Arlington, VA

On a hot summer day, gelato shop Amore Congelato in Pentagon City wants locals to celebrate the things to be thankful for: like express lanes.

The deal is part of a sponsorship by Transurban, the Australia-based company that operates the 495/95/395 high-occupancy toll lanes.

“Amore Congelato in Pentagon City today launched a half-price promotion for customers who share their love of the Express Lanes,” Transurban said in a press release. “Visitors to Amore Congelato will receive 50 percent off the standard price of any purchase when they say ‘I love the Express Lanes’ at checkout.”

The idea of the partnership is to support local businesses and boost whatever support for toll roads gelato-hungry customers can muster. Like an E-Z Pass, the gelato fund is stocked with a set amount of funds and the promotion will end when those funds expire.

“Transurban provided Amore Congelato with a sponsorship to apply to customer balances to support a loved local business during these difficult times and make it easier for Northern Virginians to get relief from the summer heat,” Transurban said.  “Discounts will apply until Express Lanes’ fans have exhausted the funds. Discounts will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, so we suggest you hurry on over.”

Amore Congelato is located at 1201 S. Joyce St. in Pentagon City and is open:

  • Monday to Wednesday from 4-7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday from 4-8 p.m.
  • Friday from 4-9 p.m.
  • Saturday from 12:30-9 p.m.
  • Sunday from 12:30-8 p.m.

The gelato shop is also on our list of Black-owned businesses in Arlington. Owner Thereasa Black, a Navy veteran, opened the shop last year after a 13-month deployment “as a promise to her daughter that she’d never deploy away from her again.”

Photo via VDOT

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An all-natural gelato shop is coming to Pentagon Row next month.

Health-oriented gelateria Amore Congelato features gelato sweetened with agave nectar and natural ingredients. It is scheduled to have its grand opening at 1201 S. Joyce Street on December 21, according to its website.

Amore Congelato’s slogan is “slim ingredients, fat tastes.”

Before launching the company, owner Thereasa Black served in the Navy. Devastated from having to be away from her three-year-old daughter during a 13-month deployment, Black came up with Amore Congelato as a way to never have to leave her again.

“Right before I left, I threw her a birthday party where I made her an ice cream cookie cake, and she fell in love with ice cream,” Black said. “I was like, we can’t have that be an everyday thing, so I came up with a healthy version as a compromise.”

Black served her gelato at area farmers markets and wineries. After receiving positive feedback from customers, she decided to invest in a storefront.

Some of Black’s favorite flavors include Peach Cobbler and Beet it Berry Sorbet. Her “We Woke” flavor, featuring chocolate and espresso, is named in line with the company’s mission to “stay woke” and advocate against social injustice.

The grand opening celebration on December 21 will feature free gelato and Belgium waffles. Pints are currently available to order on the store’s website.

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Paciugo Gelato and Caffè is opening in Clarendon this afternoon.

The eatery is expected to open for business at or just after 4:00 p.m. This week Paciugo (pronounced “Pah-Choo-Go,” per a sign on the wall) will be serving gelato, cakes and other desserts, coffee and espresso drinks. Next week, the store plans to introduce breakfast and lunch items, including sandwiches.

The company says their sometimes eclectic gelato flavors (from standards like sea salt caramel or stracciatella to the interesting — but currently unavailable — organic maple caramelized bacon or black pepper olive oil) are made on-site daily. Paciguo is a Texas-based chain, but the owner of the Clarendon store lives in Northern Virginia, we’re told.

The smallest gelato cup or cone starts at $3.99 and can hold up to three flavors. Paciugo is located at 3033 Wilson Boulevard in the former Cafe Wilson/Big Belly Deli space.

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Yet another dessert option is coming to Clarendon.

Interior construction is underway for the first D.C.-area location of Paciugo Gelato and Caffè, a Texas-based gelato and coffee chain. The store will be located at 3033 Wilson Boulevard in the former Cafe Wilson/Big Belly Deli space.

Paciugo will be one of at least nine dedicated dessert options in the Clarendon area. Others include Boccato Gelato, Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Pinkberry, Red Mango, Crumbs, Red Velvet, Bakeshop, and the new LeoNora Bakery.

No word yet on when Paciugo plans to open.

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