San Pancho Burritos to Debut at “New Kitchens on the Block” Food Festival

San Pancho Burritos, the fast-casual brainchild of Cielo Rojo owners David Perez and Carolina McCandless, will debut at Mess Hall’s “New Kitchens on the Block” food festival in June.

DCist reports that the one-day pop-up food event will take place at Mess Hall, located at 703 Edgewood Street NE in the District’s Edgewood neighborhood, on Saturday, June 10:

The one day pop-up will be held on Saturday, June 10 at Mess Hall in D.C.’s Edgewood neighborhood. For $119, or $99 for an early bird ticket, guests will get to sample a dish and a drink from each of the nine restaurants. There will be two separate two-hour sessions, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. District Made Spirits will supply liquor to restaurateurs for cocktails. Guests can go back for seconds of their favorite, and cocktails will flow, says [Mess Hall founder] Al Goldberg.

San Pancho Burritos, which is set to open in the current Cielo Rojo space at 7056 Carroll Ave., was originally slated to open last fall but has been delayed. “Yes. It’s still happening!”, the restaurant said in an Instagram post. “Slowly but surely we will be moving our @cielorojomex concept to a much larger restaurant space down the street (7211 Carroll Ave- once we’re done with construction 🦺) & openin our burrito shop at 7056 Carroll Ave (once the move is finalized)! If you’d like a chance to try our burritos, get tickets to the most fun food event of the year which highlights highly anticipated restaurant openings before they open their doors!”

San Pancho Burritos will serve tortas and Mission-style burritos, which became popular during the 1960s in the Mission District of San Francisco. According to DCist, the restaurant will be fast-casual, with patrons ordering at the counter, and should open by late summer:

The couple behind Takoma Park’s Cielo Rojo are opening up a new restaurant called San Pancho that’ll serve San Francisco-style burritos. San Pancho will take over Cielo Rojo’s current location on Carroll Avenue because the existing Mexican restaurant is moving two blocks away into a larger space this summer. Carolina McCandless says they dreamed up San Pancho to satisfy a craving for burritos, which were always available to her when she lived in San Francisco for 15 years. What distinguishes a San Francisco-style burrito? A large tortilla that’s loaded with fillings, including Mexican rice and melted cheese. McCandless says they’re using Mexican-made tortillas prepared with vegetable shortening instead of lard, keeping with their practice of offering vegetarian options. “If you bite into these tortillas, it tastes like somebody’s freshly made them. They’re really more moist than the typical tortillas that you would buy at the store,” says McCandless. San Pancho will be fast-casual, with patrons ordering at the counter, and is expected to open this year, possibly late summer. The NKOTB event will be San Pancho’s first pop-up.

Cielo Rojo will relocate to a larger space at the former home of Healey Surgeons 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, [a] 16-seat bar, and private dining room for 20-30 diners,” Washington City Paper’s Nevin Martell wrote last year.

“We wanted to stay in Takoma Park because the people here are very loyal,” co-owner Carolina McCandless said to WCP. “They have been so good to us, especially during the pandemic.”

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 souptacos, and outdoor dining.

Photo: Cielo Rojo / Facebook

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