Join Club

Popular La Tingeria food truck leaving Arlington for now to open restaurant in Falls Church

David Peña and his popular La Tingeria food truck that’s been serving tacos in Arlington since 2012 are moving to Falls Church to open a brick and mortar restaurant.

The new location at 626 S. Washington Street is set to open next month (December), Peña tells ARLnow, and will be offering all the favorites for carry-out, including queso birria tacos, chicken tinga, tostadas, frescas, and fried quesadillas.

La Tingeria was selected by ARLnow readers as an Arlies award winner in the food truck category earlier this year and was No. 15 on a list of the top-ranked Arlington eateries by Yelp ratings.

Usually parked along S. Courthouse Road next to Penrose Park on weekends, the truck has drawn long lines and a need for a bigger cooking space, Peña says. That led him to take the plunge into a permanent location. He wanted to stay in Arlington, but the rent just too high.

“I tried my hardest to find somewhere in Arlington,” Peña says.

He considered spots along Columbia Pike and in Crystal City, but in the end, went with a three-story space in Falls Church about a mile and a half from the East Falls Church Metro Station.

The first floor will be the restaurant, the second floor will be a tattoo shop run by a friend of Peña’s, and the third floor will be office space. Well-known Arlington-based artist Mas Paz, who initially designed La Tingeria’s logo a number of years ago, painted the restaurant’s interior.

Peña began his career in the local restaurant industry more than a decade ago, serving as a sous chef at Rustico in Alexandria and, then, moving to its Ballston location.

It was during this time, he started perfecting his recipes, serving them up at the end of the day to his colleagues.

“They’re called family meals,” Peña says. “At the end of the day, the [leftovers] or the food that’s going to go bad, you put it all together and make some meal for the employees.”

It was his tinga that was most popular.

“Tinga is the marination of the meat,” he says. “So, when we have beef tinga, we braise the beef for eight hours, shred it up, add caramelized onions, and add chipotle-garlic sauce.”

In late 2012, he struck out of his own and opened a food truck that traveled around Arlington, serving lunch on weekdays in Ballston, Courthouse, Wilson Blvd, and Rosslyn.

Peña was comfortable, he says, and never anticipated opening a restaurant. But then the pandemic struck. He thought, like many, that lockdown would only last a few weeks, but it turned into months.

He had always parked his truck S. Courthouse Road but never served at that location, preferring to serve the weekday office crowds rather than the more residential areas around Columbia Pike. In July 2020, he decided to try it out, opening up on weekends next to Penrose Park.

“I was bored, missed cooking, and just needed to be busy,” he says. “I didn’t even honestly think I was going to make a profit.”

He did, though, and the truck became more busy than ever, with long lines, all waiting to get some of his chicken, beef, or goat tinga.

Also, his move to serving meat that’s halal opened a “whole new customer base,” he says.

Earlier this year, after seeing his sales nearly triple, Peña made the decision to make the move to open a standalone shop.

“I got to the point where either, ‘This is what you want to do for the rest of your life or just quit now and go work for somebody else,'” he says

The hope is that his famed taco truck won’t be off Arlington streets forever. While he’s currently concentrating on opening the new shop, Peña is considering bringing the truck back out in the spring.

It’s been a journey, Peña says, from the self-doubt that came with starting something new, and some of the mechanical problems that plagued his truck in its early days.

“I would be like, ‘Man, am I doing this right?,” he said. “But then, I’ll get a review that says ‘Oh my God, I just tried this taco and it was amazing.’  That’s what’s really kept me pushing to do bigger, better things.”

Recent Stories

Walk to Ballston and Clarendon Metro, shops, restaurants, parks, bikepath

Police are investigating a crash and a carjacking that might be linked. Arlington County police responded to a crash around 9:20 p.m. tonight (Thursday) on Route 1 at 12th Street…

Good Thursday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 12587 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

This past week saw 24 homes sold in Arlington. The least expensive condo, single-family home or townhouse sale over the past seven days was $264,000 while the most expensive was…

St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.

Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.

We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.

For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.

Submit your own Announcement here.

If you are a lifelong learner over 50+ who wants to make new friends, power up your brain, and enjoy a wide-variety college-level courses, Encore Learning is for you. An Arlington based nonprofit, Encore Learning offers courses in the arts, theater, literature, history, technology and more. This semester we offer our most popular course, Global Hot Spots as well as 25 new courses. Courses are presented either online or in-person at George Mason University at Virginia Square and other Arlington locations.

Join the free presentation to learn about courses and meet the instructors. This is Encore Learning’s signature event to highlight the upcoming semester with brief presentations by each instructor.

The Spring Course Preview event is Thursday, February 2nd at 9:30 AM via Zoom: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84855394419

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

First-time Moms Meet & Greet

The truth, your first pregnancy and new mom months are full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and lots of questions! None of us really know the best way to do it – we just figure it out, together…

×

Subscribe to our mailing list