Note: This post has been updated with new menu prices.
Just in time for spring, a huge Mexican restaurant and rooftop bar is opening in Adams Morgan on Friday, March 24. Baja Tap takes over the former Mellow Mushroom (and briefly, Big Sky) space with two floors, a front patio, and a rooftop for taco Tuesdays, margarita happy hours, and a lengthy menu of Mexican classics. It’s the latest high-energy venture from the Wave Group (Nighthawk Brewery & Pizza, Roy Boys), whose new chef, Greg Lloyd, helmed the kitchen at Le Diplomate for nearly seven years.
Lloyd tapped his longtime Le Dip sous chef Alfredo Solano to direct the kitchen. The Guerrero native brings classic flavors in the form of ceviches, street-style tacos stuffed with crispy fish or chili-rubbed pork, and braised birria. The chefs are also paying homage to their former French workplace with a showstopper plateau—here loaded with tacos, chimichangas, Taki pies (like a Frito pie, but with Takis tortilla chips), fresh salsas, guacamoles, and more.
“Alfredo and I know all too well, from doing copious amounts of oysters and grand plateaus, there’s a wow factor,” Lloyd says.
Other fun eats include a taco inspired by crispy Buffalo wings, and a Philly cheesesteak taco with shaved ribeye, queso, mushrooms, onions, and…spicy ketchup? Is Lloyd, a South Jersey native, trying to start a Philly fight?
“When I eat a cheesesteak I put hot sauce and ketchup on it,” he admits. (Paging condiment cop Casey Patten of Grazie Grazie for comment).
One thing everyone can agree on: margaritas. Baja Tap is going with an all-marg cocktail menu featuring seven styles ranging from classic to mezcal to “cucumber skinny,” all available by the glass ($10 to $14) or pitcher ($39 to $54). True to the place’s name, there are a number of draft beers, as well as imported cans and bottles from Mexico. Weekday happy hour brings solid deals on drinks and food, including $6 margaritas, Mexican drafts, and sangrias, as well as tacos starting at $4. Items are even cheaper early in the week, like $4 Coronas on Wednesdays.
Brunch will start in the coming weeks with even more deals, including $10 bottles of “house Champagne” (vintage TBD). Parker says the goal is to “pack the house and have fun,” not fuss over labels. They’re also hoping to slice off some Jumbo Slice pizza traffic with late-night Mexican food. A tamale stand will be set up on the front patio starting this weekend, selling homemade chicken or cheese tamales until the wee hours. A limited late-night taco menu will be offered inside until around 1:30 AM.
Next up: Baltimore. A Baja Tap is opening in Fells Point in August.
Baja Tap. 2436 18th St., NW.