Stellina Pizzeria, the essential Italian street food spot that bakes neo-Neapolitan pies near Union Market, will plant a flag in Northern Virginia later this year.
The restaurant, which became a fast hit when it opened in 2019, announced plans today for a new 2,000-square-foot lease at the Village at Shirlington (2800 S. Randolph Street). The new addition will slide into the recently vacated home of Café Pizzaiolo with plans to open by the end of the year.
Stellina comes from chef Matteo Venini and restaurateur Antonio Matarazzo, who previously worked together at Lupo Verde’s group of full-service Italian restaurants. The Italian natives’ red-and-white tiled eatery in Northeast debuted in April last year, earning a place on the Eater 38 (pre-COVID) and a spot on the Bib Gourmand list for 2020.
The Shirlington menu will mimic the lineup at the D.C. flagship, serving neo-Neapolitan pizzas, scratch pastas, panini, paper cups full of fried bites, and other Italian street foods its owners ate growing up. To cater to stay-at-home diners during the pandemic, a deli counter will sell pastas by the pound, sauces, and DIY pizza kits.
A bar will serve Italian wines, beers, and familiar amaro cocktails from Ivy City’s Don Ciccio & Figli, with everything on-site available for takeout, delivery, or dine-in across a 48-seat dining room and 20-seat tented and heated patio.
A high-hydration pizza crust that undergoes a 48-hour fermentation forms the base for crispy pizzas that get cooked in a Marra Forni oven for less than two minutes. The Washington Post named Venini’s cacio e pepe pizza one of the 10 top pies in town. Along with pastas like pacherri in meat ragu, panini topped with fried octopus and burrata or porchetta have become best sellers.
Matarazzo and his family live in South Arlington, and Stellina’s expansion Shirlington aims to capitalize on the neighborhood’s taste for takeout.
Stellina’s arrival creates instant pie competition with NoVa Neapolitan standout Pupatella — the decade-old Arlington outfit that recently expanded to the District. Pizzaiolo, which opted not to reopen after the pandemic, maintains an Alexandria location and recently expanded to Del Ray with Detroit-style squares at Piece Out.
Molly Allen of Allen Studios will handle Shirlington’s redesign. Local artists from No Kings Collective will slather the space with images of beloved actor Totò and other Italian greats.
Stellina has delayed plans to open a second D.C. location, inside the historic Waffle Shop space in Mt. Vernon Triangle, until next year. That 2,700-square-foot shop is located at 508 K Street NW.