Pizzeria Paradiso, a household name in the local gourmet pie circuit, is expanding into Maryland for the first time.
The anticipated opening in Hyattsville is still about a month out, and Eater got a construction tour from chef/founder Ruth Gresser. The 2,000-square-foot restaurant will share a space with the nonprofit ArtWorks, the landmark building that’s being transformed into a new community center with art and food.
“The design team created a space that basically says this is an art center — it looks like creativity happens here,” she said.
And that includes the pizza making. A wood-fired Marra Forni oven is already in place and doubles as an art installation; local Valerie Theberge just wrapped up a mosaic flame design on its dome.
“That is fun to have a prominent piece of the restaurant in place,” said Gresser.
The building had a former life as a florist and went abandoned for over 10 years, she said. A big renovation was needed, and its facade got a complete modern facelift.
Not all aspects got a refresh: the original retaining stone walls and a terrazzo floor were kept in place.
The beer program will be a big focus, as it is at Pizzeria Paradiso’s three other locations, with 16 taps plus casks. Beverage director Drew McCormick just stepped in this year as the brand’s first female beer boss.
The space will house about 60 seats inside plus another 18 outdoors. A first for the chain is an exterior drinking component, thanks to a five-seat beer bar with a folding window.
ArtWorks is expected to move in any day now, with the bulk of its programs kicking off the start of June.
The pizza part could grow in size over time; there’s room to extend the dining room, Gresser says.