Oct 31, 2023 - Food and Drink

First Look: the Salt Line team's chic Tysons Tex-Mex

The new Ometeo. Rendering courtesy of GrizForm Design Architects

Upscale Tex-Mex restaurant Ometeo is gearing up for a big, margarita-fueled opening in Tysons Corner before the year's out.

Why it matters: The indoor/outdoor restaurant is the latest from D.C.'s Long Shot Hospitality — they're behind popular spots like The Salt Line and Dauphine's — and is part of a Tysons development boom bringing top restaurant talents to the 'burbs.

Driving the news: Austin-based chef Gabe Erales is co-leading the project, Long Shot tells Axios. The El Paso native brings a homegrown take on Tex-Mex border cuisine to the restaurant and has been working with Long Shot's head chef Kyle Bailey for years to develop the concept.

Catch up quick: You may remember Erales as Top Chef's Season 18 winner in Portland — and the fallout after it came to light that he had been fired the previous year for harassment.

A plant-filled bar area at Ometeo
Ometeo's indoor/outdoor bar. Rendering courtesy of Ometeo

Zoom in: Ometeo will bring big Texas energy to the growing Capital One Center with multiple dining rooms, bars indoors and out, and a huge patio. At the same time, the team wants diners to experience a more nuanced version of Tex-Mex dining.

What they're saying: "There are all these preconceived notions — tons of melted cheese, chili con carne — and that's a big part of Tex-Mex," Erales tells Axios. "But there's also a lot of diversity, and a history of regional Mexican cooking that spilled over into Texas, whether that's mole or campfire cooking, or tamales."

On the plate: Being a Long Shot production, expect a ton of coastal influence in the way of ceviches, lobster tostadas, or the Salt Line's beloved "stuffies" (stuffed clams) in tamale form.

  • The kitchen will fashion homemade flour and corn tortillas for tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas, along with lesser-seen dishes like barbecued quail or red chili pork stew.
Chefs Gabe Erales (left) and Kyle Bailey
Chefs Gabe Erales (left) and Kyle Bailey. Photo courtesy of Long Shot Hospitality

In your glass: Mexican martinis, frozen aguas frescas, and all the agave-based spirits you can imagine.

Zoom out: Like a lot of Washingtonians, Long Shot partner Jeremy Carman grew up on Austin Grill and Cactus Cantina. "Everyone has their memories of what Tex-Mex is — nostalgia and comfort and fun — but it'll be fun to represent what that looks like in 2024."


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