821 Upshur Street, NW
From a press release:
“Anna Bran Leis and Shawn Leis who own DC Empanadas, announce the opening of their new concept, Taqueria del Barrio, in the Petworth neighborhood early 2017.
The modern taqueria will serve lunch and dinner with a solid bar program and then start brunch a little bit down the road. Anna has tapped cocktail expert Chris Martino to run the bar program and will have Mikey Torres in the front-of-the-house as General Manager. In the kitchen, Anna will be the Chef, as well. The menus will be comprised of tacos, tortas, a bar menu with appetizers, and traditional Mexican entrees as well as traditional desserts with a twist. Everything is going to be very authentic and scratch made, down to the tortillas.
The design of the 2,200 square foot restaurant space will be reminiscent of a taqueria you’d see in Mexico City. The look of the place will incorporate a lot of teal and bright yellow to brighten up the black and white ‘dia de la meurte’ theme. The Leises have hired Sucha Khamsuwan, LEED AP from Studio Ideya Architecture + Interiors to make this dream come true. This is the same firm behind Kung Fu Tea in Eden Center and Tim Ma’s Water & Wall.
“We have been thinking about a brick-n-mortar space for some time now,” says Anna whose best friend Jamie Leeds gave her the nudge for the space next door to Hank’s Cocktail Bar. “When this space came available Jamie took me there and basically told me I’d be a fool not to take it.” So she did!
The landlords are also an interesting duo. The building is located at 821 Upshur Street, NW and owned by Lynn Yaudes and Norm Veenstra. This real estate partnership also owns a few other buildings that DC’s diners may have visited, as well. On Upshur Street, for example they own the building where popular Timber Pizza is housed that used to be an old church. Over on 11th Street, NW they have the building where El Chucho is located. This space was unoccupied since 9/11 and they wanted to make it a viable business for the neighborhood. See, that’s what they do. As self-employed entrepreneurs, they want to ensure responsible community development, which began with the purchase of a building in 2003 that had been vacant for 15 years.
Anna and Shawn are looking to open to the public in February 2017. More details including hours will be available in the coming months.”