Burrito truck-turned-restaurant Rito Loco finally has its rooftop bar, more than two years after opening in Shaw. El Techo, which means “roof” in Spanish, is a green-covered respite complete with colorful cacti, fruity drinks, and seafood dishes.
“It’s Instagram gold, for sure,” co-owner Louie Hankins says. “We are trying to create a tropical experience to make people feel like they are in South Florida or the Caribbean.”
The grand opening is scheduled for Friday, September 8, but customers began taking advantage of the breezy space last weekend. Its mezcal margaritas, rimmed with black salt, are already a hit; about 275 were guzzled last Saturday night, reports Hankins.
Co-owner Danny Diaz says the plan was to open earlier this year, but approvals tied to a city grant that helped with construction costs tied up the project. Now that it’s here, Diaz tells Eater the rooftop bar will stay open through the fall and “as long as possible” until D.C.’s cold weather prevails.
The succinct cocktail list includes just two beverages for now, the house margarita and a black currant caipirinha ($11). A newly-arrived shaved ice maker will finish off drinks before they’re handed out in festive blue-tinted glasses.
The beer catalog (all $6) includes tallboys of Tecate, 12-ounce bottles of Corona and Sol, as well as DC Brau Brewing Co’s. Corruption IPA. The booze list is expected to grow to about 10 cocktails, along with tequila flights and beer-and-shot combos.
The bar team hails from Founding Farmers, and drinks get lots of attention. Bloody Marys will get the Mexican treatment (think: drinks forged with pico de gallo stock, and tequilas and mezcals infused with peppers). Mint growing on-site will make its way into mojitos, and sharable mason jar cocktails are also in the works.
A seafood-heavy menu ($15-$20) will include three kinds of ceviche, grilled octopus, mussels, and lobster tacos. For now, food ordered from Rito Loco’s existing menu will parade up the stairs.
The rooftop is tentatively scheduled to operate from 5 p.m. to 11 pm., Monday through Thursday, from 5 p.m to 12:30 a.m. on Fridays, from 3 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturdays, and from 1 p.m to 6 p.m on Sundays. For now, 46 patrons can fit, but the team but is working to up the occupancy to 72 people in time for the grand opening.
Status: Opening at 5 p.m. 606 Florida Avenue NW; website.