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Surfside’s New Tenleytown Flagship Has Draft Margs and a 24/7 Taco Stand

The late-night favorite now has a 7,000-square-foot sibling with a way bigger bar menu

Meghan Kehoe/Surfside

Local taco and margarita shop Surfside is celebrating opening day today at a massive new Tenleytown location that serves a wider variety of tropical drinks than ever before. The 12-year-old brand’s upper Northwest outpost (4200 Wisconsin Avenue NW) also features a walk-up, 24-hour taco stand.

Surfside is importing greatest hits from a lineup of tacos and burritos full of ingredients that nod to beach-side locales Maui, Jamaica, and Thailand. New menu items from chef-partner David Scribner include tamales, shrimp spring rolls, ceviche, fajitas, enchiladas, and colorful rice bowls packed with braised pastor pork, salmon, or fried tofu.

Tropical cocktails come frozen, on draft, or in “specialty” mixed flavors like a Mai Tai or a Blood Orange Crush. The beer list offers Kona, Corona, Pacifico, and Modelo.

“We saw a real need for another full-service restaurant in Tenleytown — we wanted to do way more alcohol business,” Blair says. “We want to concentrate on going super small or super big from now on.”

A jerk chicken bowl with coconut rice, peas, braised cabbage, pickled mango, and grilled scallion from Surfside in Tenleytown.
A jerk chicken bowl with coconut rice, peas, braised cabbage, pickled mango, and grilled scallion from Surfside in Tenleytown.
Meghan Kehoe/Surfside
A spicy margarita comes with Dulce Vida pineapple jalapeño tequila, orange curacao, and lime.
Meghan Kehoe/Surfside
Kids can order a virgin strawberry Tiki Daiquiri.
Meghan Kehoe/Surfside

A taco stand that never closes, situated along the side of the corner restaurant, caters to neighboring college crowds, hospitals, and TV stations.

“I feel that D.C. is becoming more and more a 24-hour city, really,” owner Bo Blair says.

Blair closed the original, “medium”-sized restaurant in Glover Park address after a decade-long run last year to make way for the replacement in upper Northwest. Blair’s Georgetown Events group also runs Due South, Millie’s, the Bullpen, and Jetties.

Surfside’s 5-year-old taco stand in Dupont Circle, which draws massive late-night lines from surrounding bars and clubs, fits into the small category.

The 290-seat operation, lined with bright white booths, bar stools, and a large covered patio, will grow with 80 al fresco seats along Wisconsin Avenue when the weather is right.
Meghan Kehoe/Surfside

Vintage surfboards hailing from everywhere from California to North Carolina came from a big swap meet in New Jersey. Metal corrugated-lined walls are covered with postage stamps, and a map of Pan Am’s Caribbean route frames the kitchen. A massive collage of license plates represent Aruba, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Panama, and Puerto Rico.

The kitchen and bar open at 11 a.m. during the week and 10 a.m. for brunch. Closing time is 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9 p.m. Sunday.

Blair expects to open a third Surfside, at the Wharf development in Southwest, by late summer or early fall. That location will replicate the size, menu, and format from the Dupont shop, with a cashless system in place.

Pork belly sliders with pickled pineapple and serrano mayo on King’s Hawaiian rolls.
Meghan Kehoe/Surfside

Roasted beet tostada topped with pepita goat cheese and a hard-boiled egg.
Meghan Kehoe/Surfside

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