Chaia Taco Shop Expanding Downtown

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Chaia co-founders Suzanne Simon and Bettina Stern. Courtesy Chaia.

Chaia, Georgetown’s favorite vegetarian taco shop, will get a second home later this year. The local fast-casual restaurant plans to open a new location downtown at 615 I St. NW in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood.

The new space will feature 2,000 square feet and seating for 35 — twice the capacity of its current storefront at 3207 Grace St. NW. In a statement, Chaia co-founder Bettina Stern emphasized the expansion as a way to spread the restaurant’s goal of promoting a healthy lifestyle.

“Our food changes the way people think about vegetables, and about what it means to eat well,” Stern wrote.

Stern said that the downtown location and additional square footage will also allow Chaia to grow its catering business to area businesses.

Founded in 2013, Chaia opened its first brick-and-mortar store in 2015 after initially gaining popularity selling at area farmer’s markets. Customers gravitate toward its “farm-to-taco” model, which proves that meat is not a requirement for a creative and tasty taco.

Hits from the rotating plant-based menu include the comforting combination of creamy kale and potato with pepperjack cheese, poblano crema, green sauce and pickled onions. Then there’s the mushroom taco, filled with feta, red sauce and cilantro. The new shop has plans to launch breakfast tacos on weekends and is leaving open the possibility of introducing a weekday morning menu.

Along with some new food options, Chaia will roll out a selection of seasonal cocktails, an upgrade over the beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages available in Georgetown.

No specific date was given for the opening. When the time does come, Stern is excited about the ways Chaia will impact its new neighborhood beyond just being another quick source of lunch or dinner.

“We strive to inspire people to care about wellness, both for themselves and for our planet,” Stern said. “This next step in our growth enables us to continue that mission.”

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