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Centrolina Chef Plans CityCenter Expansion With a New All-Day Cafe

Amy Brandwein expects to open Piccolina in the summer

Centrolina chef Amy Brandwein is opening a new cafe across the street in 2019.
Centrolina/official photo
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

James Beard Award finalist Amy Brandwein announced today she is doubling down in CityCenter with plans to open a market and cafe across from Centrolina next summer.

Piccolina will take over the former RareSweets space at 963 Palmer Alley NW. The new business will annex Centrolina’s to-go market while adding a bakery program with a wood-fired oven. Moving most mercato operations across the street will free up space to accommodate more diners and larger groups at Centrolina.

The wood-fired oven at Piccolina, which means “little one” in Italian, will cook omelets, breakfast crepes, crostatas, vegetables, and Brandwein’s eggplant lasagna. There will also be coffee, pastries, retail items, and prepared food. Brandwein will bring in a to-be-announced local artisan baker to lead the bread program.

“I’ve been wanting to explore breadmaking for as long as I can remember, and this space is the perfect venue to experiment,” Brandwein says in a statement provided to Eater.

Centrolina will maintain some market offerings, like fresh produce, pasta, sauces, and fish. The 25-seat Italian extension across the street — which will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner — will feature cafe seating and a walk-up ordering model.

Open for almost four years, Centrolina features a welcoming open kitchen that serves a 48-seat dining room, a 16-seat bar, and a 32-seat patio.

Homegrown bakeshop Raresweets, which debuted in the glitzy CityCenter alley in 2014, shuttered this spring due to financial constraints.

Brandwein has a slew of culinary accolades under her belt, including James Beard Foundation Award finalist in the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category (2017 and 2018). This summer she won Chef of the Year at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) RAMMY Awards.


974 Palmer Alley Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 898-2426 Visit Website