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JUST IN: Taco Bamba Coming to Ballston

Ballston is getting a new taco spot later this summer.

Chef Victor Albisu has scrapped plans to open Huevos, an all-day egg restaurant concept, and is instead going with the tried and true: a fifth location for his popular Taco Bamba chain. The 1,500 square foot eatery at 4000 Wilson Blvd will feature a 35 seats, another six at a bar, and a small patio.

The decision was made due to the financial pressure restaurants are facing during the pandemic, as well as the popularity of a Taco Bamba drop-off zone in Ballston, Albisu said.

More from a press release:

Award-winning chef Victor Albisu announces plans to bring the next location of his popular taqueria, Taco Bamba, to The View at Liberty Center in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, Va. this summer. Located at 4000 Wilson Blvd., Suite C (entrance on N. Quincy St.), the 1,500-square-foot fast casual will feature a bar program, a small patio and a brand new menu of nuestros tacos, in addition to the taqueria’s traditional favorites. The space was slated to be the first location of Albisu’s all-day egg concept, Huevos, but he pivoted to an existing concept in light of the pandemic’s impact on the hospitality industry.

“As restaurants struggle to find a foothold during this unprecedented time, we felt it was a better business decision to open another location of a well-known and trusted concept, rather than introduce a new one,” Albisu said. “Our team has been working on the Huevos menu for months. We even took first place at the Coca-Cola Beachside BBQ at South Beach Wine & Food Festival in February with a Huevos dish. It was a tough decision, but we’ll find another location for Huevos.

Right now, we are excited to bring a new Taco Bamba menu to Ballston. Arlington is a neighborhood where I’ve always wanted to open a location. We’ve been operating a weekday satellite drop zone outside the space since April, and it’s been very popular. My favorite part of opening any new Taco Bamba location is creating the new menu for that neighborhood, and this has been an especially fun one to write.”

Menu Highlights

Like all Taco Bamba locations, the Ballston menu includes two taco lists: Traditionals, with classic favorites like carnitas, chicken tinga and al pastor, and Nuestros, with original creations, some unique to the location and inspired by the surrounding neighborhood. The El Rico Pollo, an obvious highlight of the Ballston menu, pays homage to a neighborhood institution while also drawing on Albisu’s Peruvian heritage for a taco stuffed with Inca Cola-glazed Peruvian chicken and topped with serrano chili sauce and aji amarillo slaw. The Salim Abu Aziz tops a filling of shawarma-spiced zucchini with sumac, rajas, burnt eggplant ricotta and chipotle yogurt in a warm pita, while the She Hulk marries cauliflower, cool ranchero powder and mole verde. Those looking beyond the taco lists will find a fried chicken torta, Wake and Bake chilaquiles, and spiced street corn served off the cob with popcorn.

The 35-seat restaurant, including a six-seat bar, will be home to a cocktail program that shows off beverage director Amin Seddiq’s talents for perfectly balanced margaritas, refreshing palomas and must-have-another micheladas. Other highlights will include honeydew punch and rosĂ© sangria

About Chef Victor Albisu

Victor Albisu is the chef/owner of Taco Bamba with five locations across Northern Virginia. In 2015, the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington honored Albisu as Chef of the Year, and in 2020 and 2016 he was nominated for a James Beard Foundation award as Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.

With more than a decade of experience in fine dining and upscale French, American and Latin American restaurants, Albisu combines his culinary education with his Latin American heritage to bring a unique style of cuisine to his restaurant concepts.

Outside the kitchen, Albisu is active in global culinary relief initiatives, including extensive work with CARE and World Central Kitchen, for whom he was a founding board member and has travelled to Cuba, Nicaragua and Peru, among other destinations. In early 2020, Albisu co-led a relief trip to Peru with a group of chefs and dentists bringing aid and medical care to underserved communities with a newly formed non-profit, Smile on the World. In 2015, Albisu competed on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay and bested the host and grill master with his signature dish, steak & eggs. Albisu has also appeared as a guest judge on Telemundo’s Top Chef Estrellas and the FOX TV series Hell’s Kitchen.

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