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This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.
If you’re a Taco Tuesday fan, then you need to check out Don Tito’s.
This three-story Clarendon gem specializes in tacos, tequila and having a good time. The Keri Shull Team’s Chris Clark recently sat down with Don Tito’s owner Scott Parker to talk tacos, tequila and what it’s like to party with the Stanley Cup!
Elevating Taco Tuesday… Literally
Don Tito is serious about tacos. From classics like pollo asado to their own unique creations like the fried chicken BLT or surf and turf, there’s a taco for every taste! And since their menu is particularly taco-centric, it’s no wonder that Taco Tuesday is a big deal!
The third floor rooftop bar at Don Tito is the perfect Taco Tuesday environment, and they take the day to new heights with a DJ, free cotton candy and popcorn, deals on tacos and tequila, and even hookah! Of course, it doesn’t have to be Tuesday for you to get the most out of your Don Tito’s experience.
With three stories to explore, Don Tito has something for everyone. Their first floor has open access to the bustling street via large open windows and doors. The second floor has an electrifying dance party scene. And the rooftop bar is the perfect open-air space to hang out and get a great view of Clarendon.
Let’s Taco ’bout the Stanley Cup
Fun fact: the first place that the Washington Capitals went after winning the Stanley cup wasn’t in D.C., it was Don Tito! The team has long picked Don Tito’s for events like their preseason dinners, but it was a shock to Scott Parker when he got a call that the first spot on the Stanley Cup’s tour was his bar!
If you’re looking for a great place with amazing tacos that’s Cap’s approved, there’s no place better than Don Tito.
Want to live in a Clarendon or other incredible Arlington neighborhoods, surrounded by amazing spots like this? Contact The Keri Shull Team at 703-952-7653 or [email protected] and we’ll help you find your next new home!
A woman fell off the roof of Don Tito in Clarendon Thursday night (Aug. 16), suffering minor injuries.
Arlington County Police were called to the restaurant, located at 3165 Wilson Blvd, around 11:30 p.m. last night, according to spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
Fire department spokesman Ben O’Bryant says the woman “fell from one level on the roof to another level on the roof,” a distance of about 20 feet in total.
O’Bryant added she “only had minor injuries and was in good condition when care was transferred to hospital staff.”
Clarendon restaurant Don Tito will host a viewing lunch and happy hour on Monday, August 21 for the solar eclipse.
The watering hole at 3165 Wilson Blvd will begin the festivities at noon, with the eclipse viewing expected to begin at approximately 1:21 p.m. The eclipse is anticipated to be at its maximum around 2:47 p.m., and the viewing and the eclipse itself will wrap us around 4 p.m.
To mark the occasion, the first total eclipse visible in the continental U.S. in decades, Don Tito will offer what it described as “eclipse-inspired refreshments” and taco specials.
This year’s eclipse is expected to be seen by more than 500 million people. The total solar eclipse will cross from Salem, Ore. to Charleston, S.C., with the rest of the country able to see a partial eclipse.
“This is truly a historic event and a wonderful opportunity to view one of nature’s stunning displays,” the Don Tito event’s organizers wrote.
So far, no other viewing events in Arlington have been widely announced, but The Connection pop-up library in Crystal City (2100 Crystal Drive in the Crystal City Shops) gave out hundreds of free glasses with which to watch the eclipse, supplied by PBS. The free glasses proved to be popular and the supply quickly ran out.
Clarendon watering hole Don Tito (3165 Wilson Blvd) will be hosting what it’s billing as the “first annual Arlington taco eating contest.”
The event is being held on Monday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.
It will feature up to 100 contestants trying to eat as many chicken and beef tacos as they can in one minute. After 10 preliminary heats, each with 10 competitors, the winner of each heat will advance to a preliminary round in which the first person to eat 10 tacos with varying levels of spiciness will be crowned the “Taco King of Arlington.”
Said Taco King will receive a $150 Don Tito gift card and a championship belt. The second and third place winners will, respectively, get a $100 gift card and a $50 gift card.
The cost of entry is $20. Registration is available online. Spectators can attend for free.
Photo via Facebook
Everyone knows Clarendon’s new kid on the block, Don Tito, for its energy and rooftop views.
We’re here to share their must-try bites (because it never hurts to pair a taco with those drinks).
- Surf and Turf Tacos: Once these tacos hit your taste buds, you’ll demand them every time you walk in the door. A crisp and lightly battered shrimp is perched atop, and contrasts nicely with the heavier steak chunks inside. The taco is rounded with an airy cole slaw, crispy bacon, and a Sriracha aioli sauce.
- Mini Bean & Carnitas Burrito: This giant burrito, smothered in cheese and red enchiladas sauce, will keep you full ’til breakfast. The thick shell is packed with yellow rice, black beans, Monterrey jack and cheddar cheeses, and perfectly seasoned beef. Scallions are scattered on top to meld the bouquet of spicy sauces and powerful flavors.
- Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Tacos: Ever had a sushi taco? Tender sesame seed-crusted Ahi tuna rests on a bed of seaweed salad. Roasted corn adds a bit of that Latin flair we all crave. Two dipping sauces accompany: a cilantro sauce with a nice kick, and a tomato-based sauce with a tangy zing!
- Lomo Saltado: A fresh take on the classic beef tenderloin dish features shoestring fries on top of the dish. Sautéed red onions, tomatoes, and soy complement the succulent meat. Drown the shoestring fries in the tasty broth for extra flavor!
- Deep Fried Churros: Cap off your feast with a delicious basket of warm fried churros. Coated in cinnamon sugar and served with dipping sauces, these are the perfect way to end your meal. Sweet Tooth Tip: dip the churros in the chocolate sauce and THEN the caramel sauce for a sugary explosion.
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Clarendon’s newest watering hole will be open to the public this weekend, serving tacos, Tecate and plenty of tequila.
Don Tito will open to the public in the former Eventide space at 3165 Wilson Blvd this Sunday starting at 5:00 p.m. It will be considered a “soft opening” as the staff “works the kinks out,” co-owner Scott Parker said as he gave ARLnow.com a tour of the space yesterday.
The three-story restaurant, including two large indoor bars and a roof deck with views of Washington, D.C. and Ballston, is owned by the same group that owns A-Town Bar and Grill in Ballston.
“We’re absolutely over-the-moon thrilled to open,” Parker said. “We hope that Don Tito brings a place where people of all ages can enjoy great Mexican-American fusion [cuisine] by my partner Mike, while at the same time being somewhere people can love to have a few drinks.”
Drinks will not be in short supply, with more than 60 types of tequila and a margarita list that includes “The Don,” a $59 concoction of Don Julio 1942 tequila, housemade sour mix, orange juice and Grand Marnier Cuvée de Centenaire, which comes in a take-home Don Tito glass. There are 14 beers on tap at $6 each, save for the $5 Miller Lite.
The restaurant offers 14 different tacos, including a surf and turf, a tuna with avocado and a Chinese five-spice pork taco. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Parker plans to make tacos half-price.
The “tacos, tequila and beer” spot will be opening in the former Eventide space at 3165 Wilson Blvd. Scott Parker, one of five partners in the business, says Don Tito should officially open to the public on Sunday, March 15, with a “soft opening” starting perhaps as soon as Wednesday, March 11.
Interior work is still underway, but should be wrapping up before the soft opening. The establishment’s exterior sign is expected to arrive this coming Thursday.
Parker says Don Tito will be different than A-Town Bar and Grill, the popular but sometimes rowdy Ballston bar that’s owned by the same group.
“[Don Tito] will have more of a lounge feel to it,” Parker said. “It will be a good place to have a good time and drink but it won’t be as much of a party atmosphere.”
He added that Don Tito will have a bit more of an emphasis on food compared to A-Town.
Parker said retrofitting the former Eventide space went “as well as could be expected.” Patrons can expect a “cantina look” inside, with a lot of exposed brick, wood grain and two bars on the rooftop.
The roof will open when the weather allows, he said.
Don Tito is likely to open in the 10,000 square foot space at 3165 Wilson Blvd by early March, according to Scott Parker, one of the establishment’s five partners. Construction is expected to start as soon as next week.
The restaurant will feature “flex Mex” cuisine — Mexican dishes plus traditional American fare with a “Mexican twist” — but the emphasis will be more on the aforementioned beer and tequila. A bar will be added to what is now a dining area on the second floor, and a second bar will be added to the center of the rooftop.
The partners in Don Tito are Parker, Nick Cordero and Mike Cordero — the owners of the popular but oft-maligned A-Town Bar and Grill in Ballston — plus newcomers Ryan DeMagistris and Jason Fisher. All five are Arlington residents, Parker said.
The Cordero crew is on a roll since closing the financially-sound but stagnant Caribbean Breeze and reopening as A-Town in 2012. In addition to purchasing Eventide — for a sum just shy of $1 million, sources say — the company has also secured a 6,000 square foot space in Rosslyn for a bar/restaurant that’s expected to open in the fall of 2015, Parker tells ARLnow.com.
Parker declined to reveal additional information about the future Rosslyn watering hole, including its exact location.
The Eventide purchase will give its owners two big advantages, according to those with knowledge of the transaction. For one, the sublease offers five years of well below-market rent. For another, it offers a prime location in a Clarendon business district that’s well established as a nightlife spot — as opposed to A-Town’s location, where condo-owning neighbors have railed against late night noise.
Don Tito will remain open until 2:00 a.m. seven nights per week, according to Parker.
Parker said the partners were able to buy Eventide despite stiff competition from other restaurant owners, both local and national. The concept for Don Tito has been in the works for some time now, he said, and 3165 Wilson Blvd was judged the ideal place for it to open. In 2013, a Northern Virginia Magazine article about the opening of another Cordero restaurant, Flat Iron Steak & Saloon in Alexandria, described a planned Arlington venture that was then dubbed “Tacos and Beer.”
The owners of Eventide spent a reported $3 million constructing the restaurant, which opened in 2008. Parker said changes are necessary to “liven up the space and give it a little spark,” including renovations to the second floor which is “looking a bit too much like a monastery or something.”
Parker said he thinks Don Tito will compare favorably to what he described as an overabundance of American-style bars and restaurants in Clarendon. As for more direct competition, like nearby Mexicali Blues and Fuego Cocina, Parker said he and his partners are not too worried.
“Fuego is an incredible venue and we’ve been there many times,” he said. “Fuego is a great Mexican restaurant, [Don Tito] will be a great Mexican bar.”
The pandemic has dealt a blow to Arlington’s economy, but the county may be well-positioned for a rebound rather quickly.
In a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Arlington Committee of 100 — the second of a two part series — local experts said that unlike past downturns that resulted in a lengthy recovery, this one is driven not by structural economic factors but by a virus.
As people are vaccinated and the pandemic recedes — whenever that may happen — expect a strong recovery.
“The economy right now is reacting to the health crisis and [that] is driving the recession,” said Jeanette Chapman, economist and director of the Stephen Fuller Institute at George Mason University. “This is not a normal recession.”
Due to the pandemic, consumer spending dropped significantly. Compared to this time last year, credit and debit card spending is down nearly a quarter in Arlington (less than D.C. comparably, which is down nearly 30%).
However, that is an improvement from early spring when spending overall was down about 50%.
As expected, the drop in spending was mostly concentrated in the transportation, apparel, hotel, and food service sectors. Grocery and food spending rose in 2020.
While job losses continues to be a concern, the Northern Virginia region is above the national average. Chapman says this is due to “mostly being a knowledge services economy and can send a bulk of workers home [to telework].” A big chunk of the job losses, as expected, are in the leisure and hospitality sector, accounting for nearly a third from November 2019 to November 2020.
“Leisure and hospitality jobs tend to have lower wage scales,” says Chapman. “Those jobs are hardest hit.”
In general, says Chapman, the losses regionally are skewed toward lower wage jobs. However, because this recession is due to a health crisis, Chapman says we can expect a near full recovery by 2022 due to the widespread availability of a vaccine.
Arlington’s small businesses, particularly those dependent on in-person interaction, are also being significantly impacted.
Telly Tucker, director of Arlington Economic Development, said that any business with fewer than 50 employees is defined as a “small business.” This encompasses about 90%, or 6,000, of the county’s businesses.
Arlington’s small business emergency grant provided nearly 400 businesses with a combined $2.7 million. More than half of those businesses were woman and/or minority-owned.
As for bigger businesses, Tucker also spoke about how office building vacancy rates actually were decreasing going into 2020 from a high of over 20% in 2015.
While the vacancy rate has since risen and now sits at 16.3%, that remains below the office vacancy rates of the mid-2010s. Commercial real estate like office buildings are a major source of tax revenue for the county, Tucker noted.
What’s more, a number of large, multinational companies have made a home in Arlington over the last five years. This includes Microsoft, which made the announcement just last week that it would have a significant presence in Rosslyn.
The Arlington housing market, meanwhile, is doing well. Homes are typically selling for between 3% to 5% over listing price, noted Tucker, which is a positive sign.
The G.O.A.T, a sports bar and lounge at 3028 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon, in the former Hard Times space, has closed permanently.
The bar remained closed for months during the pandemic, but its owners recently decided to make what was initially a temporary closure permanent. Retail leasing signs are now up in the windows, equipment was removed from the space, and the bar’s former website is defunct.
“We are moving on to other projects,” G.O.A.T partner Scott Parker confirmed to ARLnow this morning. “[Coronavirus] made it too difficult to sustain.”
G.O.A.T had the backing of Parker and Mike Cordero, the local nightlife titans behind Don Tito, Bronson Bierhall, and Barley Mac. But with a 350-person capacity, plus three full bars and tables across two levels, it proved difficult to fill on a regular basis, even with a location across from the Clarendon Metro station.
The bar opened to fanfare in the fall of 2017. It closed last year amid pandemic lockdowns and never reopened. By early fall, the TVs that adorned the walls, along with other furnishings, had been removed.
Parker, who’s working to open a new pizza and hangout spot at Pentagon Row called Nighthawk Pizza, said no other closures of existing bars are planned, though the pandemic has dealt the formerly high-flying venues a big blow.
“Everything else is staying open,” he said. “We’re doing the best we can like everyone else.”
G.O.A.T is the 24th restaurant to close in Arlington since the start of the pandemic, according to ARLnow’s count.