One of D.C.’s most accomplished pastry chefs opened a Tex-Mex kitchen this week that operates out of a Glover Park food hall. Mijita’s made its debut inside Ghostline, which is rebranding as Social Beast, on Cinco de Mayo.
Naomi Gallego, who helped introduce D.C. to Detroit-style pizza with the thick-square pies she developed for Red Light, claims Detroit as her hometown but has also spent much of her life in San Antonio. At Mijita’s, she’s adding to a still-growing menu that will include Frito pie, enchiladas, gorditas, fajitas, and tacos served on flour tortillas made fresh on-site. That includes a “Señor Puerco” topped with carnitas, smoked crispy bacon, beans, jack cheese, and crispy chicharrones.
When Mijita’s brunch menu rolls out May 15, look for huevos rancheros and chilaquiles. One incoming special is a San Antonio favorite: puffy tacos. A hybrid corn and flour tortilla is “fried so slightly, puffed, crispy and soft,” she says. It doesn’t travel well, so it will only be available on-site. Frozen palomas, margaritas, and homemade agua frescas — which can be ordered spiked — are all available.
Gallego has worked in the pastry department for Blue Duck Tavern, Le Diplomate, and Vidalia, to name a few, and worked as an executive chef at Little Beast pizzeria. She opened Mijita’s with a chocoflan and a coconut tres leches cake with pineapple lime salsa.
“Coconut is one of those polarizing foods like peanuts — you love it or hate it. I happen to love it,” she says.
Mijita’s marks Gallego’s cooking comeback after a long, health-related hiatus. “I stopped working year and half ago after two bouts of cancer,” she says. She got her strength back over the past eight months, working out with a powerlifting trainer in Texas. She’s been back at work for three weeks now.
Last summer, restaurateur Aaron Gordon (Bakers & Baristas, Red Velvet, Little Beast) introduced Ghostline as an all-virtual food hall at 2340 Wisconsin Avenue NW. He was banking on ghost kitchens as the wave of the future, so he invited a handful of established chefs to cook from individual work stations set up inside the space that formerly housed rowdy bar Town Hall.
He’s rebranding the business as Social Beast because it’s now inviting customers inside. . There’s now indoor seating to go along with its huge patio and cocktail bar out back. An upstairs, wood-lined bar will open this summer with a wall of full of whiskey. Takeout and delivery will keep going, too.
“I’ve never been so glad to be so wrong about the ghost thing — I was thinking we’d be in this [pandemic] for three years or more,” Gordon says. “I’d rather run a restaurant than a to-go service.”
Tokri (Indian khichdi bowls) has left the reimagined project, and Gordon says Ramen by Uzu is leaving soon. The lineup includes another recent newcomer, Sandwich Beast, from culinary director Peter Smith. There are also still options for round, deck-oven pizzas and Detroit-style pies.