Taqueria Xochi, the former ghost kitchen that two laid-off restaurant workers grew into a hit carryout spot on U Street NW, is finalizing plans to open a second location.
Co-owner and director of operations Geraldine Mendoza tells Eater the company is putting the last touches on a lease agreement for an Adams Morgan space where they want to introduce outdoor seating, host a market component inside, and offer a wider range of sweets from chef-owner Teresa Padilla, who trained as a pastry chef during the 16 years she spent with José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup.
“We’re like 99 percent sure we’re going to that location,” Mendoza says, declining to share the address but saying she hoped to open late this year or early in 2022. “Teresa loves it. I love it. It will be a great fit.”
Mendoza says the new location will be “more like an heladería,” or ice cream parlor. Padilla plans to make various flavors of paletas and nieves, the respective terms for Mexican popsicles and sorbets, while expanding on a dessert menu that already includes tres leches cake and chocoflan, a combo of flan and chocolate cake that separates into two layers while it bakes in the oven. For the winter menu on U Street, Padilla added buñuelos de viento, sugar-dusted pastries fried in a web-like shape. Chicken tinga tacos and soup specials were two more seasonal additions.
The Adams Morgan location has a patio, which means Taqueria Xochi would have on-site seating for the first time. The owners haven’t decided whether there will be indoor seating, but Mendoza says there will at least be a market offering fresh tortillas, salsas, and other Mexican ingredients.
Taqueria Xochi began as a virtual restaurant in the summer of 2020 with two main attractions: loaded cemitas sandwiches spiked with Padilla’s smoky-sweet morita chile salsa, and trendy beef birria tacos oozing with melting cheese and served with brick-red consomé for dipping. In October, Taqueria Xochi moved into a hot pink storefront at 924 U Street NW where it introduced hubcap-sized tlayudas smeared with refried beans and covered with strings of Oaxaca cheese, grilled cubes of beef tenderloin filet, chorizo, avocado slices, radishes, and lettuce. The kitchen takes up the entirety of the small space, and customers order from a takeout window or online.
If the deal moves ahead as planned, Taqueria Xochi would represent another recent newcomer to the Mexican food scene in the popular nightlife district. The partners behind Al Volo Osteria opened Taqueria al Lado in January, and Kachis Tacos & Cantina arrived on 18th Street NW a few months before that. Super Tacos & Bakery is a longtime neighborhood go-to.