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Shaw’s Rito Loco Adds Variety With a Colorful New Taco Menu Full of Slow-Cooked Meat

A Bar Pilar and Cafe Saint Ex alum helped design tacos strategically paired with specific salsas

Colorful new tacos await at Rito Loco.
Colorful new tacos await at Rito Loco.
Violetta Markelou/Rito Loco
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Shaw burrito shop Rito Loco (606 Florida Avenue NW) has brought in a new chef to oversee a menu reboot that prioritizes tacos stuffed with slowly cooked meats and garnished with colorful salsas and vegetables. The restaurant is introducing the new lineup today.

Putting tacos in the limelight marks the first major menu shakeup since the former food truck opened in 2015. Owner Louie Hankins brought Bar Pilar/Cafe Saint Ex alum Omar Martinez on board to help implement the changes inside an expanded kitchen. Its former short list of tacos featured little variety. Now, each taco has its own customized salsas and sauces.

For instance, braised pork carnitas go with a grilled pineapple salsa, pickled onion, and queso fresco. Smoked brisket goes with fresh guacamole, pickled cabbage, and creamy chimichurri. The “OG” stars seasoned ground beef, pico de gallo, and pickled cabbage slaw. For the carne asada, steak is marinated for 24 to 48 hours, grilled on a flat top, then topped with cabbage, cilantro, queso fresco, and chipotle aioli. Veggie options include a fried avocado or cactus paddles sauteed in coconut oil.

The newly expanded setup at Rito Loco.
Violetta Markelou/Rito Loco

Tacos run $4.24 to $5.24. On Taco Tuesday, all are $3.74. Those wanting a “toasted ‘rito” fix can still get one; any taco filling can be expanded into a burrito ($9.99-$12.49).

At a later date, entrees will join the mix after 5 p.m. Those include chile relleno (brisket or veggie), seafood paella, and a carne asada platter, as well as customizable nachos and grain bowls.

Walls of the kitchen formerly designed to resemble a walk-up food truck, were pushed out to accommodate more orders.

“When we built the shop, we were only anticipating serving 18 people maximum and now, at any given time, we’re serving over 100,” says Hankins.

Rito Loco

606 Florida Avenue Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 836-4270 Visit Website