Asian-Latin taco shop to replace Custom Fuel Pizza on Pennsylvania Avenue

For those who have grown tired of ordering the same thing at Chipotle or Sol, a new restaurant that puts an Asian spin on Mexican food is opening just off campus this winter.

Zen Taco – a restaurant that combines flavors from Latin America and Asia – will open its second location in the space that formerly housed Custom Fuel Pizza at 1747 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The restaurant is set to open by Jan. 22, Jeremy Wladis, the chief executive officer of The Restaurant Group which runs Zen Taco, Custom Fuel Pizza and other restaurants, said.

The new location will focus on Zen Taco’s build-your-own meal option, where customers can decide between a rice bowl, noodle bowl, tacos or Asian-style buns. All of the meal options allow you to choose a base of rice, beans or greens, and are finished off with sauces and toppings with Latin or Asian influences, like mole sauce, pico de gallo or Korean barbecue sauce. All menu options will be about $9, Wladis said.

Customers will have the choice to eat inside the restaurant or take out their meals. The interior features several seating options, bright colors and is “very clean and very simple,” he said.

The drink menu includes horchatas, which is a creamy Central American drink with jicaro seeds, ground cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla, and hibiscus tea for $2.75 each.

The other Zen Taco location is based in New York City. Eddie Schwartz, chief financial officer of The Restaurant Group, said Zen Taco is a fast casual style similar to a restaurant they own in Charlotte, N.C. called Tru Taco, where the order moves through the line with the customer.

Schwartz added that their new D.C. location would be accepting GWorld soon after opening.

“I don’t want to use the word Chipotle,” Schwartz said. “That is a dirty word to us, because we’re not trying to be Chipotle, but it’s similar in style.”

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