Hospitality duo Massimo and Carolyn Papetti, the owners of Chevy Chase’s mod Italian-American favorite I’m Eddie Cano and new pint-sized Italian Bar next door, break into pizza with the opening of In Bocca al Lupo in Glover Park.
Set to an Italian soccer-themed backdrop, the playful neighborhood addition centers around round Roman-style pies that sport crispy, cracker-thin crusts. Massimo enlisted his cousin Fulvio de Rosa — a pizzaioli maestro from Salerno, Italy — to man the kitchen (2400 Wisconsin Avenue NW). Opening hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (closed Mondays) for carryout and dine-in service indoors and out.
In Bocca al Lupo replaces wood-fired standby Arcuri, which closed last summer after an eight-year run. Glover Park recently lost another pizza pad with the disappearance of ghost kitchen Social Beast, which served Detroit and wood-fired pies.
Unlike Italy’s now-popular Neapolitan pies, In Bocca al Lupo’s particular pizza import is relatively sparse in the states. In Rome, de Rosa worked under the “Michelangelo of Pizza” Gabriele Bonci, whose circular creations received high praise from the late Anthony Bourdain. In true Roman-styled fashion, In Bocca al Lupo’s pies stay unsliced to keep oils from leaking to the crust and making them soggy. There’s 15 types of red and white Roman-styled pies to start.
Starters include bruschetta and an array of arancini (fried rice balls) in anduja (spicy Calabrian salami), cacio e pepe, and pancetta varieties. An edible pizza bowl is the quirky vessel for a salad filled with greens, tomatoes, artichokes, olives, and mozzarella. A full bar framed in whitewashed brick serves spritzes, Negronis, and beers and wines on tap.
Arcuri’s Cello Room stage in the back corner will be revived with live piano performances on weekends.
The lively look from Italian-American designer Esther Konrad is an Italian soccer lover’s paradise, complete with green and red banquettes as an ode to the country’s flag. Italian-made red chairs and yellow stools add more pops of color to the cozy dining room. An incoming mural depicting Italy’s all-time greatest soccer stars will include Papetti’s personal favorite, Francesco Totti, who played for his hometown Roma team.
Three miles north in Chevy Chase, I’m Eddie Cano has established a following since 2018 for 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. A new seat-free, European-style bar next-door invites customers to chat over a quick digestif, spritz, espresso, and gelato.