The quality and diversity of the area’s restaurant scene continues to earn attention and accolades from national food media.
Cielo Rojo is included in Eater’s article titled “Where to Find Outstanding Mexican Food Around D.C.“
David Perez and Carolina McCandless, the owners of this tidy cocina in Takoma Park, first met while working together at an organic vegetarian Mexican restaurant in San Francisco, so it stands to reason they put a a premium on ingredients. Perez leads the kitchen, grinding masa from heirloom Mexican corn and braising slightly sweet carnitas with Negra Modelo and oranges. Crunchy pepitas add a pleasantly surprising crunch to quesadillas that can be ordered with vegan cashew cheese. Weekend brunch brings an opportunity to sample masa waffles served sweet, with fruit, mezcal mascarpone, and maple syrup, or savory, with smoked ham, Oaxacan cheese, queso fresco, and jalapeno vinaigrette. Order for takeout or on a patio via QR code.
Cielo Rojo opened in early 2019 at 7056 Carroll Ave. in Takoma Park. The “fine-casual” Mexican restaurant has been praised multiple times by food critics, namely for its pozole soup, tacos, and outdoor dining. Former Washington City Paper food editor Laura Hayes praised the restaurant last December, naming its Quesa Birria one of the “13 Best Under $35 Dishes D.C. Area Restaurants Served in 2021”.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Cielo Rojo will relocate to a larger location in Takoma Park to accommodate an expansion of the restaurant.
Washington City Paper’s Nevin Martell reported in January that Cielo Rojo will move to the former Healey Surgeons location at 7211 Carroll Ave., adjacent to the Takoma Park fire station. “With the help of DesignCase—which oversaw the design of Maydan and Immigrant Food—the new location will feature 120 seats inside and another 30 seats on the patio, an open kitchen, 16-seat bar, and private dining room for 20-30 diners,” Martell wrote.
The existing Cielo Rojo location at 7056 Carroll Ave. will be transformed into San Pancho Burritos, a fast-casual restaurant serving Mission-style burritos, which became popular during the 1960s in the Mission District of San Francisco. San Pancho Burritos is projected to open in the fall.
“We wanted to stay in Takoma Park because the people here are very loyal,” co-owner Carolina McCandless said to Washington City Paper. “They have been so good to us, especially during the pandemic.”
Photo: Cielo Rojo/Facebook