Coastal Italian standout Stellina Pizzeria opens a second location today, expanding into Arlington with a combo restaurant and market that has a deli case selling fresh pasta by the pound, pizza dough, imported meats and cheeses, other antipasti, and sweets.
The new addition to the Village at Shirlington (2800 S. Randolph Street) gives co-owner Antonio Matarazzo a shop closer to home than the original, which has been busy since opening near Union Market a couple years ago.
“I love Arlington, I live right up the street,” Matarazzo says. “The pandemic has taught me that people are getting to know their own neighborhoods now more than ever before, which is why we picked Shirlington.”
Chef Matteo Venini’s main menu will remain similar to Stellina’s Union Market counterpart, which features “neo-Neapolitan” pizzas with a slow fermentation, pizza dough panini, pastas, and small bites like paper cups full of fried artichokes or mixed seafood. Menu highlights include the “Polipo e Bufala” panino, made with fried octopus, buffalo mozzarella, black olives, and red pepper sauce. Trendy cacio e pepe is available as a pasta sauce and a flavor for pizza.
The market setup is a reaction to the COVID-19 crisis, when customers may be looking to upgrade their nights at home. Instead of a formal bar setup, the space features a deli counter. A freezer holds ready-to-bake lasagna or pizza. Dry goods such as pasta, beans, polenta, olive oil, vinegar, and jam add to the aesthetics.
For the past few weeks, Stellina has drawn national and local headlines about one of the new restaurant’s most eclectic features — a pasta vending machine that has been stationed outside since late January.
“People are already super excited and curious,” Matarazzo says. “We invested in this. We knew it was going to be something different but also something really exciting for the guests.”
Batched and bottled cocktails are also designed to be portable in a neighborhood that allows outdoor drinking throughout the business district. There are two types of Negroni on tap. Matarazzo says Stellina will eventually add ice cubes containing aromatics such as lemon, orange peels, or rosemary to go along with bottled drinks.
Stellina is still in the process of acquiring an outdoor dining permit, Matarazzo says. Eventually the restaurant will seat up to 20 guests on a heated patio, and the indoor space will seat up to 75 guests across two floors when the owners feel it’s appropriate to host indoor dining. For now, the Shirlington location will be open for pickup and delivery six days a week (Tuesday through Sunday) from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.