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NEW: “Old School” Italian restaurant and wine bar coming to Ballston area

The former Next Day Blinds will soon be serving caprese and wine.

The vacant storefront at 3865 Wilson Boulevard, across the from Gold’s Gym in the Ballston area, is becoming “Carbonara: Old School Italian & Wine Bar,” a 150-seat restaurant with 4,800 square feet of indoor and outdoor space.

The eatery — technically in Virginia Square — is currently expected to open next July.

Standout menu items included in a press release are a veritable tour of Italy: Carpaccio, Eggplant Parmigiana Stack, Tortellini Di Michael, Linguini Cardinale, Chicken Cacciatore, Vitello Alla Marsala, Cioppino, and Stuffed Cannoli.

The restaurant comes from a recognizable local name: Chef Mike Cordero.

Cordero owns and operates Bronson Bier Hall, Barley Mac, Bronx Pizza, Don Tito, and Taco Rock in Arlington, as well as other Northern Virginia establishments like Don Taco in Alexandria.

“I’m ecstatic to relive my early years of training as an Italian chef with Carbonara and work with my sons on this project,” said Cordero. “My new concept will offer delicious old school Italian cuisine with a twist where nothing is store bought and everything is made from scratch. Cooking fresh Italian food is in the Cordero blood.”

More from a press release, below.

Chef Mike Cordero is going back to where it all started for him. The Northern Virginia Restauranteur announced today that his Cordero Hospitality restaurant group, which include his sons Nick Cordero and Anthony Cordero, will open Carbonara: Old School Italian & Wine Bar in Ballston. Set to deliver in July 2023, the 4,800-square-foot indoor and outdoor restaurant will take over the corner retail space in the Ballston Gateway building at 3865 Wilson Boulevard, which formerly housed Next Day Blinds, and is located on the corner of Wilson Boulevard and North Pollard Streets. Cordero, represented by Chris Saa with Divaris Real Estate, Inc., signed a 20-year lease with landlord Cushman & Wakefield. Designer Yvette Irene will develop the interior design and Carlos Construction will conduct the buildout. Cordero will serve as executive chef.

Carbonara will offer a substantial menu featuring old-world Italian cuisine, focusing on the southern region of Italy, with all food made in-house and fresh homemade pasta prepared daily. Hearty Sicilian pizzas, classic Italian baked dishes like Eggplant Rollatini Parmigiana, zesty Italian sandwiches, decadent tiramisus and savory chicken, veal and seafood dishes top the bill- of-fare. A wide selection of wines from all regions of Italy, featuring a flavorful varietal from Tuscany, will nicely pair with each menu item. To better dispense and preserve each bottle, Carbonara will showcase a state-of-the-art cruvinet system, used widely by international sommeliers, that will extend the flavor and life of the vino served. A collection of specialty aperitivos and craft Italian cordials will adorn the Carbonara cocktail menu and include bellinis, puccinis, negronis and spritzes. […]

Plans for the new Carbona: Old School Italian & Wine Bar include a 150-seat eatery that includes a variety of components for indoor and outdoor dining. The existing structure of the Ballston Gateway building offers an ornate rotunda extension, which wraps the front entrance of the restaurant and connects to the West and South sides. For dining alfresco, Carbonara will accommodate up to 30 guests on the patio with six outdoor tables and two Alfresco Bars with six stools nestled up to the interior bar punctuated by Nano walls. When guests enter, they are greeted by a massive bar area with more than 24 barstools and a generous restaurant floorplan filled with circular booths, two- to four-person tables and large banquets aligning two walls. The mood of Carbonara will exhibit a rustic Italian restaurant with décor that will showcase the Cordero family story with exceptional streetscape views on all sides of the restaurant. On certain nights, live entertainers will perform traditional Italian music.

Cordero, known in restaurant circles with Taco Rock, Rockwood and Bronson Bier Hall, began his culinary career at the age of 15 making meatballs at a New York Italian restaurant. His Carbonara concept allows him to reexplore his culinary past and present Italian recipes that he’s created over the years. He describes the new establishment as “old-era Italian” that will offer a classic, film noir experience like a scene out of “The Godfather.”

“I’m ecstatic to relive my early years of training as an Italian chef with Carbonara and work with my sons on this project,” said Cordero. “My new concept will offer delicious old school Italian cuisine with a twist where nothing is store bought and everything is made from scratch. Cooking fresh Italian food is in the Cordero blood,” he added.

Carbonara will be open daily for lunch and dinner and offers takeout and buyout options for private events. Website and social media platforms have not yet been established for the restaurant.

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