Arlington, VA

The kitchen of Palette 22 (4053 Campbell Avenue) in Shirlington is working double-duty as an outpost for Mia’s Italian Kitchen, which has a dine-in location in Old Town Alexandria.

Alexandria Restaurant Partners, which owns Mia’s and Palette 22, announced on Monday that those in and around Shirlington can now get pizza, giant meatballs and classic dishes delivered via UberEats and GrubHub from Mia’s “ghost” location, in the kitchen of Palette 22.

“We’ve had tremendous success with Mia’s to-go in Old Town, and thought, ‘This has legs,'” said Dave Nicholas, a founding partner of ARP. “So we decided to help people in Arlington who can’t reach us all the way in Old Town.”

The expansion of Mia’s, which also has a dine-in location in Orlando, follows a nationwide trend.

These delivery-only spaces with no dine-in options began sprouting up as food delivery businesses such as UberEats and GrubHub took hold in the economy, but really took off during the pandemic. The coronavirus accelerated their growth as more Americans use delivery, RestaurantDive reports.

In addition to operating from the back of bricks-and-mortar restaurants, ghost kitchens also can operate from mobile trailers, like the one that currently set up in a Clarendon parking lot.

Nicholas defines a ghost kitchen as one where customers do not know where the food is made, but they recognize the brand. ARP had mulled over the idea for years, but the pandemic and government-imposed restrictions sped up its development.

ARP operated its first ghost kitchen around Easter, when 150 full-family meals were made in Mia’s Old Town Kitchen for another ARP restaurant, The Majestic, while it was still closed.

The company opened a second ghost kitchen in Alexandria, Touchdown Wings & Burgers, in the kitchen of Theismann’s Restaurant and Bar.

“We’re a couple of weeks into it, and the response is awesome and sales are growing every week,” Nicholas said. “We’re not even doing pick-up: It is a true ghost kitchen.”

He predicts ghost kitchens will be a long-term necessity for the industry, and could help restaurants make up for lost time and money when dine-in returns to full capacity.

“People believe in our brands and know what we do, so it doesn’t matter where the delivery driver picks it up from or if you pick it up,” Nicholas said.

Delivery-only menu items offered by Mia’s include:

  • Giant meatball ($14)
  • Chicken Parmigiana ($19)
  • Roasted Mushroom Lasagna ($19)
  • Rigatoni à la Bolognese ($20)
  • Bucatini Cacio e Pepe ($18)
  • Five different pizzas, including Margherita, pepperoni, and sausage and peppers ($7.5-$8)

Hours of operation are:

  • Monday and Tuesday: 12-9 p.m.
  • Wednesday to Friday: 12-10 p.m.
  • Saturday: 3-10 p.m.
  • Sunday: 3-9 p.m.

Photos via Mia’s Italian Kitchen

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