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When the owners of Taqueria Los Compadres in Mount Pleasant decided to retire and close in August, there were two taco fanatics waiting in the wings ready to take over the space.
Longtime D.C. restaurateur Ann Cashion and business partner John Fulchino will open a second location of Taqueria Nacional at 3213 Mount Pleasant St. NW. The pair hopes to start serving their taco truck-inspired menu by mid-October.
The first iteration of Taqueria Nacional opened behind the original Johnny’s Half Shell on Capitol Hill back in 2007. Then it got its own standalone location at 14th and T streets NW in 2013.
Cashion, a James Beard Award-winning chef, is a longtime resident of Mount Pleasant and is looking forward to serving her neighbors. She’s always had a love of Mexican cuisine, and Washingtonians got to taste it at Austin Grill, though that restaurant specialized in Tex-Mex.
“I’ve always kind of enjoyed cooking it,” she says. “It’s fun to cook and people love eating it. I don’t know many people that don’t like that kind of food. The kids love it. The teenagers love it. I love it. It has some sort of key touchtones about it that I value a lot. It’s very dependent on freshness and it has a very strong traditional canon of dishes.”
The Mount Pleasant shop will be a nearly identical, 600-square-foot version of the T Street NW location. The menu includes traditional tacos ($3.50-$4.25 each), quesadillas, tostadas, salads, and sides. While Taqueria Los Compadres didn’t have a liquor license, Taqueria Nacional will. They plan to offer beer, wine, and margaritas.
“When we did the place on Capitol Hill, we thought of it as a brick and mortar taco truck,” Cashion says. “We did a lot of research for it in Los Angeles, mainly visiting taco trucks. We’ve tried to keep that spirit … We don’t do enchiladas, burritos, things that are hard to get off taco truck.”
The space is currently going through a refresh so that it will have similar character to T Street NW. The hours of operation will likely be the same as well: Mondays through Wednesdays from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. through 11 p.m.; and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Taqueria Nacional, 3213 Mount Pleasant St. NW; taquerianacional.co