The Italian Store opened its new Westover Village location to large crowds of hungry fans Monday.
The store, at 5837 Washington Blvd, represents an expansion for the company in more ways than one. At 6,000 square feet, the new store is more than twice the size of the original, beloved Italian Store in Lyon Village.
The Westover location features an espresso coffee bar, a gelato station, a sandwich counter, a pizza station and retail shelves of wine, pasta and sauce. There’s also a small private dining room in the back, an outdoor cafe area and a dedicated customer parking lot. Owner Robert Tramonte termed it an “Italian Store on steroids.”
Customers at the store Monday evening seemed unperturbed by the long lines and upbeat about the opening.
“We’re really excited about it,” said Amy Penchuk, who walked 10 minutes from her home to visit the new store. “I grew up in New York so I was used to getting great Italian food, and this makes me feel at home. It’s about as good as it gets around here.”
Tramonte enlisted his entire family to try to serve customers as quickly as possible.
His sons, Michael, Vincent and Joseph, were all working alongside him Monday night. Also working: Tramonte’s wife, Laura, who was celebrating her birthday.
Michael, a newly-minted college grad who’s managing the front of the store, said that despite continued delays and challenges, his dad was determined to open on his mom’s birthday.
“It’s her birthday present,” the elder Tramonte said, with a smile, when asked about the date. In the end, it paid off: Tramonte said the first day of business exceeded even his optimistic expectations.