Restaurant Update: Casa Fiesta on Hiatus, Jimmy John’s Progressing
When we heard recently the rumor that Casa Fiesta (4910 Wisconsin Avenue) was closing its doors for good, we were worried Tenleytown was losing a local institution. Fortunately those rumors proved false. While closed at present, restaurant representatives said they plan to re-open in mid-October following the completion of some renovations to the property.
The family-owned Salvadoran-Mexican restaurant, which first opened in 1988, came under new management this spring, seeking to refurbish a reputation that had been tarnished by raucous punk concerts and declining food quality. Nora Alvarez and Pedro Alvarez, supported by Marvin Reyes, are hoping to bring back customers with a streamlined menu featuring Mexican cuisine made with high quality, fresh ingredients. When we spoke with the new management this summer, they acknowledged that in recent years Casa Fiesta had not been known for quality food, but they are hoping neighbors will “give them a second chance.”
Reyes recalled that when he was a young boy customers used to line up down the block for a table at Casa Fiesta. He’s hoping that by refocusing on classic Mexican dishes based around seasonal produce they can return the restaurant to its heyday.
“We want to be a neighborhood family restaurant,” said Reyes “because we have so much history with our neighbors.” That means, among other things, an end to the punk concerts, which he says deterred a lot of people from frequenting the restaurant.
Before Casa Fiesta took a break to make improvements, we had a chance to sample the lunch menu. It was definitely a mixed bag, but headed in the right direction.
While the salsa and quesadillas were nothing to write home about, and paled in comparison to offerings at Tenleytown’s other Mexican restaurant Guapo’s, the tacos asados with chicken were outstanding. The generous portion of three soft tacos filled with tender chicken, peppers, onions and Casa Fiesta’s smokey, slightly spicy sauce was one of the best Mexican dishes we have eaten anywhere.
If the evolving menu offers more items like the tacos asados, we’ll definitely be back, and we’d encourage neighbors to give Casa Fiesta a try, as well, when it reopens next month.
As Tenleytown, D.C. reported in May, national sandwich chain Jimmy John’s is coming to Tenleytown with a new storefront at 4433 Wisconsin Avenue. Representatives of the restaurant still declined to provide an anticipated opening date when we spoke with them earlier today, citing too many variables in the construction process. However, a quick peak inside showed slow but steady progress in the build out.
Jimmy John’s representatives said they typically release information about location openings about a week prior to their launch date. So Tenleytown residents may not receive much advance notice of when they can expect to enjoy a quick, quality sandwich, but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we do.