The candle-lit cantina comes from Bar Lab, the hospitality team behind the acclaimed Broken Shaker bar brand situated in sibling Freehand hotels from NYC to LA. The 148-room Generator hotel debuted at the top tip of Dupont Circle in 2020 but waited for the pandemic to subside to flick on its food and beverage program (1900 Connecticut Avenue NW).
A timely Dia De Los Muertos party on Tuesday, November 1 christened the hot new Miami import that pays extra attention to its tacos. Corn tortillas are made with masa sourced from Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca.
A portion of Hoja Taqueria’s profits goes directly back to the same family-owned farms cultivating the native heirloom corn.
Hoja Taqueria’s menu is strikingly similar to that of its year-old counterpart at Generator Miami. Starters include sweet potato or tuna tostadas, Key West pink shrimp ceviche, chicken tinga flautas, and three salsas punched up with pequin peppers and peanuts ($2 each). Dishes are relatively cheap ($9-$18), and the one-off splurge is a porcini-rubbed New York strip steak ($40) with red rice, refried beans, salsa roja and pickles.
Tacos, quesadillas, and burritos come with proteins like al pastor, carne asada, chicken, or mushrooms. A Mexican beer-battered fish taco featuring the catch of the day joins cabbage, red onion, and chipotle aioli.
Bar Lab director Christine Wiseman, a “Best American Bartender” nominee at Tales of the Cocktail, spearheads a drinks menu full of dehydrated fruits and offbeat ingredients ($16 each). Corn agave makes its way into the “Vanilla Corn Porn” alongside jalapeno-infused Ojo de Tigre, Licor 43, and lime juice.
A Mexican riff on an Old Fashioned loops in mezcal, tequila, St. George Nola Coffee, Oaxacan chocolate, roasted poblano, and chocolate bitters. A frozen fruity cocktail features tequila, vermouth, grapefruit, guava, agave ginger, and lime juice.
Rare spirits stocked behind the glowing bar make their way into mezcal and tequila flights ($25-$55).
The beer list centers around Monopolio’s Mexican lagers, and the beloved beer shows up in a spicy michelada ($10) with poblano peppers and pickled jalapeno.
Hours will eventually stretch from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily. For now, dinner service runs Tuesday to Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Come spring, Hoja Taqueria will spill out onto a seasonal patio and pool deck.
The new Oaxacan oasis fills a void left behind when Shaw’s Espita Mezcaleria closed this fall to make way for Ghostburger.
Aside from Generator’s D.C. and Miami locations, which offer a mix of shared and private bedrooms, the boutique brand is largely scattered across Europe in cities like Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Venice, Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, and London.
Trendy co-working and hostel competitor Selina also just came to town, debuting in D.C.’s Union Market district with a breezy rooftop bar.