s been toned down and priced up for the Caucasian crowd. $17 for jerk chicken breast, aaaaiieee. Best of luck to them!

      • Vouthynar

        I don’t know who wrote it, but probably a artistic attempt at an oxymoron. Yet if you try the food, it kind of makes sense. Thanks for the well wishes Denizen, and very intelligent perspective on the site description, yet compared to all of D.C. is it really priced up?

  • ctk

    lulz, who wrote this?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t want these people stimulating my “pallet”.

    • Vouthynar

      Lol, then what do you want to be “stimulated?”

      • Forklift? Loading dock?


        • Vouthynar

          I’m not manly enough to do such work, I’d rather entertain you with a drink and some magic. The only “forklift” I know is to my mouth. :)

  • saf

    I don’t want “simplistic” food.

    • Vouthynar

      Lol, then concentrate on the “complex” and cut out the “yet” in your mind! :)

  • AK

    Favorite parts:
    “complex yet simplistic”
    “Washington’s premier restaurant”
    “sweet coconut-gingered flakes”
    “as with everything you can expect exceptional service”

    • Vouthynar

      Hey, even I “LOL’ed” and O.O at some of it, but I draw the line at “exceptional service.” I’d break my neck to make one of you all happy while you are there!

  • elke

    *sniff* indian ocean…

    • Being a life-long Van Ness resident, I have seen so much come and go out of that space, I give this place 1 1/2 years max as it is too nichey and pricey restaurants don’t do well there. Doesn’t look like they got the memo that they are not on 14th street.

      • Vouthynar

        Then what do we do to make it the best for the neighborhood? I am assuming when you say “nichey” you are basing it on the Caribbean style choice. Pricey? I thought the price points were normal. Yes, it’s fresh, hip, and different, and under new ownership and management, they took a risk to bring something to grow in the area.

        As the bartender, I want this place to be the best it can be. I personally like the neighborhood, and I think we do fit. I was talking to passerbys and it seems that most are hip, very well spoken, highly intelligent, and think it would be a nice place to brag and bring their friends to locally.

        From what I heard, the Indian Cuisine was more buffet style, pretty nichey itself by-the-way, and there was rarely people there. What else can we do to make it better for Van Ness?

        • I hope and want you guys do well as I would like for something to do well in that spot. But I just don’t see the Van Ness neighborhood clamoring to a Caribbean restaurant in that location. That’s not a knock on you guys or your food, it’s the location.

          I see others have given advice like include a carry-out menu, which is right on as your main clientele will be the residents of the nearby apartments buildings off of Van Ness and people from the office lunch crowd. The big issue with that area is parking and the lack of it. People don’t see the Van Ness area as a place to go out to eat at night especially with Cleveland Park being so close. After sundown that area is like a graveyard. UDC doesn’t help either as they bring in almost no money to the area. Also neighborhood foot traffic is deceptive as most residents head north on Connecticut (like me) from the metro and bus stops and rarely head south past the Giant. Even the nice big new Walgreens is having issues bringing bodies into their store; I know apples and oranges, but that block just has not been good for businesses besides the liquor store. That block is kind of off by itself in the Van Ness area, besides the businesses themselves, there’s nothing attracting people to walk in that direction.

          I hope 876 bucks this trend.

          • Vouthynar

            I think you are right on a lot of accounts. I found out when I was passing flyers and talking to people that most of the traffic does go north, and because of where the metro is situated, no one really know that the restaurant is there. I guess that’s why we focus on the service and the experience, and it’s a tricky balance to be a nice restaurant and all the while serve the people of the locale.

            We have been talking a lot about take-out and carry-out menus. Hopefully the chef keeps this in mind as the menu transitions toward the Grand Opening. As we rely on becoming a top restaurant in the area, 876 knows the people living in Van Ness are the backbone to our survival.

            Hopefully, people will pregame and spend some time in the week to get-together and happy hour once the bar opens in a couple of weeks. It’s my mission and hope to create a new crowd that brings a lot of different people together to mingle and show how diverse we are as an environment. One of the people (-really a couple,) I served last night described our food as “contemporary fusion.” Revisiting those words, I want the crowd visiting their 876 the same way.

            I personally appreciate you wishing us luck, we know it’s going to be difficult, and we will fight to ‘buck the trend.’ I’ve been there since the day the doors opened, and I will personally see it through until the door ever closes. Until then, my foot will be in the crack of the threshold until it stays no longer. This is indeed an experience for us all.


  • Sir Douchy

    There’s so much wrong with the description it’s difficult to know where to start, however “swanky wi-fi lounge” jumped out at me as a possible contender for worst phraseology.

    • +1.

      What makes it “swanky” — does that mean they’re charging for the wi-fi??

      • Vouthynar


        I need to learn what a “swanky” attitude is so I can reproduce it for you all. But we have Wi-Fi, and it’s free. I can picture laptops at the bar, and maybe the chill lounge, but the rest, I don’t know.

  • Kim

    Indian Ocean was great, and I am going to miss carrying out the fantastic veggie korma and the delicious lunch buffet. There is NO way ‘ackee and saltfish wraps’ and ‘coconut water in the husk’ is going to succeed in this location. NO WAY. I give it 6 months.

    • Vouthynar

      Yes Kim, a lot of people I talked to were commenting on the need of a “carry out” / “take out” menu. I’m going to be bringing it up to Gary, Moreen, and Mike our cook today when I get to work. I think they really thought about it before hand because they were focusing on the level of service by trying to keep it open 11 to 11. As of right now, you can call in and place an order, wait and pick-up as the option. Hopefully, as time goes on, and the menu expands to meet both the needs of the restaurant and the community, we can find the balance to us as your local restaurant forever.

  • Chris

    For some reason Jerry’s was closed yesterday afternoon so I got a sandwich from this place. I think it was more and easily better food for about the same price. But they do need to spice/heat things up to be Jamaican.

    DC’s 80c tax on $8 of food is a shocker thou.

    • Vouthynar

      *takes notes* Like what spices should I recommend to the Chef Mike?


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