Guapo’s Moving to former Firelake Grill (Ruby Tuesdays) space on Wisconsin

by Prince Of Petworth April 21, 2016 at 10:25 am 61 Comments

4200 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

Big Wisconsin Ave news from The Northwest Current – Guapo’s is moving from near the Tenleytown metro to the former Firelake Grill space which has been closed since July 2014 (and was Ruby Tuesdays before that.) The Current reports that Guapo’s had been in their old location for 26 years but “by the end of this year” will be moving down to 4200 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. Some folks I spoke with had hopes and dreams of a Meridian Pint type brewpub coming to the space – but good to see the space finally being filled. You can see Guapo’s menu here. For fans how do you rank Guapo’s versus Cactus Cantina a few block south at Macomb?

  • C in DC

    Psyched for this news- walking distance from my kids’ school and happy to see this space filled!

    • Bueno


  • jaybird

    This will always be Swensen’s to me.

    • V


    • anonymous

      Wow…hadn’t thought about Swensen’s in a looooong time.

    • saf


  • TX2DC

    Native Texan opinion: I’d argue Guapo’s is marginally better than Cactus Cantina. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t offer the obligatory “but you’ll never find real TexMex in these parts” comment. Sorry, but it is true.

    • ***

      I grew up in New Mexico, which is not TexMex, but I feel your pain. I did however discover sometime back, Anita’s – a local chain of New Mexican restaurants, in Northern VA. They have 5 or 6 locations. They even had sopapillas!

      • TX2DC

        Oh I love New Mexico cuisine! We ski/visit Santa Fe quite a bit and I’m always happy to get to La Choza or Tomasito’s. I will definitely have to check out Anita’s. Thanks.

      • asdfghjkl

        cactus sells sopapaillas as well.

  • hungeegirl

    Cactus Cantina is gross. Same owners as Lauriol Plaza, the worst “mexican” food in the world. Guapos is passible. So. Guapos wins.

    • ***

      Agreed. I fail to understand the hype of Lauriol Plaza.

      • V

        location location location.. and the menu is huge and while not necessarily true Mexican or beard award winning, it’s not horrible. pair that with a roofdeck, a lovely patio, valet parking and cheap tequila, well, there you have it..

        and years ago, in the 80s it was way different

        • hungeegirl

          It’s definitely horrible.

    • TX2DC

      Yep. Horrible food. Suprised it is still open – must be the drinks and roofdeck keeping it alive.

      • MtP

        I am also shocked it is still open and am more shocked at all the MD and VA plates I see doing valet or circling for parking. Maybe I would get it 15 years ago, but there are now SO MANY better places to go in DC, I don’t get choosing that as your night out in the city. People love the margs, but there are also now SO MANY places to get amazing drinks. I really, really don’t understand.

      • OP Anon

        Still popular because folks can drive their cars and not look for parking on a crazy busy area. Seriously. And then get in their cars after drinking a bucket of margs. I wonder how many DUIs are connected to Lauriol Plaza? Probably a ton.

        • OP Anon

          Oh, and the craziest part is that once LP stops being profitable the owner of the restaurant will make an insane amount of money on the property appreciation along. That’s a massive plat.

    • js

      no way. i’ve spent many nights at all 3 and guapo’s has always made me feel the worst, BY FAR. smells great when you walk in. nauseating by the time you leave.

  • NW Mom

    Stumbling distance to my house. So excited about the move! Cactus Cantina is OK, but I love Guapo’s more! I like their fajitas better.

  • Guapo’s is OK, but don’t make the mistake of ordering the nachos platter appetizer for a crowd. Last time I was there, they brought out a plate with exactly 6 corn chips on it.

  • JD


    • Nancy

      I’m with you JD – love Guapos!

  • siz

    aw, guapos. a staple of mine in high school, so i’ll always have a soft spot for it. waaaay better than cactus cantina.

  • MtP

    I wonder if their rent is getting raised or the building is being sold or something? Seems like their current location is WAY better than this one with the metro and increased foot traffic, closer to AU, etc. And any different between Cactus and Guapos is minor, so not sure how both will survive three blocks apart.

    • ***

      “And any difference between Cactus and Guapos is minor….” You shut your *&#$^ mouth!

    • former AU-er

      Actually the new location is closer to AU’s campus, but farther from where the AU shuttle drops off at the metro.

      The college student in me mourns the loss of the upstairs at Guapo’s!

      • John M

        There is a shuttle stop at Van Ness/Nebraska – just a block from the shuttle route.

    • andy2

      3 blocks…more like 10 (Van Ness to Macomb). Yes they will survive with better parking.

      • MtP

        Good point. I honestly drive around there all the time (and used to work near there), but I really got the distance wrong. I often confuse what is right around Van Ness with what is right around Macomb. I guess this makes more sense now.

  • Sally


  • As If

    big cactus cantina fan here. part of it may be high school nostalgia. guapo’s isn’t terrible, but i prefer the chips and salsa and the patio at cactus.

  • anonymous

    Guano’s food is better. Also, service. I have refused to eat at Cactus Cantina after the time a friend and I ordered the fajita “specials” – only to learn AFTER the food came that the fajitas did not include sour cream or guacamole – basic to fajitas, in my opinion – and that the cost of little tiny cups of those condiments would be an about 30% of the cost of the meal. Bait and switch much?

    • barfed-n-my-mouth

      Guano! HA HA HA…

    • ah

      Huge peeve of mine as well with Cactus Cantina . . . also cheese. (Guac is a less standard side condiment, but still).

      Best thing about CC may be the machine that barfs out tortillas and the operators who give little kids the raw dough to play with.

    • hungeegirl

      WOW this made me laugh – this happened to me the first (and only) time I ate there…they did not tell me they would be (6 dollars) extra and I was livid

  • ***

    If I am not mistaken, the Fire Lake Grill space doesn’t have patio seating, which would be a huge letdown.

    • soozles

      It does. The one time I ate there, we sat on the patio.

  • anon

    Yeah, current location by metro is far better for foot traffic. The walk to the new location is about a 10-minute boring walk from the Tenleytown Metro. As someone who used to walk this stretch, I can tell you that not a lot of folks do. I wish them well in their new location.

    There are a bunch of office workers captive near their new location, notably at Fannie Mae.

    • ***

      Isn’t Fannie Mae relocating to 15th street? So that traffic might be short-lived.

      • anon

        Yes, but the space will likely be taken by some other company eventually. Unless they raze the main building, as is being done elsewhere to build Fannie’s new HQ – then it could take time. The large parking decks alone make the Fannie space a valuable site for a DC company.

  • Thnman

    Who cares- the food is horrible either way.

  • Rich

    Forgettable Mexican food changes location. Not big news.

  • V


  • elly2

    How are they going to have ‘DJ’ nights upstairs? Will will non drinking age AU students do on the weekends???

  • soozles

    I prefer Guapos food, but Cactus’ location just because there are other choices nearby if I want one. I also wonder if the move is wise. I thought maybe the reason Fire Lake didn’t survive was because it doesn’t have the foot traffic and proximity to the Metro. I think the move could be a big mistake for Guapos.

    • ah

      Or because FireLake was nothing special?

      Cava and Chipotle get loads of foot traffic one block up from here. And, really, parking at this location is a lot better than where Guapos is now.

  • ExWalbridgeGuy

    This is a tough location. Parking is difficult and people don’t walk here. Gotta say I’ve never understood the hate for Cactus Cantina and Lauriol. They are what they are. If you can’t find anything on the menu that you like it’s because you’re bad at ordering food, not because literally every item on the menu is awful.

    • ***

      For me, it starts with the salsa, which a friend describes as “tasting like campfire”

    • dcd

      “If you can’t find something you like at a (virtually) universally reviled restaurant, it’s your own damn fault.”
      No. Actually, it is EXACTLY because everything on the menu is awful.

    • John M

      There’s a garage beneath this location. Parking is definitely better here than by the Metro stop.

      • Doug

        Parking at the current Guapo’s location is easy – they validate for parking in the Whole Foods garage

  • dapati


  • vannessie

    Yup, there go my dreams of Tenley Pint in that space (I know, I know, it was never gonna happen), but this is certainly better than nothing or Ruby Tuesday (or Firelake, which was way overpriced and not very impressive foodwise).

    Perhaps the Prince can help them out with PoP Margarita Happy Hours once they open?

  • Nancy

    Very disappointing. We have an annual tradition of work folks going there for a celebratory dinner. Spot chosen partly for drinks :). But because it’s on the red line. New spot is not as easily accessible. That is very disappointing.

  • Asbj

    No business has survived in this space. Guapos is digging its own grave and I am sad to watch it. Did they not just remodel the one in Tenleytown in order to make more space?

  • Bueno

    Wasn’t this a Shakey’s pizza parlor when I was a kid? I swear I have memories of pizza there.

    • Matt Granson

      Hmm may be before my time

      Swensen’s is the farthest back I remember, and that was over 20 years ago

  • Jerold Paulson

    Guapo’s is the only Mexican place (as well as the only DC place since I moved here three years ago) in which I’ve gotten sick from the food.


    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for something better to replace it.

  • B

    guapos is better. cactus cantina is really a factory.

  • CP

    This move does put Guapo’s closer to AU, which I’m sure can’t hurt.


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