D.C. transplant Capo Deli opened this week in the heart of Shaw, hoping to lure in a round-the-clock city crowd hungry for hoagies. The new neighborhood eatery is actually a longtime fixture in Florida, debuting in Boca Raton in 1985.
Named V & S Italian Deli, the originator was started by Sal Falcone and his brother just steps away from the beach. Capo co-founder Andy Seligman became a regular while attending college nearby and told Eater he ate there every day.
Now, more than 20 years later, he’s convinced Falcone to install a second version of the mom-and-pop joint in the District — which Seligman believes is lacking in authentic Italian delis with fresh-baked breads.
Seligman, co-owner of Brickside Food & Drink in Bethesda, Md., and Grand Central DC, says the name of the new venture refers to the head of an Italian family. The 750-square-foot establishment, co-run by Seligman’s longtime business partner Brian Vasile, carries much of the same products as its sibling down south. The Capo Special (sopressata, mortadella, provolone) is a classic, and hot plates like chicken Parmesan, lasagna, and baked ziti are longtime favorites. .
There are also grocery items, including gourmet meats, cheeses, crackers, and bottles of Capo Italian dressing — a mix of imported Italian spices, olive oil and vinegar that’s splashed on subs.
Falcone hopes to inspire the same loyal following he’s fostered in the Sunshine State. “Whether you’re from New York, New Jersey, or Boston, every city or town has a local corner deli. You walk in and everyone knows you by your first name,” he said. After seeing how jam packed U Street gets on weekends, he knew he needed to cash in on the late-night crowd by staying open an hour after last call.
Falcone thinks his substantial subs are a better late-night meal than greasy pizza. Expect the deli to crank out sandwiches until 3 a.m. from Sunday through Thursday.
Could a second Capo already be on the horizon?
“The option is always open,” Falcone said.
Status: Certified open. 715 Florida Avenue NW; website.