Arlington, VA

A legendary D.C. food cart is expanding its brand to South Arlington.

Over the weekend, Pedro & Vinny’s opened in the tiny (repainted, non-mobile) building that once housed Santa Ana Restaurant on Columbia Pike, in the parking lot between the CVS Pharmacy and the new Penrose Square apartments.

Pedro & Vinny’s Pike outpost is not owned by cart proprietor John Rider. Rather, it’s the first Pedro & Vinny’s franchise, owned and operated by the owner of the former Santa Ana Restaurant.

Regardless, many of the elements that led Zagat to declare Pedro & Vinny’s 15th and K Street cart “one of the ‘best cheap lunches Downtown'” — including fresh ingredients and signature sauces — can now be found on the Pike. Just don’t expect much beyond the raved-about food. The (outdoor) dining area, which sits in a parking lot with views of a cement wall and of the CVS parking lot, is as no-frills as the Pedro & Vinny’s web site.

Rider’s daughter, Kristen, who once ran a second Pedro & Vinny’s cart at 19th and L Street, is helping to get the old Santa Ana crew up to speed on her family’s way of doing things. She expects to be on board long enough to see the location’s grand opening, which should take place in 2-3 weeks. Then, Kristen will work to get the second cart up and running in a new location: Crystal City.

Rider expects the Crystal City cart to be serving customers at some point this fall. She said that she’s excited to be doing business in Arlington, since it was “red tape” in the District that prompted her to shut down the cart last fall.

The restaurant, at 2599 Columbia Pike, plans to stay open until 11:00 p.m. on weekdays and 3:00 a.m. on weekends. More photos after the jump.

Hat tips to Jordan H. and Rebecca K.

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