Dec 15, 2023 - Food and Drink

Taco Bamba returns to D.C. next week

A table with Taco Bamba dishes like tacos, torta sandwiches and quesadillas

Taco Bamba City Ridge. Photo: Greg Po

Popular local Taco Bamba finally returns to D.C. on Dec. 21 with the opening of a location in Upper Northwest — their biggest yet.

Why it matters: The District has been Bamba-less since owner Victor Albisu closed his fast-casual Chinatown shop in the pandemic —though he's planning to reopen there, too.

What's happening: Albisu's big Bamba in the new City Ridge development spans 3,100 square feet and boasts a huge patio and a full bar.

  • Bamba classics like Mexican breakfasts, street tacos, and $5 happy hour margaritas endure.

What's new: A ton of fun, new taco creations, like a riff on a chicken Caesar wrap — a viral sensation in the making — or another stuffed with "mambo bacon" and slaw. Also, a luxe lobster and buttered corn creation. "We've been waiting to drop it in a fancy area," Albisu tells Axios.

  • The kitchen is going to extremes with a "clean-style taco" in a cabbage cup or a dirty-style with a griddled cheesy tortilla.
  • If you don't eat tacos, there's always ceviche or lobster-and-bacon fried rice.

In your glass: Lots of tequila and mezcal cocktails, as well as pours of its own private label mezcal made in collaboration with a Oaxacan distillery.

What's next: Bamba has expanded to a dozen locations in the past decade, and is opening in markets further afield like Richmond and Nashville. Albisu tells Axios he just signed a new spot at the Cascades Marketplace in Sterling.

And of course, there's the one coming near Capital One Arena — yes, even if the Caps and Wizards head out.

What they're saying: "The loss of the teams is a blow to all the people who believe in the city," says Albisu, who got his start in D.C. at downtown's BLT Steak. "The whole idea of going into Chinatown for me was to inject belief and energy in the city — to me, it's an incredibly important place."

Of note: The first 100 people in line at 9am at the City Ridge location will get a free collectible mug and a "golden taco ticket" for prizes like a year of free tacos.

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