Friends of the queso, do not panic. The dip that melds cheese and chile peppers, a Tex-Mex signature, will live on—just not inside Batch 206’s Interbay distillery. On May 18, Oaky's Tex Mex will pack up its smoky barbacoa and breakfast tacos.
The good news: This isn't the last you'll see of James Barrington and Matt Davis's Tex-Mex ways. Though they've absolutely loved partnering with Batch 206, says Davis, they've decided to move their smoky, queso-y concept to a mobile program exclusively. Will there possibly be a brick-and-mortar location down the road? Perhaps. For now, though, catch smoked brisket barbacoa, carnitas, and, yes, that queso at food truck hubs like Chuck's Hop Shops in Greenwood and the Central District, Marymoor Park's concert series, and other locales throughout the city.
Oaky's Tex Mex announced its smoky intentions last October and replaced Windy City Pie's former Batch 206 outpost this January. The duo's Wood Shop BBQ joint? Very much staying put. "We are about to bring in another massive smoker," reports Davis.
While we have until the latter half May to get our fill of queso, when Oaky's departs another food venture will take its place at the Batch Bar (1417 Elliott Ave West). That will be Eric Rivera's Addo: 206, around the first week of June. Rivera, whose Addo restaurant has hosted a rotating door of themed dinners, brunches, collaborations, and guest chef incubator-style popups, says Addo: 206 will likewise have a somewhat changing template with a major focus on Puerto Rican cuisine. Jibarito sandwiches, tostones (fried plantains), arroz con gandules (stewed rice with pigeon peas)—dishes you may have spied on his recurring Lechoncito menu—will make appearances alongside Rivera's Richard Burger, his take on a Dick's burger, and an Impossible burger, too. It's all food meant to play well with alcohol, says Rivera.
Beyond a la carte offerings, there will be three large format options for group dining. "It [feeds] anywhere from four to six people and they can just order one thing," explains Rivera. "And it's priced out that way, kind of like Major Domo in LA where they have a large format thing, it comes with all the sides—all the things essentially—like they're buying a little mini tasting menu."
And it's not an Eric Rivera project if there aren't several other things happening at once. Meaning, Addo: 206 will also issue food for delivery (on apps like Caviar and UberEats) from this Interbay space. A little further down the road, Addo: 206 will also run ticketed events, like collaboration dinners, in the Batch 206 tasting room when the distillery has a special release. "We're starting to tinker around with ideas of what [dinners] will be and how much they'll be and how elaborate or not," he says.
What else? Come Christmastime, a possible Batch 206 and Addo: 206 collab on coquito, Puerto Rico's (ahem, better) version of eggnog, but made with coconut milk and rum—Batch 206 rum, clearly. Then there's Rivera's fermented hot sauces (which will be bottled and for sale), a trio of which will accompany two-feet-long chicharrones.
As for what else is happening at the distillery, Batch 206 is releasing a 100 percent blue agave small-batch spirit—the first in Washington they say—on Cinco de Mayo. CEO Jeff Steichen says their Sueño Azul Blanco and Sueño Azul Añejo will accompany a special release party that runs from 2pm until 10pm.