Paciugo Gelato and Caffè Opening Today in Clarendon

by ARLnow.com March 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm 8,276 58 Comments

Paciugo Gelato and Caffè is opening in Clarendon this afternoon.

The eatery is expected to open for business at or just after 4:00 p.m. This week Paciugo (pronounced “Pah-Choo-Go,” per a sign on the wall) will be serving gelato, cakes and other desserts, coffee and espresso drinks. Next week, the store plans to introduce breakfast and lunch items, including sandwiches.

The company says their sometimes eclectic gelato flavors (from standards like sea salt caramel or stracciatella to the interesting — but currently unavailable — organic maple caramelized bacon or black pepper olive oil) are made on-site daily. Paciguo is a Texas-based chain, but the owner of the Clarendon store lives in Northern Virginia, we’re told.

The smallest gelato cup or cone starts at $3.99 and can hold up to three flavors. Paciugo is located at 3033 Wilson Boulevard in the former Cafe Wilson/Big Belly Deli space.

  • drax

    Friggin’ $4 for a tiny scoop of weird ice cream from a “Caffe’. ” Damn I miss Lazy Sundae.

    • Tom Smart

      I couldn’t agree with you more. By the way, did you ever try that ice cream place next to the BGR place? It’s the worse GDF ice cream I’ve ever had. My wife, daughter and I trashed ours after taking a couple of bites of what we bought. Just like throwing cash in the trash can. And the guy that runs the place has no sense of decorum in front of kids with his adult humor.

      • CW

        I don’t know what “GDF” stands for, but if it’s what I’m thinking, then I agree 100%, because going there made me want to string expletives together as well.

        Worst ice cream ever, and the owner is a jerk too.

        • Rachel

          I disagree, owner was very nice to me and my boyfriend and the ice cream is great, the taste. The price is what it is because it is Clarendon. I guess if you want Burke/Springfield/Manassas prices, ya might have to move back!

          • Stitch_Jones

            Nice ad hominem attack. I can see why you are not bothered by jerks…

            As if Burke or Srpingfield or Manassas are somehow inferior. Coming off pretty snotty.

          • drax

            All she said was their prices are lower, which is probably true.

          • Rachel

            We have a different opinion and you are from those parts of virginia, so I live in Rosslyn in case you get tired of typing. River Place Building.

          • CW

            Also, if you look at both my comment and Tom Smart’s, with which I agree, you’ll see that none of the comments directed towards the establishment in question (which start at “by the way”) actually say the prices are high. What he says is that it tastes bad, and thus purchasing it is like throwing cash away.

            I guess if you want 6th/7th/8th grade level reading comprehension, ya might have to go back!

          • Brendan

            That’s not true. It’s exactly the same for Gelato as it is anywhere else.

      • Arlingtoon

        Where is this place (so I can avoid it)?

  • DarkHeart

    Did Big Belly ever resurface? That was some good eatin’.

    • Harry

      Good and cheap, something increasingly hard to find in Clarendon around lunch.

  • Mike

    Because it’s Clarendon, which has nearly completed it’s full transformation into an annex of insufferable Georgetown, this place will make zillions of dollars in the summer.

    • GTown Grad Biff

      Oh c’mon… the sidewalks in Clarendon are way wider than in GTown. Wish there was a Pizzeria Paradiso in Clarendon though.

      • sue

        The houses and side streets aren’t nearly as charming and pretty either.

        • John

          I think Lyon Village is very charming and attractive. It’s no Georgetown or Old Town, but for early 20th century houses, that neighborhood can’t be beat. But if the tear downs continue unabated then it will lose its charm.

          • Sue

            Umm…no. Over 50% of the homes have been mowed down or added onto in a significant manner. The mixed media crap, etc. you don’t have faux stone, chain link fences and aluminum siding in g-town.

  • Really

    Good. I was looking for a place to get some sort of dessert in Clarendon. Besides the other 15 places.

    • Brendan

      15? Really? I count less than 5.

      • Bandersnatch

        OK, off the top of my head I got to 13

        Red Velvet
        Bake Shop
        Sweet Fleet
        Buzz Bakery
        Red Mango
        Northside Social
        Bayou Bakery
        Artisan Confections
        Cheesecake Factory

        • Bandersnatch

          And now I shall contemplate my 9500 calorie dessert crawl… mmmmm

        • drax

          + Le Pain Quotidien
          + Goody’s
          – Buzz Bakery (that’s in Ballston)

        • CW

          Whole foods and Trader Joe’s…”some sort of dessert” is the requirement so they fit…now you’ve got your 15!!!

          • Bandersnatch

            Ok, knock Clarendon all you want, but that is one heck of a selection of dessert!

            Now give me back my walkable hardware store and some decent sushi and I’ll never have to drive again.

        • mmmmCake


          • dk

            Crumbs sucks.

            (Crumbs suck?)

  • Clarendon

    The spoon chandelier is kind of cool. I just don’t see the need for another Gelato place a few blocks from what I think is a good Gelato place (Boccato).

    • R. Griffon

      Exactly. Boccato has ’em all beat in my book. Then Red Mango and Pinkberry tied for 2nd, with Larry’s a VERY distant 3rd (at which point I’d honestly rather just pick up something from TJ’s or WF frozen section).

      Oooh – unless we can count the Sinplicity truck that comes around in the summer. Anyone ever try that thing? Un-friggin-believable!

  • karzai

    At least this is a real business with real hours that operates by a set of rules. Sam’s Corner, on the other hand, seems to feel it appropriate to operate a business that’s never open. The owner of that building needs to politely tell Sam’s Corner that it should takes its business elsewhere.

    • Harry

      Sam’s Corner has been here for as long as I can remember. I think at this point it’s not so much a store as it is an artifact of Clarendon in the “good ol’ days”

    • nom de guerre

      The owner/operator of Sam’s Corner also owns the building.

  • CW

    IF that red velvet cake actually tastes as good as it looks, and IF they actually make it in house, then that will be enough to earn my approval.

    Have not been to that place down the alley from Sam’s (do they only do bread or pastry too?), but since I’ve lived here, the best desserts in the area have been at Whole Foods, which is somewhat sad.

    • drax

      They do pastry too. Haven’t had it yet, but their bread was good.

      • R. Griffon

        You mean Leonora’s? If you haven’t tried it, you’re cheating yourself. Strongly suggest the croissant and the American Brioche (which is really just croissant scraps smushed into a close approximation of a muffin … but SOOOOO good!).

        Owner and staff are super nice to boot.

        • CW

          You sold me!

  • Eric

    I love Larry’s Home Made Ice Cream, plus it is owned by an Arlingtonian who is a small business owner. The music is always rocking in there too.

    If you people are really all about Small Business and anti-establishment – Corporations, pass on Paciugo and give Larry’s your business. The owner is cool as well, the staff too.

    • JB

      If you’re going to submit a plant, then at least put some effort into it to make it not sound like a plant…

      • JBalls

        Not every positive comment is a plant, JB.

    • Maria

      Just because it’s a small business doesn’t mean people have to like it.

  • sickofthesameolsameol

    Seriously, we don’t have enough frozen yogurt, gelato, cupcake places!

    When I lived in Berlin they had the coolest healthy eating grill—mixed up these fabulous bowls on this tiny street corner establishment—with fresh fish or chicken or tofu with veggies. It was the best damn thing ever and I lost about 10lbs the 6 months I lived there. Why is there nothing good, healthy and original in Clarendon?

    Hell–I’d even take a Donner Kebab stand with frites and spicy mayo!

    • Stitch_Jones

      Well then start your own German stir fry stand. Complaining does not bring things into being.

    • Car-Free Diet

      Whaa wha wha wha WHAAAAA!!!

    • replytothat

      I’d love a healthy eating grill, that sounds perfect

  • Arlanon

    Awesome addition! This looks very authentic Italian.

    • D’oh

      It lokos it, but does it taste like it?

      • D’oh


  • nunya

    That stuff looks yummy. I do like their gelato.

  • Brendan

    I’ve been to the location down in St. Pete. This place is downright delicious. I will now be fat.

  • replytothat

    sparkling gelatto smoothie — that sounds so good!

    • drax

      I’m guessing $8 minimum for this glorified milkshake.

  • John

    No one’s mentioned the Sweet Shop in the lee shopping center. That was Clarendon’s best ice cream shop for decades. And the guy behind the counter wore a pinstripe uniform. The place had an arcade in the back.

    Those days are gone, but I’ll never spend 4 bucks for gelato. I’d rather get cheaper frozen custard at Shake Shack or the Frozen Dairy Bar.

  • Roycroft

    Got a 4 combo bowl last night for $4 and some change. I shared it with my wife and we both had plenty. Excellent Gelato! I will be going back.

  • SomeGuy

    I hope they encourage hordes of their patrons to idle and effectively block passage on the sidewalk like the other gelato place does.

    • nom de guerre

      I will pass on your request.

  • Larchmont

    Great news! Our family will enjoy it!

  • paciugolover

    I lived in Dallas years ago when the stores first opened and their gelato is freaking awesome; lines were always out the door. Ice cream does not compare, and even Boccato, while very good, did not meet my expectations. It was Paciugo that prompted me to travel to Italy and enjoy the “real thing”, and as a long-time Paciugo lover, rest assured I will be indulging as often as I can. Happy Camper!

    • JBalls

      OK, JB, please copy and paste your above comment below this one. I will give you a pass here.

  • Jimbo

    Terrible service in there – was lectured for asking for change today by somebody that worked there. Asked if I was going to buy something, which was understandable then didn’t stop and asked if I have ever been in there, then I said you act like I am breaking the law, he said almost! For asking for change. Then he asked if I had ever been in there before – I said yes, he said when? Like I was supposed to give him a day and time. Correct me if I am wrong but I was leaving just as much change as I would have taken… I understand some businesses don’t want to make change, and that’s ok but just say that you don’t and don’t turn away a person who was ONCE a customer.


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