In DC restaurants, limoncello seems to fall into one of two extremes: brought in from Italy, or made in-house on a small scale (places such as Dino and Siroc fall into the latter category). Now that Francesco Amodeo has started his own limoncello company, he represents the middle ground: limoncello made locally, but on a larger scale.
Amodeo, known to the food community from his time running Bibiana, is the founder of Don Ciccio & Figli. Amodeo makes the limoncello out of his "wet house" in the Takoma Park area, though the facility isn't open for site visits or tours. The name evokes Amodeo's grandfather, who also was in the limoncello business on the Amalfi Coast. His distillery was shut down in 1980 due to an earthquake. That was just before Amodeo was born.
Amodeo picked up the family passion on his own, but decided to think bigger. "I said to myself, 'Why not be able to produce them and have everyone enjoy them, not just the people who know me? Why don't you try to rebuild what your grandfather has done, but instead of at home, do it here in DC?'"
Amodeo figured there wasn't anything quite like his company locally, so spent about two years of planning and a year in permits getting the company off the ground, calling it his "love letter to DC." He found his wet house space on craigslist. Mostly through word of mouth, his limoncello products have made their way into about 90 restaurants and retail stores, from Room 11 to Ambar to Acqua Al 2. Here's where to find them.
The company's up to six all-natural products, and Amodeo's goal it to expand soon into other states, and to work with local farmers to develop more seasonal flavors like chestnut.