(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) Pizza Vinoteca, the latest restaurant flocking to Ballston, is planning to open next Thursday, Dec. 11.
The restaurant, at 800 N. Glebe Road, is still waiting for its liquor license — it expects it to arrive early next week — but CEO Ari Malcolm of the New York-based business was able to give ARLnow.com a tour of Pizza Vinoteca’s second location.
“The concept is trying to elevate fast-casual,” he said. “We’re first and foremost a dine-in restaurant, but it’s pizza — we want people be relaxed and have fun here.”
The pizzas are grilled, Providence, Rhode Island-style, made for one and cost between $10 and $14.50. There are 36 wines, all available by the glass and mostly on tap in their custom-designed system, which uses argon gas to keep wines fresh. All of the glasses cost $10 or less and are available in half-glasses. There will also be seven craft beers available and house cocktails, include a frozen vodka, prosecco and lemon sorbet creation.
Pizza Vinoteca will also deliver and offers takeout.
Malcolm got his start working his way up from server to the business side of the restaurant industry, and the native New Yorker said he takes his restaurant “very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.” He said his favorite item on the menu is the jowlciale pizza, which is a smoked, cured pork cheek from a Virginia farm accompanied by spicy chili pesto, fontina cheese, pistachio and honey.
“Composed thought goes into all our pizza,” he said. “I wanted to hate our Hawaiian pizza because I think canned pineapple and ham. But ours has fresh pineapple, prosciutto and peppers. It’s unfortunately really tasty.”
The pizzas are made on a grill that Malcolm helped design, which uses three kinds of heat, including infrared, to grill the whole wheat flatbread pizzas in less than three minutes. The grill can get as hot as 800 degrees when fully cooking, Malcolm said.
When the restaurant opens next week, Malcolm said he’s confident it will find its niche despite competition nearby from Pupatella, Rustico and Il Forno.
“Our product is so different from what the people in this neighborhood are doing,” he said. “We like the competition, because it just means more people are coming to Ballston to eat.”
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