The cheery wall that anchors Fox Loves Taco was inspired by “Saved by the Bell” and the art of Henri Matisse. (Farrah Skeiky)

When you wake up in the morning and the alarm gives out a warning and you don't think you’ll ever make it on time: Don’t worry, 'cause you’re saved by Fox Loves Taco.

The owners of the technicolor cafe — opening on the Monroe Street Market Arts Walk in Brookland on Sept. 9 — say the space was designed to make guests happy, with cheery accents inspired by “Saved By the Bell” and Henri Matisse. Adjoined to The Bike Rack, Fox Loves Taco is housed in the space that formerly held the Filter coffee shop.

“We wanted the concept to be fun and playful,” says Jena Carr, who co-owns the spot, along with Little Red Fox cafe in Chevy Chase, with her husband, Matt. “There’s a lot of concrete and steel in the building, so we wanted to warm it up.”

Even the name of the restaurant is meant to put a smile on guests’ faces. “We chose a silly name to show that we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Matt Carr says.

All six tacos at Fox Loves Taco are vegetarian and available vegan and gluten-free. (Farrah Skeiky)

The tacos (all $4 or less) are likewise meant to delight diners, especially those with allergies and dietary restrictions: All six tacos are vegetarian and include the option to make them gluten-free or vegan. In addition to Coava Coffee Roasters coffee from Portland, the restaurant will serve agua frescas, made from D.C.-based Misfit Juice, and kombucha on draft. 

Chef Bobby Dodd (formerly of the Partisan, Ripple and Little Red Fox) prepares vegetables as if they were meat: For the Power Up taco, Dodd cuts the mushrooms thick, as though they were a piece of steak, and marinates them in olive oil, thyme and garlic. The cauliflower chorizo in the Kwasi taco is seared at high heat to give it a crispy, sausage-like mouthfeel.

“I think when you say ‘taco,’ people have so many expectations, but the fun thing about this menu is it allows us to play with colors and textures,” Dodd says.

Fillings are served on two types of tortillas: a gluten-free corn version and one made on site from sweet potato, butter, salt and flour. “They just taste better when they’re extra fresh,” Matt Carr says. “Plus, it’s also really fun to watch people make them.”

Come next spring, the team plans to launch outdoor seating as well as games. “Expect cornhole on the patio,” Jena Carr says.

Read more:

This tiny ice cream shop is an Instagram-lover's dream

The month of August in restaurant openings and closings

Washington's second cidermaker is set to open this fall