Mexican taqueria to open in Petworth this week

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A new taqueria is opening this week in Petworth, serving house-made Mexican dishes and drinks in a modern casual setting at 821 Upshur St. NW.

Taqueria del Barrio is the first brick-and-mortar concept from chef Anna Bran-Leis, who operates the DC Empanadas stand with her husband Shawn Leis in Union Market.

“After our experience in DC’s food scene with a food truck, catering, pop-ups and more, we’re thrilled to finally open our first brick-and-mortar in Petworth,” Bran-Leis says in a news release, adding that she wants the place to become “this neighborhood’s go-to taqueria.”

Empanadas will also feature on the menu at the new Petworth eatery, but the speciality is tacos — $3 each in 14 different styles, including carne asada, seafood and grilled cactus. The menu also includes three specialty “torta” sandwiches, a beef meatball dish, and entrees such as stuffed chile peppers and chicken mole.

Beverage director Chris Bartino is running the bar, featuring “artful signature cocktails” like a margarita with El Silencio mezcal, caramelized pineapple and habanero turmeric syrup, according to the release. Draft beers will rotate seasonally, and the wine menu will highlight Spanish varietals.

Taqueria del Barrio seats 92 guests in its 2,200-square-foot space, which is decorated to evoke the taquerias of Mexico City. The restaurant is opening Thursday with lunch and dinner offerings, but plans to expand later with brunch. A 16-seat patio is also expected to open this summer.