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District Taco opens in McLean, kicking off franchise era

District Taco is now open in McLean (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

District Taco’s first franchise location has opened for business.

The Mexican fast-casual chain began serving customers at its new McLean restaurant on Tuesday, Aug. 15, an employee told FFXnow.

The 2,063-square-foot restaurant is located at 1334 Chain Bridge Road in the Lidl shopping center, which added Big Buns Damn Good Burgers and Matchbox Pizza in the spring. Operating hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, according to District Taco’s website.

The launch will be formally celebrated with a grand opening next Wednesday, Aug. 30. District Taco previously announced an Aug. 23 grand opening but later said that would be delayed.

The McLean restaurant is owned by Hicham El Abbassi and Isalmou Boussaa, who signed an agreement in August 2022 to open five franchise locations in Northern Virginia. That includes an upcoming site at Old Keene Mill Shopping Center (8432 Old Keene Mill Road) in West Springfield.

After initially anticipating an Aug. 3 opening for the West Springfield location, District Taco now says it’s “looking to open in the near future.”

According to the Washington Business Journal, El Abbassi and Boussaa both immigrated to the U.S. from Morocco and first encountered District Taco in 2015 through its Alexandria location. They also have experience franchising with Arlington burger chain Five Guys.

“I was truly inspired by the entrepreneurial story of District Taco’s Founder, Osiris Hoil, and his pursuit of the American dream,” Boussaa said in a press release. “Hicham and I are living out our own American dreams by opening our two new District Taco locations and we are so excited to begin serving high-quality meals to the local Springfield and McLean communities.”

Started more than a decade ago as a food cart in Arlington, District Taco has expanded to 16 locations across the D.C. area and Pennsylvania, including the new franchises in McLean and West Springfield. The company hopes to eventually extend its reach further outside the D.C. region — perhaps even to other countries.

Using recipes from Hoil’s family, District Taco serves customizable tacos, burritos, bowls, salads and quesadillas. Vegetarian and vegan options are available.

“Never wanting to compromise quality, District Taco ensures the freshness of its products by preparing its food daily,” the company said. “Chiles and tomatoes are roasted on the premises, grilled meats are marinated with a secret combination of citrus and spices that are indigenous to the Yucatán region, and chips and salsa are made in-house daily.”

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