Empanada eatery Peruvian Brothers is set to return to Arlington this summer.
The fast-casual Peruvian restaurant owned by two brothers is planning to open in the first phase of Amazon’s HQ2 sometime in the summer, co-owner Giuseppe Lanzone told ARLnow. That timeline appears to follow Amazon’s schedule for opening its gleaming new office complex at 1400 S. Eads Street.
The new 2,000-square-foot restaurant on the first floor of the new building will have a full menu and a cocktail bar, serving pisco sours, among other drinks. This marks a return to the neighborhood for Peruvian Brothers, which previously occupied a stand at the Crystal City Water Park before the park underwent renovations.
Last July, it was announced that the restaurant was one of several moving into HQ2. The recently-announced delay for the second phase of the headquarters didn’t impact Peruvian Brothers since it’s moving into the almost-completed first phase.
“We are very much looking forward to going back into the National Landing area because the last they know we only had a small stand selling empanadas and some drinks,” Lanzone said. “Now, we are bringing our whole menu and a whole new bar concept. We hope all the neighbors… come enjoy a drink, a bite of food, and hang out.”
Giuseppe and fellow co-owner Mario Lanzone are originally from Peru and moved with their family to McLean in 1997. Prior to becoming a restaurateur, Giuseppe was a two-time Olympic rower for Team USA.
It was a decade ago when the Lanzone brothers first began their Alexandria-based food truck and catering business. Lanzone said they are celebrating its ten-year anniversary this week.
In February 2020, the brothers opened their first brick-and-mortar spot in La Cosecha, a Latin American market in D.C. Then, the pandemic hit and shut down the newly-opened location.
Thankfully, Lanzone lived in Crystal City and often jogged by the then-unoccupied stand in the privately-owned water park. The brothers struck a deal with park owner JBG Smith to serve a limited menu of empanadas and a few drinks out of the small space.
They were there for about two years before closing, but it led to an even bigger opportunity with the brothers moving into the largest restaurant space they’ve ever occupied.
The new restaurant will feature a similar menu as its La Cosecha location, which includes sandwiches, rotisserie chicken, and ceviche along with empanadas, but with at least one new addition.
“One of the things that were very popular with my brother and I growing up in La Punta on the coast of Peru were croquetas y pulpos, Peruvian croquettes,” Lanzone said. “It’s like an octopus burger, so to speak, which is absolutely delicious.”
The space will be designed with art and murals influenced and done by fellow Peruvians, he said.
Lanzone admits it’s been a bit of a challenge to build out the expansive space, from the back of the kitchen all the way to the front doors, but the reward is that they get to show off their shared heritage and culture to all who come by.
“We are very much looking forward [to bringing]…a little bit of a taste of where my brother Mario and I grew up… and where we come from,” Lanzone said. “From day one, teaching and sharing our Peruvian culture to everybody else that hasn’t been there yet. And, hopefully, one day will get to go there.”
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