After months of delays and troubles with contractors, the guys behind the Rito Loco food truck aim to finally open their first brick-and-mortar location in Shaw this weekend. [UPDATE: The restaurant opens June 26.] Owners Louie Hankins and Daniel Diaz don’t plan to get a lot of sleep initially. Their fast-casual shop will be open 24 hours on weekends.
“We just felt like there was a void,” Hankins says of the all-night hours. “Who wants to keep going to the freaking Diner?… I’ve been going out in D.C. for 20 years, I’ve got plenty of friends that are in the industry, into nightlife. There’s plenty of people who need food after 4 [a.m.]”
The 26-seat restaurant will have an expanded version of the truck’s menu. In addition to burritos with fillings like citrus-infused chicken and pulled baby back ribs, the shop will also sell tacos and “fit bowls” with a base of quinoa or whole grain barley. Rito Loco will also add more seafood options, including fish tacos made with tilapia that’s marinated in a Caribbean-inspired dry rub and pan-fried in coconut oil, then topped with pico de gallo, cheese, chimichurri sauce, and cilantro.
Hankins says they’re also taking some cues from Georgetown Cupcake. “One is push our counter as far to the front as possible so your line’s out the door,” he says. Rito Loco will also offer a burrito of the week, just as the cupcake shop offers a cupcake of the day. The burrito specials (inspired by flavors from around the globe) will include chicken tikka masala; beer-soaked sausage, peppers, and onions; and spaghetti with bolognese sauce. “I know it sounds weird, but it’s ridiculous,” Hankins says of that last one. “It’s like carbs on top of carbs, and it’s amazing.”
For breakfast, look out for breakfast burritos and fruit burritos stuffed with strawberries, bananas, blueberries, vanilla almond granola, and cinnamon. For dessert, there will be s’mores burritos with Graham Crackers, Hershey’s chocolate, and marshmallows melted in flour tortillas.
The space itself has a street vending-type vibe. The counter where diners will place their order will look similar to walking up to a truck. It will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday, and then all night Friday and Saturday, closing at 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Follow Rito Loco on Twitter for updates on the opening timeline, which is still subject to change.
Rito Loco, 606 Florida Ave. NW; ritoloco.com
Photo via Rito Loco