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Big Tony’s takes out Bronx Pizza, planning a debut in late summer

Bronx Pizza is becoming Big Tony’s in Clarendon (courtesy photo)

Big Tony has whacked Bronx Pizza.

As flagged by several tipsters, the Clarendon pizza shop recently shuttered with little warning after being open for more than a decade. In its place, window stickers went up advertising a new place called “Big Tony’s.”

It all had a bit of a nefarious feel to it, but it turns out that Big Tony is just keeping it in the family.

Bronx Pizza is getting a revamp and will debut as Big Tony’s potentially in August, co-owner Nick Cordero tells ARLnow.

The restaurant’s lease was up and, while ownership loved the location right near the Clarendon Metro, something of a spring cleaning was needed. So, they are going with what Cordero describes as a pizzeria and dive bar.

Big Tony’s will be somewhat similar to Bronx Pizza, in that it will have slices and a walk-up window, but it will also add to the menu with subs and sandwiches. Plus, there will be a full bar as opposed to just beer and wine.

The bar at Big Tony’s will be open until 2 a.m., with food available until 4 a.m.

“There are really no dive bars in Arlington,” Cordero said.

Asked how he would describe a dive bar, a subject of much debate locally, Cordero said he thinks of them as being small and comfortable with cheap drinks. Big Tony’s promises to be all of those things when it opens in late summer, he said.

Nick Cordero is the son of Chef Mike Cordero, owner of numerous other local restaurants and bars. Big Tony’s ownership includes Cordero Hospitality, veteran staff members Katherine Basile and Kristina Murphy, plus former NFL tight end and D.C. native Vernon Davis.

(Davis also has investments in other local food businesses, including Rosslyn-based Territory Foods and fast-casual Indian restaurant Rasa.)

While some locals may have been surprised by Bronx Pizza’s sudden disappearance, the change has been in the works for months. ARLnow had previously sought more information from Cordero in December, when a permit application listed Big Tony’s at the same address as Bronx Pizza.

In other Cordero restaurant news, the opening of Carbonara near Ballston has been pushed back a bit,Chef Cordero tells ARLnow.

The “old school” Italian restaurant and bar coming to 3865 Wilson Blvd was scheduled to open this summer, but Cordero said that obtaining permits and reconfiguring the space — previously a Next Day Blinds — has taken longer than expected, with the exhaust system posing a particular challenge.

The current hope is to open in October, we’re told.

Carbonara will serve all “scratch food,” Cordero said, with bread, mozzarella, and other items made in house.

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