The new Taco Bamba location in Ballston is expected to open to the public a week from today.
Chef Victor Albisu announced last month that what was previously planned as Huevos, a new all-day egg restaurant concept, would instead become a tried-and-true Taco Bamba outpost, in part due to financial pressures from the pandemic.
The new taco eatery will be located at 4000 Wilson Blvd, facing N. Quincy Street, in the former Yona space. The location has been serving as a Taco Bamba pick-up spot since April, and the popularity of the service was another factor in Albisu’s decision.
The new 1,500 square foot restaurant is the fifth Taco Bamba in Virginia. Set to open on Thursday, Aug. 20, the takeout taqueria will feature “a bar program, a small patio and a brand-new menu of nuestros tacos, in addition to the taqueria’s traditional favorites.”
“Creating a new menu for each location is always my favorite part of any opening,” Albisu said in a statement. “All Taco Bamba locations have their own identity that reflects the neighborhood, and Arlington has such a great culinary tradition of immigrant cuisines. We’ve felt really inspired while creating these dishes.”
The full press release, which has been lightly edited by ARLnow for clarity, is below.
Award-winning chef Victor Albisu announces an August 20 opening date for the Ballston location of his popular taqueria, Taco Bamba. The fifth Virginia location for the carryout taqueria is located at 4000 Wilson Blvd., Suite C (entrance on N. Quincy St.) in the View at Liberty Center in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington. The 1,500-square-foot fast casual features a bar program, a small patio and a brand-new menu of nuestros tacos, in addition to the taqueria’s traditional favorites.
In the tradition of Taco Bamba openings, there will be a contest to select a new “Bamba 100.” All online orders on the first day of service will be entered into a random drawing of 100 guests to receive a card good for one free taco a week for an entire year.
“Creating a new menu for each location is always my favorite part of any opening,” Albisu said. “All Taco Bamba locations have their own identity that reflects the neighborhood, and Arlington has such a great culinary tradition of immigrant cuisines. We’ve felt really inspired while creating these dishes.”
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 Peruvian spiced chicken and topped with green chili puree and aji amarillo mayo. The Salim Abu Aziz tops a filling of shawarma-spiced zucchini with sumac onion, burnt eggplant, grilled halloumi and chipotle yogurt in a warm pita, while the El Diablo squares off fried chicken with buffalo sauce, blue cheese crema and pickles. Those looking beyond the taco lists will find a spicy fried chicken torta, “Shake and Bake” chilaquiles, spiced street corn served off the cob with popcorn, and “The Jeffrey,” a crispy fried burrito containing a filling of carne asada, pork al pastor, chorizo, Chihuahua cheese, and serrano salsa verde.
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 rosé sangria, all packaged for carryout.
While the dining room and bar won’t initially be open, the patio will welcome guests as long as the weather permits.
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.