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Chevy Chase Is Getting a Roman-Style Standing Bar for Coffee, Gelato, and Digestifs

At Italian Bar, the owners of I’m Eddie Cano will serve fast espressos, panini, and wine

A photo of I’m Eddie Cano’s owners Massimo and Carolyn Papetti posing in their chic upper Northwest restaurant.
I’m Eddie Cano owners Massimo and Carolyn Papetti plan to open a compact bar next-door by December.
Carolyn Papetti/official photo

The owners of I’m Eddie Cano, the mod Italian-American restaurant that’s become a neighborhood favorite over the past three years in Chevy Chase, are close to opening a seat-free, European-style bar next-door where customers can down a quick digestif and talk soccer.

The new place, simply named Italian Bar, models itself after Roman businesses where people congregate to chat over quick morning cappuccinos, light pastries, gelato, Italian snacks, and day-time drinks. The plan is to open Wednesday, December 1, pending permit approvals, at 5008 Connecticut Avenue NW. Hours will run from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily — and possibly as late as 10 p.m. Co-owner Carolyn Papetti says alcohol typically shows up in a caffè corretto (spiked espresso), a small beer, or glasses of local wine. “It’s a very social affair where you meet your neighbors, colleagues and friends.” says Papetti, a certified sommelier who runs I’m Eddie Cano with her husband, Massimo, a veteran of Assaggi Osteria and Cafe Milano.

A neon sign that spells out “Bar” in Italy.
A local company is making a neon “Bar” sign for The Italian Bar that’s similar to a ubiquitous one in Rome seen here.
Courtesy Carolyn Papetti

The slim setup will sport a small patio out front where customers can linger over half-bottles of wine before or after dinner at I’m Eddie Cano. That restaurant has established a following with heaping plates of fried zucchini strings, affordable cacio e pepe, and steaks alla Fiorentina served in a chic, throwback setting surrounded by images of Vespas and Italian film stars like Sophia Loren.

The new storefront will feature a walk-up window to grab a gelato or a frullato (fruit smoothie) right from the street. A pricey Carpigiani gelato machine will operate year-round, stocking two colorful cases with 12 flavors in the winter and 18 in the summer. The quick-serve indoor component will send out panini and tramezzini (finger sandwiches) to go along with just two types of beers, wines, and cocktails on tap.

Papetti says the typical turnaround at an “andiamo a prendere un caffe’” in Rome is 10 to 15 minutes. “Besides, everyone needs to get back to work anyway. At the bar, you might talk politics, but you’ll surely talk soccer,” she says.

Espresso drinks will rely on Lavazza beans. American coffee and cold brew will also be served.

“We get enviable morning sun, so it’ll be a great spot to meet up with friends for coffee in the morning all year long,” Papetti says.

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