Clarendon’s 14-year-old La Tasca, once considered a happening dining destination for date nights and family outings, is likely closing this year to make way for a brand new booze-heavy spot from the growing restaurant group that owns Ambar and Baba across the street.
Eater has learned that Balkan restaurateur Ivan Iricanin plans to take over the towering three-story, Spanish-themed space (2900 Wilson Boulevard) and replace it with a modified version of the just-announced Tacos, Tortas and Tequila that’s coming to Silver Spring — his first crack at Mexican fare in the U.S. so far.
The top-to-bottom conversion of La Tasca would likely be done by Iricanin’s wife, Nya Gill, who also designed the bright, plant-filled Ambar in Clarendon. One possibility for programming includes installing a rooftop beer garden.
As is, La Tasca can currently fit up to 290 guests.
“Ivan is interested in the La Tasca space due to its close proximity to Ambar Clarendon and Baba,” writes an Ambar PR rep, adding that “nothing has been finalized.”
La Tasca was an early pioneer in Clarendon’s restaurant renaissance movement along and around Wilson Boulevard, drawing droves of sangria and tapas fans upon its opening in 2004. The paella-pushing chain, which has three other area locations in Chinatown, Rockville, Maryland, and Old Town Alexandria, did not respond to a request for comment. It’s unclear when La Tasca would close; Iricanin’s replacement could arrive as soon as this fall.
The move supports Iricanin’s plan to continue to blanket the D.C. area with his restaurants, with locations in D.C., Virginia, and now, Maryland with the future Tacos, Tortas and Tequila. Ambar Capitol Hill debuted in 2014, followed by Ambar Clarendon and its cozy, living room-esque Baba bar downstairs.
The head of Street Guys Hospitality restaurant group has deep roots in the D.C. food world, having been a former partner at Richard Sandoval’s Masa 14 and El Centro D.F. He’s also got several eateries in his native Serbia.