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Day of the Dead-Themed Mayahuel Arrives February 8

Woodley Park’s new Mexican restaurant has beef tongue tacos and spicy margaritas

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The colorful dining room at Mayahuel.
Simo Ahmadi/Photography by Simo
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Mayahuel Cocina Mexicana, District Kitchen’s new Day of the Dead-themed sister restaurant, is scheduled to spring its skull-covered decor on Woodley Park diners starting Thursday, February 8.

A colorful homage to the Mexican holiday is prevalent throughout the royal blue- and gold-colored space (2609 24th Street NW) formerly occupied by Bar Civita. The cultural theme, which celebrates the life and spiritual journey of lost loved ones, is appropriate; owner Jawad Saadaoui tells Eater he hopes Mayahuel will help revive the historically “dead” neighborhood. Woodley Park and northern neighbor Cleveland Park have seen a slew of closures in recent years, including Ripple, Nam-Viet, and Uptown Tap House.

Interior designer Yvette Irene, also behind Don Tito and G.O.A.T in Arlington, Virginia, has sprinkled in pops of purple, candles, mosaic tiling, and provocative phrases guiding guests to bathrooms (think: “Soup of the Day: Tequila” and “We got margaritas colder than your ex’s heart”). The 90-seat restaurant plans to open for dinner to start, followed by happy hour, lunch, and brunch later on.

Co-owner and chef Miguel Pizarroso, who also handles cooking duties next door at District Kitchen, is making a series of starters ($7 to $15) including corn-poblano chile soup, ceviche, guacamole, and fried plantains.

A main event is the tacos de lengua, featuring braised beef tongue tacos topped with habanero-mango salsa, and accompanied by rice and beans ($18). The house Mexi-Burguesa ($17) features a half-pound Angus beef patty topped with three cheeses, grilled onion, piquillo peppers, and chipotle aioli flanked by spiced fries.

Alfie’s/Lucky Buns alum Fabian Malone is heading up the bar at Mayahuel. He plans to put two on-site slushie machines to work making frozen margaritas and another “fun” frozen drink. A pre-opening family and friends event was held on February 5 to vet the food and drinks, which includes $11 Mexican-inspired craft cocktails, $10 margaritas and palomas (which can be made spicy with jalapeno-infused tequila), and $35 pitchers of white or red sangria.

Scroll down to see pictures from the preview night:

Mayahuel’s Maranon with El Silencio Mezcal, sweet vermouth, pineapple, and cashew.
Simo Ahmadi/Photography by Simo
Fabian Malone heads the bar program at Mayahuel.
Simo Ahmadi/Photography by Simo
Warm tortillas are designed to scoop up the queso fundido, a three-cheese blend featuring ground chorizo, avocado-tomatillo salsa, pico de gallo, and cilantro.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC
Racy phrases welcome tipsy patrons headed to the restrooms.
Simo Ahmadi/Photography by Simo
A cozy corner at Mayahuel.
Simo Ahmadi/Photography by Simo
A gold-painted fireplace doubles as an altar.
Simo Ahmadi/Photography by Simo
The tres leche cake at Mayahuel will be joined by future desserts like flan con caramelo.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

Come spring, a 50-seat patio out front will accommodate additional drinkers and diners.

Status: Scheduled to open Thursday, February 8 at 5 p.m. 2609 24th Street NW; website.

Mayahuel Cocina Mexicana

2609 24th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20008