Locals can now buy handmade pasta and sauces from a vending machine outside the future home of Stellina Pizzeria, a soon-to-open Italian restaurant and market in Shirlington.
The machine delivers food in a pandemic-friendly way and helps preview the opening of the restaurant in the former Cafe Pizzaiolo space at 2800 S. Randolph Street, co-owner Antonio Matarazzo said.
The second outpost of the Michelin-recognized pizzeria in D.C.’s Union Market was set to open at the end of 2020, but the holiday season delayed equipment and furniture shipments. It’s now slated to open “in a couple of weeks,” Matarazzo said.
Matarazzo and Chef Matteo Venini, both Italian transplants, got the idea for the vending machine in March. The pandemic had just hit the East Coast, and they were trying to find ways to deliver food to their guests.
“We did not want to just tape up a hole, but do something that could be good for the future,” Matarazzo said.
While vending machines in the U.S. just offer snacks and bottled drinks, Matarazzo said he has seen Prosecco vending machines in Europe and in Japan, “you can buy everything you want in a vending machine there,”
Granted, he said he has “never seen a pasta vending machine before.”
Like the restaurant, the vending machine was also delayed. It arrived from California — where it was custom-made — a few weeks ago, and six months late.
“It’s a tough time for everybody,” he said. “You have to be more patient these days.”
The machine will stay in Arlington until the end of spring. Then, it will move to 508 K Street NW to preview Stellina’s second location in D.C. Its flagship location opened in April 2019 at 399 Morse Street NE.
Right now, the machine has three kinds of pasta, sauces, dessert, merchandise and coffee.
Matarazzo recommends pairing the paccheri — a large, smooth tube-shaped pasta — with a bolognese sauce; the fusilli goes with ragus made with lamb and wild boar; and the tonnarelli pairs with a cacio e pepe sauce, literally, “cheese and pepper” sauce.
“That is a typical sauce from Rome, and a perfect dish for today’s weather,” Matarazzo said, referencing the recent snowfall.
For dessert, people can choose babà al rum, a 400-year-old dessert from France via Naples, or tiramisu. The coffee comes from Ready Set! Coffee Roasters, a Cleveland-based roaster run by some friends.
“This is just the start,” he said. “We’ll see what else we can put in there.”
After the pandemic, Matarazzo plans on installing 10 more in select office buildings.
He keeps tabs on the products through his phone, and said it seems like he has to restock the pasta and sauces “every two minutes.”
“People are excited about it,” he said.
Update at 10:20 a.m. — Stellina is planning to open on Friday, Feb. 12, the restaurant just announced.
Photos courtesy Rey Lopez
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In loving memory of William Dinwiddie Tucker, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 95.
St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.
Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.
We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.
For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.
If you are a lifelong learner over 50+ who wants to make new friends, power up your brain, and enjoy a wide-variety college-level courses, Encore Learning is for you. An Arlington based nonprofit, Encore Learning offers courses in the arts, theater, literature, history, technology and more. This semester we offer our most popular course, Global Hot Spots as well as 25 new courses. Courses are presented either online or in-person at George Mason University at Virginia Square and other Arlington locations.
Join the free presentation to learn about courses and meet the instructors. This is Encore Learning’s signature event to highlight the upcoming semester with brief presentations by each instructor.
The Spring Course Preview event is Thursday, February 2nd at 9:30 AM via Zoom:
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