City Paper is not for tourists
Come hungry to Buena Vida if you plan to take advantage of the forthcoming Silver Spring restaurant’s $35 all-you-can-eat small plates deal. Dishes span from mezcal-cured salmon tostadas and sweet corn empanadas to steak with house-cured bacon, poblano peppers, and Oaxaca cheese.
Owner Ivan Iricanin has had luck with the all-you-can-eat model before at his Balkan restaurant, Ambar, which has locations in Arlington and Barracks Row.
“I like to give this experience to people and I see all this as a marathon not a sprint,” he says. “You come and then your kid comes for the next 20 years. That’s why I like this deal.” Iricanin also laments going to a Mexican restaurant and feeling full after a single plate of enchiladas, rice, and beans. “Our guests like this deal. It allows you to explore the whole menu.”
Buena Vida is only one half of Iricanin’s plans for the former 8407 Kitchen Bar space located a stone’s throw from the Silver Spring Metro station. Buena Vida will be a full-service restaurant serving lunch, dinner, and brunch on the second floor. Fast-casual restaurant TTT will occupy the first floor serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. TTT stands for Tacos, Tortas, and Tequila.
The breakfast dishes at TTT include breakfast bowls, huevos rancheros tacos, cheese and potato taquitos, and breakfast guacamole. No word yet on what breakfast guacamole is, but Iricanin expects the morning meal to be a hit.
“I see a lot of demand for breakfast, but not everyone is doing it even in D.C.,” he says. “Not everyone has the courage to go into breakfast. But being near the Metro, I expect a lot of workers to come through. The breakfast tacos are $2.50 or $3. Mexican food should be affordable … That’s why everyone’s eating it.”
Chef Graham Bartlett will man both kitchens. He comes from Richard Sandoval Restaurants and has extensive experience in Latin cuisines. He’s focused on making everything in house including the tortillas. He’s also sourcing meat from local farms.
Iricanin tapped his longtime mixologist from Ambar and BABA to build the drink menus at both restaurants. At TTT, Danilo Simic will keep things simple with $8-$12 flavored and frozen margaritas, agua frescas, Mexican beer, and La Colombe Coffee. Upstairs, beverage offerings will include beer, wine, sangria, tequila tasting flights, and more agave-based cocktails.
Both spaces are being designed by HapstakDemetriou+. TTT is smaller at 1,500 square feet and 60 seats, while Buena Vida sprawls out across 3,700 square feet with 160 seats in the dining room and a 10-seat bar. Iricanin has partnered with Robert Day on the project.
When the restaurants open in early April the hours of operations will be as follows:
Breakfast: Monday-Sunday, from 7-11 a.m.
Lunch and dinner: Sunday-Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Friday-Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Lunch: Monday-Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday, from 4-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, from 4-11 p.m.
Brunch: Saturday-Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Both restaurants will offer happy hour.
Buena Vida and TTT, 8407 Ramsey Ave., Silver Spring; (301) 587-8407