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Taqueria el Poblano is closing its Columbia Pike location this spring

Taqueria el Poblano on Columbia Pike (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

(Updated on 8/7/22) Taqueria el Poblano is now expected to stay open until the end of August. The restaurant and property owner BM Smith agreed on a lease extension.


Taqueria el Poblano is closing its Columbia Pike location later this spring, its co-owner confirms to ARLnow.

A decade ago the local staple known for its margaritas and its Southern California-inspired Mexican cuisine opened at 2401 Columbia Pike, amid a wave of new businesses centered around the then-new Penrose Square development. But the restaurant has decided to not re-up its lease for another ten years.

A two-step of decreased revenue and increasing rent drove the decision, co-owner Thomas Stevens says.

While the lease ends March 31, the restaurant and property owner BM Smith agreed on a 60 day extension to allow Taqueria El Poblano to remain open for Cinco de Mayo.

The restaurant is planning to close at the end of May, but not before a proper send-off Stevens promises. The several month lead time gives both staff and regulars a chance to say goodbye.

“We are sad and our regular customers are sad,” he says. “But it’s a business and we just couldn’t make ends meet here.”

Sales at Taqueria el Poblano’s other two locations, in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center and in Del Ray, remain solid and those nearly 20-year-old locations will remain open for the foreseeable future, we’re told.

Stevens believes the Pike’s “transient” nature is a reason why Taqueria el Poblano didn’t survive on Columbia Pike. The location has fewer regulars than the other locations, Stevens says, and the volume of sales needed to cover rent per square foot just wasn’t there.

“For whatever reason, this one doesn’t do the same business as the others,” Stevens says.

A representative for BM Smith says that Taqueria el Poblano has always been a good tenant and was one of the first when Penrose Square reopened after a two million dollar facelift.

As of this moment, the space remains available to rent starting June 1, but BM Smith expects it to be filled quickly after Taqueria el Poblano moves out.

In the meantime, Stevens says the restaurant is going to relish the last weeks on the Pike. Formal announcements are forthcoming about Cinco de Mayo festivities and the goodbye party.

“We will have a farewell to the neighborhood, a send-off party,” he says. “We will miss it here.”

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