Credit: Courtesy of Mexicue

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The Meatball Shop dropped the ball. The New York City chain that loves puns as much as forming food into spheres didn’t make it a year at 1720 14th St. NW. Now, another New York company is swooping in to claim the vacated space.

Mexicue from Thomas Kelly should open by late October. The restaurant takes cues from Mexico and the American South in building a menu with dishes like cornbread French toast and a Mexican interpretation of jambalaya.

“Mexicue has had a food truck and now restaurants in New York City for years now and have always thought the concept would work well in D.C.,” Kelly says. “As we started spending more and more time there, we became increasingly excited by all the cool, vibrant neighborhoods.” He landed on an address and a street that’s popular with out-of-town restaurateurs. 

The Mexicue food truck launched in 2010 and the first brick-and-mortar location opened in 2011. There are now Mexicues in the Chelsea, Nomad, Times Square, and Uptown neighborhoods of New York City, plus one in Stamford, Connecticut. Mexicue founders told the New York Times back in 2015 that they were hoping to follow in Shake Shack’s footsteps in terms of reach and expansion. (Original co-founder David Schillace is no longer with the company, according to Kelly). 

Other highlights from the Mexicue menu include a tuna tostada with cashew vinaigrette; pulled pork tacos with creamy chipotle and fresh corn salsa; lobster tacos with chipotle butter; and a signature dish known as a quesarrito. Think of it as a quesadilla stuffed with melted cheese, crispy tortilla strips, brown rice, and a choice of fillings such as smoky chicken or chili. Diners can also opt to order tacos served in romaine lettuce cups instead of tortillas. 

Get a better sense of the full menu here. Kelly expects to have some dishes and cocktails that are unique to the D.C. market through collaborating with local talent.

When it opens, the casual, full-service restaurant will offer lunch, dinner, happy hour, and brunch in addition to take-out, delivery, and catering. Kelly describes the vibe at his restaurants as vibrant, upbeat, and backed by good music. The drink menu includes a slate of margaritas, other cocktails, and a strong selection of agave spirits and bourbon. 

Mexicue, 1720 14th St. NW; mexicue.com