For years, Alfredo Solis was hearing the same thing over again from his regular customers at El Sol Restaurante & Tequileria: when would he and his sister Jessica Solis open a new location outside of the city?
“There’s a significant Latino population in Virginia, and most of my customers were coming from there,” Solis says. “They were having trouble finding parking, especially during rush hour.”
Now, five years after El Sol originally opened on 11th Street in Logan Circle, a new location will open in Vienna, Virginia later this year. The restaurant will be Solis’s fourth, after Mezcalero and Little Havana.
The second El Sol will be much larger, Solis says, with seating for up to a hundred people. Much of what makes the restaurant so beloved—chorizo queso fundido, meaty tortas, tacos on fresh-pressed tortillas—will stay on the menu, with some new dishes and drinks.
For lunch, Solis plans on keeping things fast-casual with counter service only. Customers will be able to build their own tacos and order other items like quesadillas and tortas. When it comes to dinner, Solis says the restaurant will transition to sit-down service with an expanded menu that includes dishes such as pozole and chicken mole.
The new location also gives Solis and his team the space to expand their tortilla repertoire to include blue corn tortillas. El Sol already makes homemade corn tortillas using regular maseca, or corn masa flour, but Solis says the kitchen in DC is too small for anything else.
Overseeing the new bar menu is Heriberto Casasanero from Little Havana, who will expand upon the original selection with drinks such as variations on the traditional Mexican fermented pineapple drink, tepache.
As far as opening even more El Sol locations, Solis says he has been on the fence.
“If we find the right team, people who are excited about it, then sure,” Solis says. “But for right now we’re a family restaurant, and like to keep things small so we get the best results.”
An official opening date for the Vienna El Sol has not been set.