Chef Victor Albisu has closed his two Mexican restaurants in Penn Quarter: fine dining Poca Madre and adjoining fast-casual taqueria, Taco Bamba. The latter was the only DC location of Albisu’s creative taco joint, though he still operates five branches in Northern Virginia, including a brand new Taco Bamba Ballston.
A representative for Albisu confirms the two downtown DC restaurants, which have been dark since late March, were shuttered due to Covid-19. Albisu declined to comment further.
Restaurants and bars in the Chinatown/Penn Quarter neighborhood have been particularly affected by the pandemic with Capital One Arena and museums closed, tourism down 53 percent, and offices filled to a mere five percent capacity. Seven restaurants, including Albisu’s, have permanently closed since March. A huge new outdoor “streatery” is in the works, and aims to bring more visitors to the area.
Albisu garnered accolades for the upscale Mexican cooking at Poca Madre (it landed in the #6 spot on our 2020 100 Best Restaurants list), which, along with Taco Bamba DC, opened in 2018. They replaced Albisu’s long-running South American grill, Del Campo.