El Rinconcito Launches Brunch + New Menu in Columbia Heights

“Dear PoP,

My Mom Owns El Rinconcito Deportivo on 11th. St. NW. This Letter is in appreciation to you and the Columbia Heights Community. For Showing much support to the Restaurant. As you may Know we are a family runned Restaurant, that was first Established in 1997. Thanks to the support of our Patrons and Community, we have been able to maintain our Restaurant. We have recently begun new remodeling and changes in our Menu. We have maintained our old Menu, but enhanced it with New Savory Entrees. that would sure be pleasing to our growing clientele. My mother has partnered up with an old friend of the family, who has an extended background in the Culinary and Hospitality Industry. He Recently ended his contract with Clyde’s restaurant to partner with us. His main focus for their company was to Innovate Specials, Production, and held the title of Exec. Sous Chef. What more of a great opportunity to produce and maintain a better standard quality of food and service for the community.”

Great news. Back in Jan. ’09 we judged El Rinconcito Deportivo, located at 3226 11th St, NW (between Kenyon and Lamont near Wonderland, Bloombars, Room 11) to great fanfare.

I also noticed the new menu and stopped by to take a few photos.

Always great to hear of new brunch options!They also spruced up the inside and painted the space yellow. More photos including the new menu after the jump.

Chef Jaime Fuentes with server Lorena

59 Comment

  • I went there last week. The margaritas were strong and delicious. The food was good too! The only thing is, I first tried to order papusas but the bartender said they ran out. Then someone came in and ordered papusas from the same bartender!! I tried not to stare as she prepared his hot, delicious queso papusa. But I could not help but drool a little as the papusa eating customer enjoyed his meal. Why did this happen? Is it because I was the only woman customer? Was it because I didn’t speak spanish to the bartender? Why?!

    • Why didn’t you ask the bartender at the time? Why ask a blog now?

      • Honestly it felt really awkward to ask the server. I guess I’m asking to see if others had a similar experience.

        • I can understand feeling awkward, but sometimes you really have to call people out (politely) on stuff like this. If it was an honest mistake, you’d most likely get your pupusas. If he’s a racist or sexist, then you’d be making him feel like an ***hole, which is a good thing.

          I say, give them another shot, though.

    • I don’t see papusas on the menu. Is there a secret menu to order papusas from? Also curious what veggie delight is exactly…salad? burrito?

      • The post states that the menu they’ve been using (which has papusas as well as some other incredible eats) is still in use. The picture of the new menue is sort of an addendum of additions.

        • Gotcha. Never eaten here so didn’t know what was on old menu to compare to the new one. Figured the new one was a combination of old and new items instead of having two separate menus.

  • This place is awesome!

  • I’ve always wanted to stop in, but to be honest the gang graffiti above their door is a major turn-off…

  • So what’s the problem – you’re in a rival gang?

  • Glad they’ve fixed it up a little — even just a little fresh paint and so on makes a huge difference in attracting customers. Step two: a website with a take-out menu!

  • Appears fresh, CLEAN, adorable, and having a variety of spirits. I like the name, truly. Prices look good, chef sounds good.

    Maybe they should have a Grand ReOpening sign up for the next six months.

    Good luck!

  • This is fabulous news! Good for them!

  • PoP, when I read your headline, I thought you were talking about El Rinconcito II on Park – I was nervous because their menu is perfect as-is.

    Glad to see El Rinconcito Deportivo making good, though!

  • I like this place, although it is tough to order off the menu if you don’t speak spanish. I’m not a cilantro fan and everything there has cilantro in it. I’ve asked many times for no cilantro but inevitably a handful is always tossed on. If you’re there with one or two people it’s nice to sit at the bar. The owner often gave us free peanuts with a dash of hot sauce and a squeeze of lime–delicious. The space is narrow and makes it ackward to sit at the small tables. I need to make more of an effort to get back to this place. Overall the food is good and the kitchen/prep area (which is literally behind the bar) is surprisingly clean and the owner is friendly.

  • I gotta admit that their brunch menu steers toward American. No breakfast burrito!

  • Yeah, I’ve never had a bad meal from here and the ladies that run the place are very nice. It could use a little more space, though, to coincide with this new menu. And they should learn to cut off some of their late-night patrons so as to avoid all too common fights that more often than not end up bloody.

  • “so many quotes!”

  • Glad to hear about the improvements and the interior looks great. I think more people would stop-in and check it out if the outside appearance of the place was more inviting – it currently looks like a combination prison and liquor store (security bars over the blocked transoms? ). Take down the bars, improve the exterior paint scheme and make the windows look more inviting and I would bet business would pick up.

    • can’t blame them for having security bars up, but i find that even painting them white makes them a bit less obtrusive. agreed about the ones over the transom though – overkill.

      • Room 11, Meridian Pint, and other businesses on that strip do not have security bars, and I actually frequent them. I understand it’s a risk to take down the bars, but I appreciate businesses that have taken that risk and support them with my $.

        • Reconcito, Wonderland/Nob Hill and a lot of other business have existed for awhile (and the bars on the windows/doors came with the property). Long before DCUSA. When the neighborhood was still a no-go for a lot of people. Meridian Pint, Red Rocks, Room 11 have only been around for a minute.

          I think the notion of only supporting businesses that do not have bars on their windows/doors is a bit narrow-minded.

  • Just want to chime in here with positive reviews.

    Food has always been great, the ladies very pleasant hosts, and NEVER expensive.

    Although I speak pretty decent Spanish, I know the owner’s English is strong and I’ve never gotten a “What are los gringos doing in here” vibe from the other patrons when I have brought non-Spanish-speaking friends here.

    • Why would you get such a vibe?

      • I’ve definitely gotten that vibe in small Latino joints on 14th. I speak Spanish, but don’t look it, so sometimes people stop what their doing, look up from their meals and sort of stare, turning around in their chairs.

        It can make you feel downright unwelcome, even though I chalk it up more often to curiosity… and this is even before I open my mouth, so it’s not because I’m “a bit of an ass!” 🙂

  • I am wondering if any of the items on your menu are vegan. I go to this spot with my friends, but I never order anything because I’m not sure if any of it’s vegan. It looks great though. Thanks.

  • Great food! Support our local cafes!! 11th Street is really coming along!!

  • Their food is delicious.

  • I was under the impression that this establishment was the source of lots of drunken episodes that spilled out and affected the neighborhood. I suppose someone would have mentioned it already, if that were the case.

    A cop taking my statement after a bloody fight near my house said “they were probably coming from that place over on 11th street. We’re there all the time…” So what place was he referring to? Is there a bar/restaurant in that stretch with a particularly bad reputation for incubating drunken violence?

  • I remember the same problems with some of the places on Mt. Pleasant, at the corner by the bus stop. Serving good food and having a nice big screen for soccer matches doesn’t mean you should just keep selling beers until a guy stumbles outside, pisses in the gutter, smashes a bottle, gets in a fight etc.
    I hear good things about the food but I hate the street appearance, bars, ugly ugly sign, unscrubbed graffiti. If the cops are at your place all the time you need to wake up and start thinking about your role in the community.

  • I have just one question: “Is our children learning?”

  • Great. Another Salvadoran Tex Mex “innovative” restaurant. We are such a diverse city.

    • hey jerk, this place has been here for a while and generally serves the local community of central americans and not hipsters. get your facts straight before commenting.

      • I know the facts. I’ve been here 15 years. And, guess what? Now the place will cater to hipsters like you, raise the prices, and no more Central Americans will patronize it. You embarrass yourself and others of us who are fixtures in this community with your faux indignation. Stop trying so hard.

        • how did i am embarrass myself and other who are fixtures of the community b/c i pointed out that this restaurant is not “another Salvadoran Tex Mex innovative restaurant”. as you stated, the restaurant has been here for 15 years therefore reforcing my point.

          question: how long do i have to live in this neighborhood before i become a “real resident”?

  • Haa…Rooty Tooty….no, our children “ain’t” learning. Sadly, grammar is an anachronistic concept for most of these kids and neither proper English is taught in the school nor proper Spanish in the home. Great opportunity to be truly bilingual squandered. Such a shame…

  • I know the facts. I’ve been here 15 years. And, guess what? Now the place will cater to hipsters like you, raise the prices, and no more Central Americans will patronize it. You embarrass yourself and others of us who are fixtures in this community with your faux indignation. Stop trying so hard.

  • The girl at Rinconcito on Saturday nights is a cutie! Nuff said.

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