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Pedro & Vinny’s Opens on the Pike, Plans Crystal City Burrito Cart

by ARLnow.com August 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm 10,661 49 Comments

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.

  • Eyeball Veins

    I’ll tell you what, that has class written all over it.

    – Snobby in his own world white person

  • Eyeball Veins

    I bet the food is good though, I’ve never had it. Any reviews?

    • They only have burritos and burrito bowls (burrito without the tortilla). You can get vegetarian, pork, chicken, or steak. It’s pretty good for an inexpensive, fast burrito. You choose the tortilla flavor, toppings and hot sauce. They have four flavors of homemade hot sauce. They have some indoor and outdoor seating set up, but I took mine to-go. It was $7. It’s really low-key — for example, they don’t put your foil-wrapped burrito in a bag, but you can grab one if you want it.

      Anyway, I like the food a lot, although you have a ton of options there, so you may need to tweak your order a few times before you reach maximum burrito enjoyment 🙂

      • Tabby

        You haven’t been to Pedro and Vinny’s if you think they serve pork/beef/chicken.

        • Jim
          • TMP

            What Tabby may mean is that the original P&V is vegetarian only with a small, medium and large burrito option.

          • Tabby

            Yes, and as confirmed by the P&V web site. I only know of the one cart that John Rider runs. I can’t imagine having P&V without the commentary of how delicious the burrito will be while he’s making it.

        • Apparently you haven’t be there. I had lunch there today. Yes, they serve pork, steak, chicken, and vegetarian burritos.

        • Rude

          Wow, you’re just rude. Apparently YOU haven’t been to Pedro and Vinny’s if you think they don’t. Get off your pretentious high horse, and come back down to the world of common courtesy and civility. Sheesh, some people…

  • G Clifford Prout

    Can the Arlington County wastewater treatment facility handle the overload?

    • YTK

      From what I can smell when I pass the manhole covers, it’s already too late to ask that question.

  • I got lunch there today! I was a big fan of the stand on K Street when I worked downtown. Pretty yummy.

  • SouthArlJD

    I’m there. Southie has the most eclectic food choices. Can hardly wait to drop by and give them a try.

    • Josh S

      Wait, did you just call South Arlington, “Southie?”


    How long will it last with Penrose Square staring it down?

  • YTK

    I can’t tell you how trilled Iyam by alla dis………

  • Arlington, Northside

    That was originally an Ollie’s Trolley, I believe.

    • 5555624

      You’re correct. That’s what the Pike needs, an Ollie’s Trolley!

      • JimmyG

        yes, the Old Ollie’s, it is missed.

      • YTK

        Yes an Ollie’s Trolley, but not a County Board’s trolley.

  • South Arlington

    Very excited for this, everyone raves about their cart in McPherson Square, and it has long lines everyday.

    At the same time, I really miss the chorizo tacos from San Vicente that was located in this location four or five years ago.

  • arlcyclist

    1) Pretty sure the downtown cart was veggie only. Same case here?

    2) How does a sign make it to production with an apostrophe where it doesn’t belong?

    • arlcyclist

      Do’h! Image 6 answers my meat question.

  • JamesE

    Unlike District Taco there actually appears to be plenty of parking spaces, amazing!

  • Arlingtonian

    Excited to try this. That place has been there a long time with a ton of different names and 3 or 4 paint schemes! It was originally an Ollie’s Trolley. I would hate to see that building go, it’s unique

  • KalashniKEV

    1) Pork. Chicken. Steak.

    2) No one speaks English in that part of town anyway. Half of the signs on that part of the Pike have that scribble on them like the LED counter on the Predator’s arm…

    • Frenchy B

      It’s not worth the effort to translate.

      • Frenchy B

        The previous comment was orphaned (the one it replied to was deleted), so it really doesn’t make any sense now.

        I tried this place out tonight – it was a pretty good burrito, and their hot sauces are excellent. The people who own it seem like very nice folks too.

        • Dan

          Long live non-sequiturs ……and orphaned comments.

    • doug

      Arlnow deleted my previous comment, perhaps rightly, since I used the word “butthead.”

      For now, let me just say that, yes, we speak many languages in South Arlington. The rumors are true!

    • Gman

      What the heck are you talking about? The statement should be no one Only speaks English!!!! How many languages do you speak?

  • Lindsay

    had a burrito on Sunday for lunch and it was AH.MAZ.ING.
    give it a try, guys. you won’t be disappointed.

  • mike

    they gvae out free buritos the other day. as far as quick burritos go it was pretty good, but not amazing. for amzing burito go to ABI. for quick eat to go this place

    • ZoningVictim

      I haven’t had anything that wasn’t really good at Restaurant ABI, and I’ve made it through a lot of the menu.

  • charlie

    hey when the streetcar comes they can just put this back on like the caboose it once was.

    if this is the future of Columbia Pike, well, ….

  • Pedantic Grammarian

    Obviously they were not taught correct usage of plurals and possessives. –sigh–

  • TMP

    Too bad that they don’t have the option of different sizes like the original street cart. Some times you just want a small or medium…

    • Tabby

      Size matters, is that what you’re saying?

  • fourmilerunner

    Awesome, and open late on weekends!

  • I got that PMA

    This is the old Ollie’s Trolley, that little place has been there for years. It has been a Salvadorian Restaurant and then a Bolivian Restaurant over the years. It still adds a little flavor to the pike. Which will keep changing into another boring condo community. I’m sure, someone will knock it down and built an Applebee’s.

  • Cyrus

    This story is a perfect segway to the award winning bathrooms in Crystal City

  • Arlington Girl

    Don’t worry about phase 2 for penrose park. The man who owns the whole block has already been made several multiple million dollar offers and he insists he’s not budging so…. These amazingly delicious burritos are here to stay I hope! I worked at the White House for 8 years and we all loves Pedro and Vinnys burritos!! They are fresh and healthy too!! Try them!’

  • Pami

    I miss San Vicente. We do have lots of delicious Latin American delicacies but the closest Bolivian food place is all the way at George Mason.

    I remember eating a P&V burrito while interning K St. It was good but I never particularly wanted to have that anywhere near home. Although, I’m willing to reconsider if the meat is awesome.

    I, also, second Abi’s awesome burritos, especially the chicharron burrito.

    • CW

      Ever try the Bolivian menu on weekends at Tutto Bene?

  • Stu Pendus

    I guess people in wheelchairs can’t eat there.

  • RT

    I had one the other day. The burritos are great. The service is fast. The new paint job is an improvement. What’s not to like? You need a fork…but they have those too.

  • Jake

    I love this place.. The food are excellent especially the burritos. Everything is natural and the sauce are amazing. I love the mango habaneros spicy and hot.. 🙂

  • Gary

    Am I the only one who noticed that they made “burrito’s” possessive on their sign? What the hell? You pay to have a sign made and no one thinks to make sure it’s correct?


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