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‘Paciugo Gelato and Caffè’ Coming to Clarendon

by ARLnow.com December 21, 2011 at 10:42 am 4,494 77 Comments

Yet another dessert option is coming to Clarendon.

Interior construction is underway for the first D.C.-area location of Paciugo Gelato and Caffè, a Texas-based gelato and coffee chain. The store will be located at 3033 Wilson Boulevard in the former Cafe Wilson/Big Belly Deli space.

Paciugo will be one of at least nine dedicated dessert options in the Clarendon area. Others include Boccato Gelato, Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Pinkberry, Red Mango, Crumbs, Red Velvet, Bakeshop, and the new LeoNora Bakery.

No word yet on when Paciugo plans to open.

  • Big boy

    Good. I’m having a hard time finding a dessert place in Clarendon without having to walk 50 ft.

    • Bender

      Now if only they would put in some bars or restaurants around there.

  • I against I

    hahaha, are you joking?

  • JamesE

    Pretentious name, chain, fits right in to Clarendon.

    • JamesE

      Next week the Gelato Grotto will open at 3100 Wilson.

    • drax

      Pretentious and overrated? Are you sure this isn’t Gingrich’s campaign HQ?

  • Tre

    Isn’t that the building that got 1/3rd of a face lift?

    • creative

      Indeed it is. Is that supposed to be the “finished” product?

  • RosRes

    Excellent! More coffee shope = Good.

  • JamesE

    Speaking of new places, has anyone tried the deli that opened up in the upper crust gourmet location?

  • Clarendon

    Good grief, really ?

    Clarendon needs more things to do besides eat. And, I love eating but come on.

    • JamesE

      That giant molasses tidal wave that happened in 1919 Boston killing multiple people is going to happen again in Arlington.

      • drax

        It will be frozen yogurt though.

    • J

      I want Microcenter! Or an arms dealer.

    • +1

  • Juan

    Great another place to get a $10 desert.

  • novasteve

    God I hate this area with a passion.

    • JamesE

      I would have preferred a place that just serves the top of muffins, then they could give away the muffin bottoms to the new homeless shelter in Courthouse.

      • CrystalMikey

        The homeless don’t want the bottoms!

        • Swag

          Just call the Cleaner.

      • KalashniKEV

        OT: At around 8PM the other night I watched a Bum take a good long piss right against Office Depot with about 25 people in plain view.

        What’s going to happen when we start feeding them and housing them en masse?

        • well

          they’ll have somewhere they can take a piss in private?

          • dk


          • KalashniKEV

            Are you assuming they will become domesticated with our year round dollars? What about the feral influence of a steady stream of newcomers from DC?

          • Josh S

            Kinda walked into that one, didnja, Kevvie-poo?

          • KalashniKEV

            Hahaha, not really… I steered WAY clear!

            He was in between that large planter and the building, just behind the bus stop. I was headed to the metro like… “Ummmm, does anyone else see this?”

    • RosRes

      Why would you stay somewhere that’s super expensive that you hate with a passion? Take some respnsibility and either do something about it or STOP complaining. Or better yet, just take the pea out from under your mattress…

  • John

    No more gelato. Frozen Custard please.

  • drax

    I remember when ice cream and coffee in Clarendon were ice cream and coffee. Now they’re gelato and caffe and cost 3 times more.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      So do I.

      • Bender

        Quit badmouthing Smart Growth in our urban village paradise. All of that diversity and mom-and-pop businesses had to go to make room for all this trendy uniformity.

  • creative

    Tremendous idea! I’m thankful that creativity and uniqueness continue to avert the neighboorhood. The last thing we need around here is some crazy person trying to offer some variety.

  • novasteve

    I’m taking investors for this idea for a Store I will be opening in Clarendon. I will be making cupcakes that are filled with frozen yogurt.

    I will of course have interesting flavors of Frozen Yogurt so I can appeal to the tastes of Arlingtonians, so such flavors will include Hamburger, Pizza, as well as many others.

    I will however need help with a name, all I can think of is the Cupcake Tavern.

    • Yum!

      I wish you were serious, because that sounds amazing.

      • novasteve

        I was also thinking of of having a bar there, where we serve beer out of cupcakes and “glasses” made out of frozen solid frozen yogurt.

    • CW

      Unfortunately you are late to the party, though these guys obviously haven’t heard of Clarendon, or they would have been here YEARS ago.


  • cahill22201

    Ugh- what a disappointment. Most of the new commercial activities happening in Clarendon at the moment simply do not seem sustainable. More cupcakes, more ice cream, more pizza, more burgers- ugh. My loyalty is with good old Boccato and hope others will consider giving independents a try. Please do not consider me anti chain on principle- I confess to going where the best product is when it comes to food- but I just hope folks try out the locals before flocking to the latest trend. I can only daydream about the cupcake craze coming to an end. As such, I will begin to fantasize about what will replace these business in the coming years. I would love to be able to shop more in Clarendon and not just walk around eating the same stuff chasing drink specials. Too bad Ayer’s hardware could never afford the rent.

    • John Fontain

      Big ups to 3 and WoW.

      • Fishless

        I’d like to see 3 revamp its menu and basically become a seafood restaurant. Which, I think is something Clarendon needs.

    • Lou

      Most people around Clarendon would not know how to use half the things Ayers sells, and would have no use for the other half.

    • Josh S

      “good old Boccato?” Has that place been around for even five years?

  • E

    Ok, another business that will lose out to Larry’s Home Made. Has anyone else eaten there? Maybe it’s just me, but I love Larry’s.

    • tom smart

      worse IC we’ve ever had. all 3 of us had something different and they were all tossed in the can while looking at the manager/owner. what gluey disgusting concoction. HD is the king of natural ingredients

  • John Fontain

    “Is Gelato the Next Fro-Yo Craze?”


    “Paciugo Gelato is dreaming even bigger, hoping to one day reach a U.S. store count in the several thousands and a footprint that reaches overseas.”

  • John Fontain

    What ever happened to the hot dog place that was supposed to be eyeing Arlington (Haute Dog and Fries)? That was one place I was actually looking forward to.

  • Dave

    Even though Clarendon reached frozen dessert saturation about 17 shops ago, this place is actually really good. I went there for years in Florida. The prices are much more reasonable than the options here, although I’m sure they’ll change those to match the market.

  • Harry

    What’s amazing to me is that not 5 years ago it was impossible to just get a cone of ice cream (or froyo, or gelato) without going to whole foods to get a pint and some cones and do it yourself. Now, as a lot of people have commented, there are almost too many places for frozen desserts! Unfortunately, aside from Boccato none of these places matches Lazy Sundae’s creativity.

    • tom smart


  • novasteve

    Why doesn’t Arlington try to get into the record books and have the county buy another building and make it into the world’s only shopping mall just of cupcake and froyo places? We would be the world froyo capital and have something to be proud of!

  • dk


    • Josh S

      Hey, didn’t your mom ever tell you it’s not polite to yawn in public?

  • R. Griffon

    Ugh. Just what we need.

    For the love of God, can’t we just get a good sandwich place? I mean Earl’s is pretty good, but the only thing smaller than their menu is their seating section. I’d kill for a Lost Dog-like place in the heart of Clarendon.

    • Harry

      It’s ironic that this dessert place is replacing Cafe Wilson, which was a great place to grab a sandwich during lunch.

  • LuvDusty

    OT: At around 8PM the other night I watched a Bum take a good long piss right against Office Depot with about 25 people in plain view.

    I guess the Starbucks, Wendy’s and COSI were all closed huh?

    What’s amazing to me is that not 5 years ago it was impossible to just get a cone of ice cream (or froyo, or gelato) without going to whole foods to get a pint and some cones and do it yourself.

    @Harry: That is incorrect. 5 years ago there was not only a delicious Lazy Sundae homemade ice cream shop on Wilson (where they built the extension to Mexicali Blues instead–same owners). And there was also a Ben and Jerry’s on the 2nd level of the Market Commons right above the Jos A. Banks clothing store.

    • Harry

      If you had bothered to read to the end of my post you would have seen me reference Lazy Sundae, a place that most definitely moved at least 5 years ago. As for B&J, I guess they only closed about 3 years ago. Still, it’s amazing to see so many dessert places here now.

  • LuvDusty

    And yes, I’m one of those Clarendon folks who is addicted to ice cream and hence I seek it out.

    Boccato is the best gelato currently in my view.

  • North&South

    This is TERRIBLE news! As an office worker in Clarendon all I want is a quick, cheap, and GOOD sandwich place!

    • Why?

      Hear! Hear!! I’m always on the lookout for a decent place to get a breakfast sandwich or a simple turkey with provelone on sourdough. You can’t find one that’s any good. And please, don’t point me to Earl’s.

      • Clarendon

        I had IOTA’s breakfast sandwich and thought it was pretty good. And, they have French Press coffee.


        • OX4

          Agreed. People seem to completely ignore Iota and I don’t know why. They’ve been in place much longer than these silly chains. They make a killer cup of coffee, have great lunch and brunch, and live music. Unfortunately they don’t pull in the interesting shows like they used to, but the food is still amazing.

    • Pumped Out Freak on a Big Wheel

      you mean like the Big Belly Deli that this place is replacing?

      I’m so sick of yogurt on the mean streets of Clarendon that I’m actually thinking I’d prefer a homeless shelter in this spot.

    • karzai

      The Green Pig Bistro, under construction across the street from Clarendon 1021 condo – in the Zoso apt. building – is supposed to be mainly sandwhiches. A bit of a walk from the downtown Clarendon, but still very close.

      We need seafood, we need a good Pan Asian place like Raku, we need a French restaurant, we need an independent clothes boutique, we need an art store/gallery – I agree with everything that’s been said.
      But at least I dont have to hear any more about Mr. Stewart almost/about to/just about ready to/strongly leaning to/ reopening Dr. Dremo.

  • Why?

    I just don’t get it … don’t we have enough designer ice cream shops?? Come on! We need something to eat BEFORE dessert.

    • Harry

      I must have misread that, because it almost sounds like you’re implying that Clarendon has some sort of restaurant shortage.

  • nota gain

    Clarendon needs a corn dog place. Wonderful food and then, gelato and french press. WOW!

  • MC

    Gellato is not ordinary ice cream (too rich and heavy) and is not frozen yogurt either. I like options, but Clarendon is saturated. Would have been a better choice in Court House or Ballston.

    • Andy

      No, that is not suitable for Ballston. Ballston is only for soul-less high-rise office and apartment buildings that include unoccupied ground-floor retail space that nobody can afford to lease. And a really bad mall.

      • JamesE

        herp derp

  • nyg20

    I’d love a good deli and/or a Dunkin Donuts!

    OBTW…did anyone see the three Snow Monkeys outside Orvis yesterday morning, 9ish?

  • cesjr

    Clarendon is just too snotty with all of these high quality choices. What I would really like is a big McD’s, or Burger King with a huge parking lot and drive through. That and more 99 cent sub shops that use artificial “meat”, maybe a couple more pawn shops, etc. Low quality sandwich shops are good too (as long as it’s cheap). That would be more appropriate for our neighborhood.

    Now that I think about it, it’s terrible that all of the “mom and pop” used car lots are disappearing. I mean where am I going to buy a repainted import that has had the mileage turned back now?

    In fact, if all we are going to get are these high end choices, I’d rather we just have a lot of empty store fronts. A desolate wasteland along Wilson and Clarendon would be much much better than acquiring a “yuppie” reputation. That’s like a fate worse than death.

    Another thing, I’m basically opposed to the market deciding these things. If the market says more bakeries, cafes, dessert options, then what does the market know? A few folks posting on the internets know far better what people want to buy.

    I also don’t see the value of competition. I mean we have one gelato place, let them have no competition so they can raise their prices and get lazy with the quality. Same with the cupcakes. I don’t think $5 a cupcake is enough, and if we have only one store maybe it can raise it’s price to $7 a cupcake and the lines will be longer and the staff more surly.

    • CW

      I see what you did there…

  • Glenn

    thank god cesjr posted a comment that makes sense. If you don’t like whats happening in Clarendon, then move or get a job somewhere else. May I suggest DC SE or SW, or better yet PG county.

    • Harry

      It’s true, whenever I complain to my friends from out of town about how mall-ish and slightly suburban Market Commons is, they’re always quick to remind me that it could be much, much worse.

      • Clarendon

        It’s good to have high standards. But, it’s also good to have perspective. If one can’t name a specific place you would rather live and enumerate what it is about it you like better, then your probably in a decent spot for you.

      • karzai

        Market Commons is a fabulous development, with the soothing running water, soft music, gazebo, etc. And it allows us to actually shop, rather than be inundated with food or drink options. It has an Apple Store, fer chrissake. We could have done a tremendous amount worse than Market Commons.

        The people on this message board who are complaining the loudest about Clarendon are also the least likely to move, in my humble opinion. There’s nowhere that’s better…

  • karzai

    I also noted on a walk today that the bigger (former PNC bank) site in that same building is covered over as if construction is going on inside, but there’s no building permit or signs as to whether something is coming there. The “for lease” sign on that site has been removed, however – a further indication that the space has been leased.

    I furthermore saw three men inside the vacant former Wine Cellar site near Crumbs bakery… Don’t know what they were doing and I did not see any construction going on, but there were people doing something in there. Also, there is no “for lease” sign on that storefront either….

  • TheOnlyBeliever

    Those of you that claim this gelato shop, let’s keep in mind it’s not just another ice cream shop, is just another “saturating” addition to clarendon, go to their web-site and read about their products. Also, if you want to see something different in the area act on it, don’t just talk about it. I happen to have looked into the company and I think it will do very well.


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