Arlington, VA

Patrons of the novelty pasta vending machine in Shirlington rejoice: the restaurant behind the dinner dispenser, Stellina Pizzeria and Market, opens this afternoon (Friday).

After some holiday-season delays set the opening back two months, the pizza shop in the Village at Shirlington will start serving customers at 4 p.m.

The Arlington eatery and market is an outpost of the Michelin-recognized pizzeria in D.C. and is located in the former Cafe Pizzaiolo space at 2800 S. Randolph Street. But those who venture to Union Market for Stellina pizzas — heralded by the Washington Post and Washingtonian — will find a few variations on the flagship restaurant.

“We want to bring the Stellina experience to our guests in the region, while also being mindful of their specific needs and preferences,” said restaurateur and co-owner Antonio Matarazzo. “Knowing the South Arlington community as a resident here with my family, I thought that a retail element for prepared foods and ingredients to cook at home would be a nice addition to our curbside pick-up, delivery, and outdoor dining offerings.”

For now, guests can only dine outside in the heated, 20-seat patio; once the indoor dining room opens, the restaurant will seat 75 inside. Starting today, customers can also shop Stellina’s market, stocked with Italian pantry goods, deli counter offerings and frozen lasagne and pizza.

The Shirlington menu focuses on Chef Matteo Venini’s signature “neo-Neapolitan” pizzas. Customers can order the traditional Margherita pizza, the celebrated Cacio e Pepe pizza, or pies with any seasonal toppings. The menu also offers other Southern Italian street food, paninis, homemade pasta, classic desserts and coffee.

Both Matarazzo and Venini are natives of Italy who worked together at a trio of upscale Italian restaurants in D.C. before striking out on their own.

The Shirlington outpost is their first location to have a deli counter that offers fresh pasta by-the-pound, homemade sauces, pizza dough, cured meats, cheeses, olives and desserts such as panna cotta and tiramisu. Decorative details inside Stellina include tiles from the Amalfi Coast and murals of beloved Italian actors by D.C. artists No Kings Collective.

Unlike its D.C. sibling, the Shirlington location will not have a bar, but diners can still imbibe a glass of red wine or a Negroni with dinner. Bottled cocktails will be served tableside and Italian wines and beers will also be available.

Those who prefer a vending machine’s convenience and lack of human interaction can frequent it until the end of spring. Then, it moves to 508 K Street NW to preview Stellina’s third location.

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