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A Tiny Taqueria Calls Dibs on Horace and Dickie’s Former Northeast Digs

Adams Morgan’s Taqueria Al Lado brings its top-tier tortillas to a new nightlife neighborhood next spring

The former home of Horace and Dickie’s was renovated with a sleek silver and wood facade.
The old home of iconic D.C. carryout Horace and Dickie’s got a full-blown refresh and now has a new tenant in place.
Coldwell Banker Realty/official photo

The pint-sized box that housed D.C. fried fish institution Horace and Dickie’s for three decades will revive service next spring as a late-night Mexican street food stand called Taqueria Al Lado II.

Chef Rolando Frias tells Eater the goal is to open just off H Street NE (809 12th Street NE) in the beginning of March, just a year after he opened the original Taqueria Al Lado in Adams Morgan. His focused, one-page menu lets patrons choose a taco, quesadilla, huarache, or salad ($4, $8, $8, and $12, respectively), and a protein from a list that includes al pastor, lengua, chicken tinga, vegan barbacoa, tempura-battered cod, and more.

Taqueria Al Lado II will be smaller than the first, with just eight seats inside plus a 12-seat patio out front. Carryout and delivery will also be a big part of the business.

While living in Mexico City as a college student, Ecuadorian-born Frias fell in love with the casual, straightforward cuisine he encountered at corner taco shops.

At Taqueria Al Lado, he prides himself on the deep care put into each tortilla. White corn sourced from a small farm in Oaxaca goes through the process of boiling, drying, and grinding in-house. That makes Taqueria Al Lado one of the few restaurants in town that nixtamalizes corn masa on the premises. Frias is also a partner and chef at Adams Morgan’s neighborhood Italian spot Osteria al Volo.

Blue-corn tortillas with a bottle of mezcal and tequila
Taqueria al Lado grinds its masa in-house.
Evan Caplan/Eater D.C.

Adams Morgan’s cocktail list includes frozen or shaken margaritas, Palomas, sangrias, and mezcal mules, plus Mexican beers and micheladas. The plan is to keep tequila flowing on-site in Northeast until as late as 2 a.m on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends, per a recent Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) filing, with service starting at 11 a.m. daily.

After Horace and Dickie’s vacated there in March 2020, the aging building got a sleek makeover that included a fresh facade covered in silver steel and wood paneling.

The iconic blue-and-white carryout, known for its heaping styrofoam boxes of cornmeal-crusted fried whiting for around $15, blamed its demise on the gentrification of its booming nightlife neighborhood.

While the original closed, Horace and Dickie’s maintains a local presence in Takoma that’s operated by owner Richard “Dickie” Shannon’s daughter.

H Street NE’s taco scene currently includes long-standing fixtures like Fresca Taqueria, Chupacabra, and Sol Mexican Grill.

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