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An Italian Place With a Speakeasy Will Take Over the Old Cafe Deluxe Space on Wisconsin

Georgetown favorite Flavio is bringing its stone-baked pizzas and pastas to a new Northwest neighborhood

A plate of spaghetti and meatballs from Flavio.
Flavio plans to serve fancier fare on Wisconsin Avenue NW than it does in Georgetown.
Flavio/Facebook

Flavio, a popular pick for Italian food in Georgetown, will expand to Cathedral Heights next year with plans to build a restaurant and speakeasy inside a well-established space near the neighborhood’s main strip.

Co-owner Mekki Karrakchou says the outpost could open by February in the old Cafe Deluxe building at 3228 Wisconsin Avenue NW. Chef Geoff Tracy shuttered his American bistro there after 25 years in 2019.

Flavio’s Italian menu includes a long list of stone-baked pizzas, branzino, chicken Parmesan mains, and pastas like a lobster diavolo and wild mushroom ravioli. A weekday happy hour includes $9-and-under pizzas, starters, and Aperol spritzes.

Flavio 2.0 will be filled with “more contemporary decor with few new dishes,” Karrakchou says, and the plan is to bring in a consulting chef from Rome. The revamped restaurant will also cater to a cosmopolitan cocktail crowd with the addition of a speakeasy tucked behind the bar — a nightlife score for the historically sleepy neighborhood that includes longtime staples like 2 Amys and Cactus Cantina.

Before Flavio opened in Georgetown in 2016, the same owners operated Paper Moon for 31 years on the prime stretch of 31st Street NW.

Karrakchou also owns modern Moroccan restaurant Mekki on Barracks Row, relying on family recipes to prepare couscous, savory filo pies, lamb tagine in sweet date sauce, and zaalouk (braised eggplant salad) to go along with pours of La Ferme Rouge from his family’s Moroccan vineyard. Karrakchou says he’s working on building out a rooftop space for Mekki.

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