“When we were opening the restaurant,” says Mikey Torres, the general manager of Taqueria del Barrio, “we realized we had five employees who are gay. Also, our block is very gay-friendly as well.” Next door is Hank’s Cocktail Bar, owned by star D.C. chef Jamie Leeds. Across the street, new critical darling Himitsu, co-owned by Carlie Steiner.
Increasingly, restaurants are stepping up to serve Petworth’s significantly gay population. Hank’s Cocktail Bar recently launched a monthly Ladies Tea — the next one is this Saturday, June 17, from 3 to 5 p.m. And Taqueria, the latest Mexican eatery from the DC Empanadas crew, is planning to launch a monthly Saturday drag brunch, as well as a bi-weekly gay-themed party.
This Sunday, June 18, Taqueria kicks off the first annual Petworth Pride Celebration. Intended as a family-friendly block party, Taqueria and two other restaurants in the 800 block of Upshur, Hank’s and Petworth Citizen, will serve specially priced special cocktails and small bites for the day. Each restaurant will donate proceeds from the day’s sales to LGBTQ-focused charities: The Point Foundation (Taqueria), Casa Ruby (Hank’s) and SMYAL (Petworth).
“We wanted to do something that reflected and honored Petworth, but was still in celebration of pride month,” says Torres. “It’s a great little community. I love coming to work here every day and being a part of it.”
The resident of Oxon Hill, Md., then adds, “Having grown up in the area, and worked in a lot of different D.C. neighborhoods, this is the first one that feels, to me, like a family neighborhood, where everybody knows each other.” –Doug Rule
Petworth Pride Celebration runs from 3 to 7 p.m. and includes Taqueria del Barrio (821 Upshur St. NW, 202-723-0200, taqueriadelbarrio.com), Hank’s Cocktail Bar (819 Upshur St. NW, 202-290-1808, hankscocktailbar.com), and Petworth Citizen (829 Upshur St. NW, 202-722-2939, petworthcitizen.com).
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