District Taco Plans Tenleytown Opening

District Taco's downtown DC location

District Taco’s downtown DC location

Local fast-casual restaurant District Taco appears headed to Tenleytown.

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission granted the restaurant an exception to a prohibition on chain stores at the new Tenley View building, 4600 Wisconsin Avenue, during the commission’s September meeting. The terms of the prohibition – designed to prevent mattress stores, pawnbrokers, and fast food restaurants from becoming tenants – apply to “any establishment with five or more of the same named establishments in DC.”

District Taco currently has three locations in the city, but plans to open more restaurants in the near future, which would have put it at odds with the Memorandum of Understanding the ANC previously negotiated with Douglas Development, the firm behind the construction of Tenley View.

At the September 9 meeting, ANC commissioners were unanimous in their support for District Taco. Chairperson Jonathan Bender said that residents have lit up his Facebook feed with enthusiastic messages in favor of the restaurant’s addition to the neighborhood.

District Taco is something of a local success story. With the backing of a neighbor who loved his cooking, founder Osiris Hoil began his business as a food truck after he lost his construction job during the 2008 real estate market crash. He has since grown District Taco to six brick-and-mortar locations, employing 280 workers, in Virginia and the District, with plans to open his first Maryland location soon.

District Taco is the first establishment to express publicly its interest in becoming a tenant at Tenley View. Douglas Development, in an email, told Tenleytown, D.C. that the property could have up to three retail tenants depending upon each business’ demand for square footage.

According to Hoil, who spoke at the ANC meeting, the Tenleytown location would be approximately 2,800 sq. ft. with some additional outdoor seating. While alcohol would be served, with Hoil noting that his spicy tacos pair nicely with a beer, he also stressed that he did not envision the restaurant to be a place for people to hang out and drink. His emphasis is on his Yucatan-influenced tacos and burritos, served at an accessible price point, with recipes inspired by his own mother.

Although Tenleytown residents will have to wait a few months before enjoying District Taco here at home, those interested in sampling the menu can check out the local chain’s other locations, including the one closest to the neighborhood at 1919 M Street.

Photo Credit: Flikr user m01229

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