Circa owner opens El Bebe taco + tequila bar at Skanska 99M

MHG El Bebe adjacent to sister Circa at Navy Yard

The latest restaurant from Metropolitan Hospitality Group (MHG) arrives February 26 at Washington, D.C.’s Navy Yard. The opening of Él Bebe at 4 p.m. Tuesday will mark the second such debut by MHG at Skanska’s 99M Street development. Él Bebe taco and tequila bar and restaurant is adjacent to Circa at Navy Yard, the concept’s fourth eatery. Navy Yard is home to several popular and acclaimed eateries, including Rasa Grill, The Salt Line, District Winery and Chloe, #20 on Washingtonian Magazine’s Best Restaurants list.

A warm, speakeasy vibe is imagined by design firm Gensler. Exposed natural and industrial materials, like wood, brick and concrete, impart a comfortable setting within the 3,300 square-foot space. Art work by pop artist Miguel Paredes will be featured throughout, in similar fashion to sister restaurant Circa.

Él Bebe, translates from Spanish to “he drinks.” MHG’s newest restaurant was somewhat of a passion project, reflecting the type of eatery the MHG team would want to unwind and relax, themselves. Executive Chef Javier Loyza has assembled small plates that are big on flavor, and emboldened with spice. Mexican tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and burritos are flavorful a gateway to larger entrée portions and desserts. Signature items include the Carnitas Taco, Bulgogi Taco, Mini Empanadas, and Mushroom Burrito.

Carnitas Taco, a medley of beer-braised pork, pickled onion, chicharrón, and salsa verde ($3.50). Bulgogi Taco hits several spicy and crispy notes, combining marinated short rib, gochujang mayo, Napa cabbage, peanuts ($4). The Mini Empanadas mix spiced beef, raisins, olives, black bean spread, sour cream, and garlic chili aioli ($12). Él Bebe Mushroom Burrito, a vegetarian option, and caresses grilled portobello, chimichurri, white pasilla sauce together ($12).

MHG partners with Atlas Brew Works so Atlas Beer brews will, naturally, be available. Atlas Tropic Thunder IPA is a MHG exclusive in Metro-D.C., combining pineapple and passionfruit to produce a dry-hopped signature beer. Él Bebe Beverage Director Paul Williams is on point for the beverage selections. Expect handcrafted tequila-infused Mexican cocktails, signature frozen margaritas, and beer and wine to be readily on hand.

Try these signature cocktails:

  • Muy Bien—hibiscus-infused Belle Isle grapefruit, sage, cinnamon, and fresh lime ($12)
  • Clasico—Sauza Blue Agave Reposado tequila, agave, fresh lime, and Bebe rim ($9)
  • Hasta La Vista—chipotle-infused Maximo mezcal, Mi Campo Reposado tequila, Cynar, agave, and fresh lime ($12)

Happy hour runs Monday-Friday from 4 p.m. 6 p.m. The Happy Hour menu includes $2 chips and salsa, $4 Tecate and Corona cans, and $6 classic and frozen margaritas. Restaurant management said, in an announcement, “A portion of all dessert sales will be donated to DC Central Kitchen in support of their mission to fight hunger in the nation’s capital.” Él Bebe opens for dinner service only initially, and will add lunch service in the coming weeks.

Él Bebe, 1331 Fourth Street Southeast, Washington, D.C. 20003

Photo credit: Deb Lindsey, Él Bebe

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