Inside Look

Taqueria del Barrio – The Newcomer Bringing Modern Mexican Fare to Petworth’s Happy Hour Scene

From the team behind DC Empanadas comes Taqueria del Barrio – The Petworth newcomer brings a hip, modern aesthetic and homemade, Mexican flavors to the neighborhood.

We all love a good local spot that serves up equal parts authentic food, delicious drinks and a relaxed, inviting atmosphere: enter Taqueria del Barrio. No stranger to the DC food scene, the owners behind Taqueria del Barrio are looking to create an environment for locals to gather; from the beverage program to the food, you’ll find elements reflective of DC food culture here. We recently sat down with owner Anna Bran-Leis to talk about our favorite subject: Happy Hour.

Happy Hour Until 8 to Let You Be Great:

Happy Hour ending at 6p is so 5 years ago – and getting to HH before the clock strikes 7 is nearly impossible for a vast segment of DC Happy Hour goers. Bran-Leis gets it, and Taqueria del Barrio offers Happy Hour Tuesday – Friday from 4 – 8PM, available in both the bar and the comfortable lounge area tucked towards the back of the restaurant. Taqueria del Barrio’s extended time range is a welcome change for those who can’t escape the office until later in the evening. Bran-Leis wanted to create a relaxing environment where anyone can sit back and enjoy time with friends, unwinding and slowing down from the stress and rush that is otherwise known as a typical DC work week. Although the crowd leans more on the side of Petworth denizens, Bran-Leis is hopeful that the down to earth vibes and happy hour specials will encourage the downtown crowd to venture further up the Green/Yellow line.

The News on the Booze:

To revamp the drink menu, Taqueria del Barrio is teaming up with local mixologist, Gina Chersevani (the master Mixtress behind Buffalo& Bergen and Suburbia at Union Market). When the new menu is unveiled in a couple of weeks, you’ll find drinks that are more dynamic, complex and exciting. Until then, enjoy specialty cocktails that complement the restaurant’s Mexican menu (what else goes better with Mexican fare than tequila and mezcal?) On the happy hour menu, expect discounted select wines, house mixed cocktails, a classic margarita, and the Margarita del Barrio made with mezcal, caramelized pineapple and habanero turmeric syrup. Created by Bran-Leis, it also happens to be her favorite drink on the menu.

What to Nosh On:

Focused on creating an approachable happy hour menu, the team at Taqueria del Barrio was intentional about selecting items that are shareable, fun, and crowd-pleasing, yet also budget-friendly. Tasty Happy Hour nosh at a real deal  is something we can all get behind. Happy Hour fare includes Guacamole (handmade in-house every day), Mole Nachos topped with chicken tinga, cheese and mole sauce (a favorite of Bran-Leis that is unique to happy hour and won’t be found on the dinner menu) Queso Fundido (because who doesn’t love cheese?), Gringos Tacos (no-frills tacos filled with ground beef, lettuce, tomato and cheese that are separate from the 14 different taco offerings on the main menu) and Torta Sliders. The miniature sized portions of their best-selling tortas are a crowd favorite – take your pick of protein (choose between any of the taco meat options or the vegetal) sandwiched between a slightly sweetened roll sourced from nearby Mabuhay Bakery in Springfield, Virginia. The mix of sweet with salty and spicy has us planning our return trip for more.

Looking Ahead:

Expect the Happy Hour menu to change slightly with each season – among Bran-Leis’ management team are three culinary degree holders, meaning there’s always collaboration and no shortage of new menu ideas being tossed around.

We may be the Happy Hour experts, but as true Washingtonians, at the mere mention of brunch, our ears perk up. The recently launched Drag Brunch at Taqueria del Barrio has been a huge hit with sold out weekends already in the books – also on the horizon is a massive celebration for Dia de los Muertos – as if we needed another reason to get excited about fall in DC!

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