Food

Finally, a Texas-Style Breakfast Taco Place Is Opening in DC

La Tejana is graduating from pop-ups to a Mount Pleasant storefront.

Photograph by Jason Garza.

La Tejana’s weekend pop-ups regularly drew lines down the block for Texas-style breakfast tacos with handmade flour tortillas. Now, couple Ana-Maria Jaramillo and Gus May are finally opening a brick and mortar spot in Mount Pleasant at 7:30 AM on Saturday, August 6. The opening menu will include just five breakfast taco options—including scrambled eggs, bacon, and potatoes or refried pinto beans and cheese—plus chips and queso. More extensive taco offerings, a dinner menu, and margs are coming down the line.

Jaramillo was born in Texas City, Texas and grew up on both sides of the Mexican border. She says it was “pretty much love at first sight” when she met May, a Takoma Park native, at a wedding in Philadelphia in 2017, and the two started dating long distance. During one early visit to Austin, Jaramillo sent May to fetch some breakfast tacos from her go-to spot, Taco Joint, after a long night of drinking.

“He was like, ‘Baby, if this lasts between you and I—whatever we’re doing, this long distance thing—and you ever make it to DC, we’ve got to open a breakfast taco shop,'” Jaramillo says.

It did last—they recently got married—and the couple held their first pop-up from the stoop of their Mount Pleasant apartment in 2019. The operation grew from there with pop-ups at Room 11, Grand Duchess, Nido, and beyond. Jaramillo has done it all while working full-time as a pediatric bilingual speech-language pathologist who owns her own clinic in downtown DC. May’s background spans from catering to selling wine at Domestique to working at Mount Pleasant bakery/restaurant Elle.

La Tejana makes handmade flour tortillas for its breakfast tacos. Photograph by Jason Garza.

Their brick-and-mortar restaurant will kick off with the same breakfast taco staples they’re known for—plus that queso, which is made with Velveeta, Monterey Jack, three types of chilies, plus a few secret ingredients. (“Anyone who says Velveeta is not the best way to make queso is wrong,” May says.) Dress up the tacos with a classic red salsa, cilantro crema, or an off-menu extra-spicy habanero salsa. Drinks will include Topo Chico, Mexican Coke, and Lost Sock drip coffee and cold-brew.

Come fall, La Tejana plans to expand to lunch tacos—pork, chicken, carne asada, mushrooms—on flour or corn tortillas. They also have plans for guac and baked goods, such as conchas or doughnut holes, plus drink specials like a cold-brew horchata and agua frescas. Once the restaurant gets its liquor license, expect margaritas (frozen and on the rocks), a legit michelada, ranch water, tall-boy Tecate and Modelos, and more.

They’ll also eventually offer dine-in dinner upstairs with an expanded menu of nachos, quesadillas, and possibly some from-scratch riffs on Taco Bell classics like a Cheesy Gordita Crunch.

The restaurant, housed in a historic storefront built in 1909, aims to look more like a cafe than a taqueria with Texas homages. Diners will find Selena’s signature lit-up and a Gregg Popovich candle—plus locally milled counters and shelves made from a red oak tree that was cut down from May’s childhood home in Takoma Park.

“In Austin, and pretty much all over Texas, you can find your favorite breakfast tacos at your neighborhood coffee shop. That’s how it works,” Jaramillo says. “So we wanted to do something very similar. We wanted it to be very well-lit, bright, fun, relaxed, relax, zero pretensions. Reggaeton is going to be blasting at all times.”

La Tejana. 3211 Mt. Pleasant St., NW. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 7:30 AM to 2 PM or until sell-out.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.

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