Solis also runs popular neighborhood taquerias El Sol and Mezcalero, which recently announced plans to expand into the building next door. Little Havana, his latest venture on the block (3704 14th Street NW), is scheduled to open on Friday, August 10. The back wood-lined bar will start slinging Caribbean beers and tropical drinks at 3 p.m., followed by dinner service kicking off at 4 p.m.
Local street artist Ernesto DoobyFame Zelaya was charged with creating a series of bright murals across the festive 70-seat space. The back wall is dedicated to Cuban-American icons and depicts famous faces of Major League Baseball legend José Canseco, actress Eva Mendes, and Washington Nationals player Gio Gonzalez.
Solis hired chef Joseph Osorio — an alum of Clyde’s Restaurant Group and Alexandria Restaurant Partners (Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza, Majestic, Vola’s Dockside Grill, and others) — to come up with the Cuban menu, which includes slow braised beef tongue and fried coconut shrimp curry. There’s also empanadas, stuffed peppers, seafood paella, and tortas in the mix, as well as lots of meats like short ribs, jerk chicken, and oxtail.
A central open kitchen covered in white subway tiling separates the dining area from the back bar, where rum will play a starring role. Caffeine, also huge in Cuban culture, will come from nearby purveyor Qualia Coffee.
Little Havana is projected to operate from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. to start, with the bar opening an hour earlier. Weekend brunch and lunch is scheduled to follow a few weeks after, and morning coffee and pastries are expected to join the lineup later on.
Status: Scheduled to open on Friday, August 10 at 3 p.m. 3704 14th Street NW; website.
Scroll on for a look inside the neon-hued newcomer: