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Bethany Beach’s Modern Mexican Restaurant Zoca is En Route to Capitol Hill

The family-owned restaurant group out of Delaware doubles down on the Southeast neighborhood next year

Zoca stuffs its top-selling chimichangas with mozzarella cheese, yellow rice and a protein of choice.
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The Delaware hospitality group behind Barracks Row’s new Harvest Tide Steakhouse will also import its sibling Mexican restaurant and tequila bar to the same Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Zoca’s first foray outside of Bethany Beach, Delaware, expects to open in January in the historic building formerly occupied by cocktail bar Stanton & Greene (319 Pennsylvania Avenue SE). The menu at D.C.’s Zoca will resemble the 2-year-old original, which serves surfside tacos, tequila flights, sizzling fajitas, and cheesy chimichangas from chef and El Salvadoran immigrant Danio Somoza.

“It will be the same menu, the same concept as the one in Bethany Beach,” Coastline Restaurant Group partner (and Danio’s brother) Enrique Somoza tells Eater via email.

The family-run group also runs Harvest Tide Steakhouse, the luxe surf-and-turf brand with locations in Lewes and Bethany Beach. A D.C. offshoot opened this fall along Barracks Row (212 Seventh Street SE) in the storied space formerly occupied by Italian standby Acqua al 2.

A photo of Zoca chef Danio Somoza holding  enchiladas.
Coastline Restaurant Group chef Danio Somoza put modern touches on Mexican dishes at Zoca.
Zoca/official photo

Barbacoa pork plays a big role across Zoca’s creative Mexican menu, featured in a tamale starter, taco, and sandwich. Other menu highlights include queso fundido, street corn nachos, burritos, mole enchiladas, seafood-packed paella, and a whole red snapper dressed with chunky salsa.

Zoca will have instant taco competition on the same Pennsylvania Avenue SE strip from Paraíso, the sleek taqueria and mezcaleria that replaced Emilie’s a year ago.

Zoca’s bar program stars a section of “jumbo” margaritas filled with flavors like pomegranate, apple cider, and guava puree. Classics like a mule, Manhattan, and Old Fashioned get a twist with mezcal, reposado, añejo, and other Mexican-made spirits.

The D.C. edition will sport 180 seats and sidewalk patio for 20, per an ABRA filing, and will go by “ZOCA & Crush by ZOCA.”

Throwback cocktail bar Stanton & Greene replaced Pour House in 2015, sprucing up the circa 1850-era building with vintage-looking subway tiles, a massive marble-topped bar, leather banquettes, and glowing liquor lockers overhead to go along with an original patterned tin ceiling. It’s unclear what the renovation will entail for its new life as Zoca.

Here’s a look at its menu in Bethany Beach: