Chaia Tacos, a popular vegetarian and vegan taco restaurant in the Georgetown neighborhood, returned to the Georgetown University Farmers’ Market in honor of Earth Day.
Chaia originated as a stand at the GU Farmers’ Market in 2013, workshopping ideas with students before opening its flagship store in Georgetown in 2015. Chaia’s mission aligns with sustainability, composting and reducing the consumption of red meat to protect the environment.
At Chaia’s pop-up stand at the GU Farmers’ Market on April 20, the restaurant offered free tacos to Georgetown students and a giveaway raffle featuring T-shirts, gift cards and a free taco experience for six guests.
Chaia co-founder Suzanne Simon said the farmers market stand honors the role Georgetown students play in supporting the restaurant.
“We thought it would be a great opportunity to do a giveaway of tacos to acknowledge and appreciate all of the students who often come to us,” Simon told The Hoya. “I think you all are a group of mindful consumers. Students are such an important part of a lot of the small businesses in Georgetown.”
In addition to Georgetown, Chaia has locations in Chinatown and Bethesda, Md.
The return to the GU Farmers’ Market is a full-circle moment for Chaia in terms of the restaurant’s pursuit of sustainable food options, according to Simon.
“We started at the farmers market, and that’s how we tested our concept,” Simon said. “So coming back here feels like going back to our roots and kind of making that connection again, of the importance of not only knowing where your food comes from, but also the variety in what you’re eating.”
Chaia was a pioneer in offering sustainable food options in the District and hopes to continue this through the help of Georgetown students, according to Juan Dromgoole, Chaia’s director of operations.
“I do believe we were trendsetters before this was a thing in D.C.,” Dromgoole told The Hoya. “We want to be here for visibility, about trying to get the new generation of Hoyas to come to our restaurant and let them know that we are a cool, sustainable restaurant in Georgetown they can easily walk to.”
Chaia partners with local farmers to ensure customers’ food comes directly from organic, homegrown sources, according to the restaurant’s website.
Furthermore, all of the business packaging is compostable and the restaurant is dedicated to creating little to no food waste, according to Dromgoole.
“All of our vegetables are locally sourced, our packaging is compostable, everything we give to the customer is compostable. We really do think about using every single part of the vegetable so we create little to no waste.”
According to Simon, the Georgetown neighborhood community allows local residents and tourists to visit and provide support for many small businesses, including Chaia.
“Having that mix of different types of businesses within this community is really important,” Simon said. “The small businesses are often the ones that really give back the most to the community.”
Chaia hopes to make customers think about their meat consumption and the possibilities for sustainable eating, according to Simon.
“You don’t always have to go to a place that has meat,” Simon said. “You can enjoy a meal that’s meatless. If everyone started to think a little bit more consciously about eating just a little less meat, then that’s a big impact we can have for the planet.”
Beef production accounts for between 7% and 18% of global methane emissions, with plant-based options providing an environmentally conscious alternative, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Carolina Oxenstierna (SFS ’25), who got a taco at the give away at the GU Farmers’ Market, said Chaia is one of the best restaurants in Georgetown to get a healthy and sustainable meal.
“Chaia is vegan and vegetarian — very healthy, organic products,” Oxenstierna told The Hoya. “They’re one of my favorite places to go because it’s really healthy, and their products are sustainable, which is really important as well.”
According to Dromgoole, Earth Day is an important time for Chaia to recognize the role it can play in promoting sustainability.
“We really do care about sustainability,” Dromgoole said. “Hopefully, people know the value of those little things that we do that actually take a lot of time on our end, but we do care about those things. It’s important to us to show that Earth Day is something to be celebrated, and we want to be a part of that.”