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Cheesetique in Shirlington will become a new Italian restaurant next month

Cheesetique in Shirlington is set to reinvent itself as an Italian-inspired restaurant and market.

Situated at 4024 Campbell Avenue, the wine and cheese bar’s official last day will be next Wednesday, Nov. 22, according to the company’s Instagram page.

The new restaurant, Corso Italian, is scheduled to start serving dinner in early December, per a press release. Despite the name change, the venue will remain under the stewardship of Cheesetique’s current owner, Jill Erber. Prominent local chef Cathal Armstrong, who is behind Mattie and Eddie’s in Pentagon City, will oversee the restaurant’s menu.

“Italian food is broadly appealing and incredibly diverse, and The Village at Shirlington is the perfect location for Corso Italian,” Erber said in a press release.

“The Shirlington crowd is worldly and hip but unpretentious. They want to eat out multiple times a week,” Erber added. “On Monday, it’s a glass of Barolo and a seasonal, house-made pasta. Over the weekend, they want to celebrate with a Negroni, plate-filling bone-in veal parmesan, indulgent cannoli cheesecake, and after-dinner Amaro.”

The Shirlington location of Cheesetique, which first opened its doors in 2011 at 4056 Campbell Avenue before relocating down the street, is the only branch undergoing the transformation. The original Cheesetique in Del Ray, which opened in 2004, will remain unchanged.

Armstrong — who also was the owner and chef of Restaurant Eve, a fine-dining spot in Old Town Alexandria that closed in 2015 — will oversee the culinary direction of Corso Italian. He met Erber more than two decades ago.

The duo say they started the restaurant because of their shared history and passion for Italian specialty cheeses, per the release.

Corso Italian’s menu includes a range of Italian-American classics, such as chicken Vesuvio with red chili and sage, and carbonara with handmade pasta and housemade guanciale.

Having started his culinary career in an Italian kitchen in Dublin, Armstrong said the experience of crafting new Italian dishes “feels like coming home.”

“The canvas we have here is incredibly inspiring. I love waking up in the middle of the night needing to write down menu ideas,” he said.

In addition to an all-Italian wine list, the restaurant will offer a cocktail menu with negronis, spritzes and a bar dedicated to bitter Italian aperitifs and digestifs known as amaro. A gourmet retail market at the front of the restaurant will sell fresh pastas and sauces as well as Italian cheeses, salumi and wine.

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