District Taco, the growing taco chain that started from a single taco cart, will next tackle Alexandria.
The restaurant has signed a lease at 701 S. Washington St., formerly home to Chicken Out. Founder Osiris Hoil announced the new store on Facebook with a photo of him holding up the keys.
The location will be District Taco’s fifth. After breaking into D.C. a couple of years ago, the chain’s growth has recently focused on Northern Virginia. Hoil told me last month — after deciding to shut down his beloved taco carts— that he is also looking for space in Crystal City and Rosslyn.
Why those neighborhoods? Because ideally, he’d like to open restaurants near where he would commonly park his two “toritos,” the affectionate name for his former taco carts.
Other new restaurants:
• Native Foods Cafe: All-vegan restaurant Native Foods Cafe has signed a lease for 5,000 square feet at 1150 Connecticut Ave. NW. The location will be the West Coast restaurant chain’s local flagship, according to a press release from the landlord, Blake Real Estate Inc. The restaurant will be split between the ground floor and lower level with additional seating on the 18th Street sidewalk. Native Foods has several stores planned for D.C., including one in Penn Quarter and one at 18th and M streets NW.
• Crane & Turtle: The latest spot from restaurateur Paul Ruppert opens this week, combining Japanese and French cuisines. Named for a Japanese fable, the small restaurant at 828 Upshur St. NW seats 25 inside and 14 outside. The seafood-heavy menu from chef Makoto Hamamura includes big-eye tuna tataki and softshell crab tempura for appetizers and halibut meuniere and Szechuan style duck for entrees. Ruppert has been busy along Upshur Street in recent months; he also has Petworth Citizen across the street and plans to open Upshur Street Books next door in the coming months.
• Protein Bar: Another location of the health-conscious Protein Bar chain opens in D.C. June 25. The location at 925 17th St. NW will be the Chicago-based fast-casual chain’s fourth in the region. Protein Bar serves quino-centric “bar-ritos” as well as salads, bowls and breakfast items. The location is just two blocks from another Protein Bar at 19th and K streets NW.
• Shake Shack: Speaking of chains, burger joint Shake Shack opened another D.C. store Monday, this one in Union Station. In addition to its standby Shack burgers and fries, the location will have two desserts specific to Union Station. The first, dubbed the Busy Bee, features vanilla custard, strawberry puree and Baked & Wired’s bee sting bar. The second is called the Beaux Arts Banana and has vanilla custard, caramel sauce, bananas and graham crackers from Pollystyle.