(Updated, 11/16) Long-time local restaurant Pines of Florence — and its owner — are each making an unlikely comeback.
The Southern Italian eatery will once again be cooking, this time in Arlington’s Cherrydale neighborhood, after stints in Virginia Square, Columbia Pike, and Old Town Alexandria, owner Jimmy Khan confirms to ARLnow. It’s coming to 2109 N. Pollard Street, the space formerly occupied by the recently-closed Portabellos restaurant, in a one-story shopping strip just off of Langston Blvd.
The plan is to have a “soft opening” this Saturday, Nov. 20, says Khan, where customers can bring their own beer and wine (there will be a service fee). Khan expects to have their liquor license in about two weeks and will have a “grand opening” then.
The opening comes a year and a half after Khan suffered through a protracted and nearly fatal battle with COVID-19.
“I had a 6% chance of living,” he tells ARLnow. “I was on a ventilator for 40 days. The doctors say it was a miracle I lived.”
During that time and his recovery, he took a long look at his life and decided he needed to do more for his family. That’s why he decided to reopen Pines of Florence.
“God gave me another life, so I wanted to do something for my kids, the next generation,” says Khan.
Pines of Florence’s last location was on King Street in Alexandria in a building that was set for redevelopment. While that was a big reason the restaurant shuttered in June 2020, the closing was also related to Khan’s own battle with COVID and his co-owner (and uncle) retiring.
After some time away, Khan is ready for a restart.
“Being a restaurant owner is in my genes,” he said. “I quit for a while, but I’m re-energized.”
Khan says the plan is to open even more restaurants in the coming years.
The new Pines of Florence will, like the previous iterations, serve pizza, sandwiches, and homemade pasta dishes, as well as beer and wine. It will replace Portabellos: An American Cafe, which closed just this past September, after 15 years serving the Cherrydale and Maywood communities.
Khan says he stands by his June 2020 words about wanting to do more for his community, including creating jobs and helping those less fortunate, particularly after his near-death experience.
“[This restaurant] is going to be meaningful for my family and the community,” he says. “I want to help.”
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