Over a year after opening its Rockville location, Taco Bamba will opening its second eatery in Gaithersburg this winter.
Taco Bamba, which started in Falls Church, Virginia, nine years ago, is a local chain of taco restaurants. The company expanded into Maryland last year with its Rockville location, at 1627 Rockville Pike in Congressional Plaza, and is now opening its second Maryland location this winter. Another eatery in Washington, D.C., is planned to open in the winter of 2023.
Taco Bamba founder and chef Victor Albisu said he decided to open a location in Gaithersburg, at 670 Quince Orchard Road in Quince Orchard Plaza, after seeing the success of the Rockville location.
“We’ve opened in Rockville, which was our first Maryland store and absolutely been so well received by Montgomery County and it just feels like home to us,” Albisu said. “Now, from the success of that, we’re going down [I-270] to Gaithersburg.”
According to Albisu, the menu for each restaurant is curated for the community where the restaurant is located.
“Part of Taco Bamba’s growth and the fact that we have unique menus in every store is because we want to be part of every neighborhood we’re in and we want every neighborhood to own their version of Taco Bamba,” he said.
Albisu said he believes the Gaithersburg location will add a new, fun element to the community.
“Taco Bamba is a very unique brand and I think it kind of adds a lot of life to whatever communities [it is in] and it’s really vibrant,” he said. “It’s packed, it’s loud, it’s kind of a fun and irreverent environment. We like to think that we bring tons of energy wherever we go.”
Although the business is still finalizing the menu for the Gaithersburg location, Albisu said it will include a barbecue carnitas-style taco, a Korean-style taco, a Peruvian chicken taco and a brisket mac and cheese.
It is the diversity of taco options that Albisu said he always envisioned for a restaurant like Taco Bamba.
“I always dreamed of scaling a restaurant like this, but scaling it in a way that was unique,” Albisu. “So, Taco Bamba is growing in its own way, which means creatively: We get to never be in a box where we have to reproduce exactly the same thing all the time, where our culinary team is constantly challenged and constantly challenging itself to do some really, I think, fun and innovative tacos. We have really developed an incredible cult following.”
Growing up in Northern Virginia, Albisu watched his mother run her Latin market, learning how to cut meat and learning about Latin food from various cultures. It took some time after he graduated from George Mason University in 1998 and then worked in international development to realize his passion for food.
“I needed to go follow my passion and dreams and I enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and began cooking,” he said. “I always cooked in my life or I was always around food and food-related businesses but being that I’m first generation born in this country and I was the first to graduate from college in both sides of my family, I wasn’t expected to do anything other than something really interesting and professional. So, I studied things I enjoyed, I really enjoyed my line of studies, it just wasn’t what I wanted to work in. I missed being in a kitchen, I missed being around food.” Now Taco Bamba is Albisu’s focus as the company deals with four upcoming openings within the next year and plans to expand to North Carolina in 2023.