Cheap sangria, discounted Peronis and free (yes, free) pizza during happy hour might have not been enough incentive for D.C. residents to make the trek into Rosslyn before. But now, Piola's signature L'Aperitivo Italiano happy hour will make its way to the district. The restaurant, long planned for 2208 14th St. NW, will host friends and family events over the weekend, with a soft opening for the public scheduled for Monday.
The Italian pizza chain, which also has a presence in such cities as Miami, is opening up in a three level space on 14th Street, explains architect Maeva Michiels, who designed the space in conjunction with the company's in-house team. Her job was to maintain the restaurant group's general look while trying to incorporate more natural tones, using exposed brick, wood accents. The space has lots of light, and is very open, Michiels said, with large windows and skylights. "It was important to keep it simple, with a very earthy feel," she said.
A massive staircase and dramatic lighting fixtures are visible, and the restaurant's wood pizza oven is a focal point, she said — it's visible from just about every angle within the large restaurant. Graphic images of flowers decorate the wall. The word "piola" translates into "gathering place" in ancient Italian, Michiels said, so that was the general theme behind the restaurant's look and feel. Michiels Architecture & Partners was also the team behind the recently-opened Table in Shaw.
Piola initially will open for dinner during the week, and lunch on the weekend — weekday lunch could follow at some point, but it's not in the immediate plan, according to owner Nabil Ashi. The menu is just about the same, maybe slightly smaller, than the Rosslyn Piola, but the D.C. restaurant has draft beer. The l'aperitivo happy hour will remain. "We are very excited to be in D.C.," he said. "I know people don't like to cross the bridge, but now we will be available for you as much as we have been for everyone in Virginia."
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