Washington, DC

4724 14th Street, NW. Chef Rufino Ruffino. Photo by Cassandra Hetherington

Cassandra Hetherington is a a volunteer for Uptown Main Street. She wrote about Maria Villalta of Pica Taco and Nick Schieber of Jackie Lee’s.

Cassandra writes:

“If you have dined at Estadio, Proof or Asia Nora, you may have already experienced the skills of celebrated Chef Rufino Bautista. If not, it is not too late, because you can now feast on his Spanish-inspired creations at Atxondo (“Achondo”). In early March, after a decade as Executive Chef at Estadio, Rufino moved 2.9 miles north to open Atxondo just days before the world was forced to pause. But this was barely the most challenging thing to ever happen to him; not seeing his father for twelve years was far worse. Read More


Last month the organizers of the Citi Open announced: “The current plan is for the Citi Open to host this year’s tournament without fans in attendance, but officials remain optimistic that as the region continues its phased reopening, and conditions improve, they may be granted permission to allow limited fans onsite.”

Alas a new release today says:

“After months of tireless work by our team and close collaboration with our many stakeholders, we are heartbroken to announce that we must, unfortunately, postpone the 52nd Citi Open until the summer of 2021. Read More


Maria Villalta. Photo by Cassandra Hetherington

Cassandra Hetherington is a a volunteer for Uptown Main Street

Thanks to Cassandra Hetherington for sharing with us:

“In 1973, nineteen year old Maria Villalta left her home in Mexico to join her aunt in Washington, D.C. During her first job as a nanny to two girls and a boy, Maria’s cooking was greatly appreciated by the family. Her homemade hot tortillas, slathered in butter, were a favorite snack. It wasn’t until after the children were grown and she was married with children of her own that Maira felt confident enough to start her own restaurant. With her husband’s strong encouragement, Maria successfully operated Margarita’s in Glover Park for two decades before rising rents forced her to close.

Glover Park’s loss became a win for Adams Morgan when Maria opened Pica Taco off of Columbia Road in 2009. The very small kitchen and convection oven forced her to be creative with her cooking; the results were healthy, flavorful and more quickly prepared meals. Since then, Maria has opened three other Pica Tacos in Northwest, D.C. and one in Alexandria, VA. The Grand Opening for Pica Taco #5, located at 4610 14th Street NW, was scheduled for March 21, 2020 but canceled due to the pandemic. This has not deterred Maria from her enthusiasm for her newest restaurant on the upper 14th Street NW corridor and she has already built a loyal following from the community. Read More


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