Breakfast Taco Spot La Tejana Is Now Also a Cocktail Bar

Get loaded queso and margs at the Mount Pleasant Tex-Mex destination.

La Tejana's Cafe de Olla martini. Photograph by TJ Buttner.

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La Tejana. 3211 Mt. Pleasant St., NW. 

La Tejana was born out of Ana-Maria Jaramillo’s cravings for the breakfast tacos she grew up with in McAllen, Texas. Now, its upstairs cocktail bar, opening Saturday, May 11, aims to recreate her days in Austin: “Every single day after I got off work, I would go meet my friends for happy hour. And we would just vent about everything—relationships, drama at work, our personal lives—over chips, loaded queso, and margs.”

Jaramillo and her husband/co-owner Gus May will offer all those things (bring your own drama) at their popular Mount Pleasant taco destination. Of course there will be margaritas, including frozen versions (passionfruit will be the first of rotating flavors) and a classic on the rocks rendition, with a choice of tequila or mezcal and a tajin rim. But bar manager Jose Cox, an alum of Albi, Barmini, and Oyamel, has also come up with more sophisticated variations, such as a clarified-Greek-yogurt-and-strawberry margarita.

La Tejana’s “Nostalgia Naranja,” a play on orange Fanta. Photograph by TJ Buttner.

A riff on an espresso martini is made with Lost Sock cold brew and a café de olla syrup spiced with cinnamon, star anise, and clove. Orange Fanta, one of May’s childhood favorites, is reinterpreted with carbonated fresh-squeezed orange juice, Mexican rum, and charred orange. But Jaramillo says one of her personal favorites is the refreshing “LT Fizz” with gin, roasted coconut cream, Saint Germain, Topo Chico, and lime. Cocktails are all $15 or $16, but a few classics will be discounted to $13 during happy hour (Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 6 PM).

La Tejana will also offer four natural wines by the glass (a chilled red, two whites, and a rosé, to start—all $14). And there’s Modelo, which you can turn into the “soup of the day” with a shot of tequila.

Back to the loaded queso: La Tejana’s version nods to the “Bob Armstrong dip” from an Austin restaurant called Matt’s El Rancho. It’s layered with La Tejana’s refried beans, queso, guacamole, and brisket from barbecue favorite 2Fifty. “It’s basically like the dreamiest Tex-Mex combo you could imagine,” Jaramillo says.

Another no-brainer was jalapeno poppers, which are stuffed with cream cheese, Oaxaca cheese, and cheddar. “We make it a little smoky, a little spicy, a little sweet, obviously savory, and then we deep-fry the jalapenos,” Jaramillo says. They’re served with a side of jalapeno ranch, inspired by the famous version at Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s.

Tacos? They’ve got those too, though not the breakfast variety. Jaramillo pays homage to a taco with a cult following from Taco Palenque, a quickly expanding chain that started in her hometown and that “has a chokehold on all of us Texans.” In La Tejana’s version, handmade tortillas are stuffed with refried beans, melted cheddar, carne asada, a queso drizzle, cilantro, and pico de gallo. “For me, that’s the idea of a perfect taco,” Jaramillo says.

The casual upstairs bar seats about 20, and there’s room for another 20 people on the patio. While there will be space for walk-ins, the bar will offer reservations on Resy. Bookings go live every day at 9 AM for up to two weeks in advance.

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.