A culinary addition to DC’s burgeoning Shaw neighborhood will offer Oaxacan food in a remarkable setting. At Espita Mezcaleria, scheduled to open in January, diners will sample mezcal and authentic Mexican cuisine against a backdrop of unforgettable murals by a renowned Oaxacan street artist.
For owner Josh Phillips, the experience of Oaxaca “always begins with mezcal, continues into food and ends with art.” So when considering Espita’s design, he says, “I knew we had to incorporate the unique street art that covers the city.”
Enter Yescka. Phillips knew the artist’s edgy work and contacted him to buy a print so that a DC muralist could replicate it. Instead, Yescka offered to come to Washington and create the art himself.
The artist used homemade stencils and acrylic spray paint to produce designs that are both accessible and rich with meaning. “I mix traditional motifs with contemporary themes,” he explains. In one mural, flowing textiles represent “our culture and identity,” as does a portrait of Mexican icon Frida Kahlo. In another, a young girl and a skeleton face each other. Butterflies fluttering between them represent immigrants, caught between happy and sad endings.
Yescka is pleased to see an authentic Oaxacan outpost opening in DC. “It’s good to have traditional roots with something more modern,” he says. “For me, it’s the same with paint.”
Espita Mezcaleria is located at 1250 9th Street, NW. espitadc.com