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Dive Bar Owner Works to Revive Nostalgic Italian Restaurant

Cafe Italia alum turned restaurateur Freddie Lutz is bringing back the red sauce joint

Customers dining at now-defunct Cafe Italia.
467thomasc/Trip Advisor

Freddie’s Beach Bar owner Freddie Lutz is working to resurrect recently shuttered Crystal City restaurant Cafe Italia as “Freddie’s Italian Cafe.”

Arlnow reports that Lutz, who worked at the 40-year-old neighborhood eatery for a quarter of a century before striking out on his own, is collaborating with a few other former employees on the revival effort. Cafe Italia, with its red checked tablecloths and classic Italian dishes, closed in April due to an inability to keep up with rising rents in the area. While his eponymous beach bar is designed to appeal to the LGBTQ community, Lutz tells Arlnow he plans to renovate the aging Cafe Italia space before reopening it, but maintains that the “basic skeleton and soul of the restaurant is there.”

Cafe Italia vets Adolfo and Birtillo Urrutia — brothers who served there as a busboy and chef — are joining with Lutz to facilitate the restaurant’s speedy return. There’s no reopening date yet, but Lutz did sew up the sale on May 21.

Freddie's Beach Bar & Restaurant

555 23rd Street South, , VA 22202 (703) 685-0555 Visit Website