There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Stop eating avocado toast. Start eating El Techo‘s fried avocado taco starting tonight. The warm, creamy fried wedges at Shaw’s newest rooftop bar come with chipotle aioli, a four cheese blend, pico de gallo salsa, slaw, and a creamy chimichurri sauce on a flour tortilla.
El Techo is located above Rito Loco at 606 Florida Ave. NW, and is from the same owners. Daniel Diaz and Louie Hankins opened Rito Loco two summers ago, but got their humble start behind the wheels of a food truck that launched with only beef, pork, and chicken burritos.
It took them 34 months to bring El Techo to fruition and it’s their most ambitions project to date.
The food menu at the 46-seat bar includes eight kinds of tacos (get two for $8 or three for $11, or make it a burrito for $9.50), two kinds of ceviche ($11 each), and seafood paella ($22). Come Friday, they’ll expand their menu to include mussels served in a bowl with chorizo and other specials. Diaz, who is part Cuban, named the Ceviche Barrios with white fish and the Ceviche Flores with shrimp after the two cooks who prepare them in the kitchen.
“Everything downstairs is done in house and made from scratch,” Diaz says. “We’re keeping that at El Techo. With our food, we wanted to elevate the menu and bring something that’s deserving of this beautiful space.”
Hankins designed the oasis with ample greenery, funky mirrors, and hot pink cacti based on bars he’s visited during trips to Miami and while living in Ibiza. Yes, Hankins actually remembers something from Ibiza, Spain’s famous party island. “It’s not as crazy when you live there,” he says. “When you go there for a week, you blow your brains out, but when you live there you discover hidden gems. I wanted to bring that kind of vibe here.”
Seating at El Techo is on a first-come first-served basis and the owners anticipate a crowd. “We will probably end up with a line,” Hankins says. “That’s okay. We’re food truck people. We’re used to thriving in chaos. That’s where we figure things out and do our best work.”
Bar manager Bryan Tate‘s cocktail menu features four drinks, none of them overly sweet. The grape mojito has been the biggest seller during the bar’s soft opening according to Tate, whose resume includes Founding Farmers and Tiger Fork. The Spicy Mezcal Margarita is a fire storm thanks to the addition of a pineapple habanero syrup made from the same ingredients the kitchen uses to make its spiciest salsa.
There’s also a take on a caipirinha with cucumbers folded in, and a house margarita that stays cold due to the addition of shaved ice from a Japanese machine. All cocktails are $11 and a selection of beers are $6 each. See the drink menu below.
The bar is open from 5-11:45 p.m. today through Thursday. After Friday’s grand opening, El Techo will be open from 5-11:45 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 1:15 a.m. Sundays the hours are from 5-8 p.m. Eventually the bar hopes to open during the day on weekends.
El Techo, 606 Florida Ave. NW; (202) 751-3976; ritoloco.com/el-techo