Arlington, VA

Pupatella is looking to leave its original location in Bluemont and move elsewhere in Arlington.

The popular Neapolitan pizza restaurant said via social media that its landlord at 5104 Wilson Blvd is trying to raise the rent by 40%, despite the pandemic hurting its business and that of other restaurants.

The eatery — which recently opened a new location on S. Walter Reed Drive — asked its followers for suggestions of where to move. As of publication time, the Facebook post along has attracted more than 200 comments in a span of a few hours.

The restaurant’s owners tell ARLnow that they have been quietly searching for a new location since March, when their lease came up for renewal, and have not found anything yet. They “definitely want to stay” in North Arlington but are “getting very desperate and hoping that someone can help us,” wrote Anastasiya Algarme.

“I believe our landlord believes that because we have opened a new location, we must be very rich now and he wants to take advantage of that,” said Algarme. “A lot of times people that have not run restaurant businesses do not understand all the expenses involved, and they believe that if a restaurant that is busy, it must be swimming in cash. It is not true at all and the profit margins are low. Our landlord refuses to see our accounting books to understand.”

The landlord, who she did not name, might have reason to think Pupatella has some extra cash beyond the Bluemont location’s acclaim and success. In 2018 it was reported that the company had raised $3.75 million for a planned eight-location expansion. So far, only the South Arlington location has opened, though other locations are planned in the District and in Reston.

As for a potential new location, “our only requirements are some parking, and preferably a place that is a restaurant already to reduce our build out costs,” Algarme said.

“We definitely want to stay in Arlington and North Arlington specifically,” she added. “We’d be foolish to give up such a loyal following.”

Asked whether the social media post was, effectively, a negotiation ploy, Algarme insisted it was not.

“We doubt the landlord will see it,” she said. “He is 90 years old and says he does not use Facebook. Our lease was typed on a typewriter.”

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The new Wiseguy Pizza location in Pentagon City is set to begin its soft opening today.

The latest outpost for the acclaimed local New York-style pizza chain is on the ground floor of the Witmer, a new 26-story luxury apartment building at the corner of 12th Street S. and S. Hayes Street. It’s the second Wiseguy Pizza in Arlington; the first is in Rosslyn.

Owner Nuri Erol says the eatery “did a test opening last week for a few days” but would begin its soft opening week today (Tuesday). It will be open from noon-8:30 p.m., he said.

Wiseguy recently started offering online ordering and curbside pickup. While opening during a pandemic might not be ideal, the pizzeria’s long-term prospects look promising, given the 25,000 Amazon employees that will eventually be working two blocks away.

Hat tip to @CartChaos22202. Photo courtesy Nuri Erol.

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The future of Cafe Pizzaiolo in Shirlington is in doubt, with most of its equipment and furnishings listed on a commercial auction website.

Everything from light fixtures to kitchen equipment to trash cans are on the auction block. The auction website says the restaurant, which is not named but is clearly Cafe Pizzaiolo in photos, “is closing and will make a liquidation.” The auction closes on Wednesday, June 3.

Still, it’s unclear whether this will mean a permanent or a temporary closure for the pizzeria at 2800 S. Randolph Street, which has a sister location nearby on Fern Street in Alexandria. The latter remains open for delivery and takeout.

“Is Cafe Pizzaiolo in Shirlington closing for good or just moving/downsizing?” asked a tipster who sent a link to the Rasmus Auctions site.

Owner Larry Ponzi tells ARLnow that no decision has been reached quite yet.

“The pandemic has caused us to pivot and rethink all of our businesses,” he said. “We have not made any final decisions about [what] our business in Shirlington will look like/function as when the time is right. We are using the time to strip down, clean, and rethink what the future of the business may be.”

Ponzi and wife Christine own Cafe Pizzaiolo, St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub, Market to Market, and the future replacement of Catch on the Ave — all in Alexandria.

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Morning Notes

Small Biz Grant Application Now Open — “The Arlington Small Business Emergency GRANT (Giving Resiliency Assets Near Term) Program, designed to provide immediate financial assistance to Arlington’s small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, is now open for applications.” [Arlington County]

Why Your Pizza Is Not Going Ham — The national meat shortage has led Domino’s Pizza to cut down on the availability of some toppings, including in Arlington. “Due to the current uncertainty in the market for meats, we are limiting the amount of ham we are delivering to our stores,” the company told one local resident. [@craigcolgan/Twitter]

Kids Don Costumes in Support of Masks — “Kids roaming my neighborhood dressed as a hotdog and a bun, with a placard: ‘DON’T BE A WEENIE, WEAR A MASK.’ Lots of people in the D.C. area I’ve observed this week going in and out of stores, playing basketball and mingling on the National Mall are not masking up.” [@meekwire/Twitter]

Police Investigate Robbery in Rosslyn — “Two suspects entered a business and began selecting merchandise. An employee of the business recognized one of the suspects and confronted him as he attempted to exit the business in possession of merchandise that had not been paid for. The suspect shoved the victim, causing her to fall, and both suspects fled in a vehicle driven by a third subject prior to police arrival.” [Arlington County]

Teachers Endorse Diaz-Torres — “The Arlington Education Association Political Action Committee (AEA-PAC) recently announced its endorsement of Cristina Diaz-Torres, a teacher and education policy specialist, in the Arlington Public School Board Democratic Caucus.” [Press Release]

Police Looking for W&OD Trail Creeper — “City of Falls Church Police received a report about a man following a woman in a suspicious manner on Monday, May 4, at about 3:10 p.m. He followed the woman on the W&OD trail then continued to follow her into a neighborhood. The woman was not harmed.” [City of Falls Church]

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After a run of bad luck, Joe’s Place Pizza and Pasta at 5555 Lee Highway is planning a comeback starting this afternoon (Tuesday).

As if a global pandemic that has battered the restaurant industry wasn’t enough, the topping was when the main oven at Joe’s Place suffered a serious breakdown in mid-April that required waiting on both parts and repairs.

With the oven finally operational, the restaurant says they’re ready to reopen for doorstep delivery and curbside takeout today.

The new hours for May are Tuesday-Saturday from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Pizzas range from small (roughly four slices) for $9 to 10 slice, Sicilian deep-dish style pizza for $16.

Joe’s Place is also asking customers to make a contribution that will go towards making pizzas and sandwiches for workers at Virginia Hospital Center. In March, Joe’s Place offered free cheese pizzas to families in need.

Photo via Joe’s Place Pizza and Pasta/Facebook

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(Updated at 10 a.m.) Just over three years since it first opened, 1000 Degrees has served its last customer.

The quick-service Neapolitan pizzeria at 3400 Columbia Pike shut its doors within the past few of days, posting a note in the window that reads: “Dear customers, We apologize for any inconvenience but we are permanently closed.”

While 1000 Degrees is a chain, with locations from Connecticut to Texas, the Pike location was owned by a “long-time, local entrepreneur,” according to a press release from its October 2016 opening. The pizzeria offered customers the ability to design their own thin-crust pizzas or order a variety of special pies, including a barbecue bourbon chicken pizza, a Philly cheesesteak pizza and a classic margherita pizza.

The restaurant also offered wings and salads.

Acclaimed, local Neapolitan pizza restaurant Pupatella recently opened a half mile away from 1000 Degrees’ now-former location.

Hat tip to @MZappa777

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(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Gallery Clarendon, a temporary art space at 2800 Clarendon Blvd, has announced that it will be closing to make way for a new pizza restaurant from New England.

The gallery, a project from the Arlington Artists Alliance, opened at Market Common Clarendon in June 2018 as a way to fill the space until a permanent tenant could be found. At the time, the Arlington Artists Alliance told ARLnow they expected to be open for roughly a year.

The gallery will close at the end of February, the Alliance said.

In May of 2018, with modest expectations and a solely volunteer effort, the Arlington Artists Alliance turned the empty storefront on the corner of Clarendon Blvd. and N. Fillmore into a gallery and artist studios for 50+ local Arlington artists. The positive feedback we received from the community was heartwarming and overwhelming… It was a wonderful experience for the artists and we thank each and every one of you who visited our gallery and studios or attended a class in Clarendon.

A pair of shows currently on display, called Catharsis and Kaleidoscope, will be the final exhibits at the gallery. Both shows are scheduled to have an opening reception tomorrow (Friday). Catharsis’ reception is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. while Kaleidoscope will start at 5 p.m., with both scheduled to finish around 7 p.m.

The Arlington Artists Alliance is currently hoping to find a new home in North Arlington, though its Gallery Underground location in Crystal City remains open.

Cherise Goldbach, general manager of Market Common Clarendon owner Regency Centers, said the new tenant in the space is Colony Grill, a small chain of thin-crust pizza-focused restaurants primarily based out of Connecticut.

The company’s website says it offers a one-size (12-inch) thin-crust cheese pizza, with signature spicy hot oil, and a variety of toppings. The chain also has a salad pizza — the company’s thin crust topped with salad fixings — with no cheese or sauce unless requested.

It will be the only Colony Grill location outside of Connecticut and New York, according to the company’s website. The first Colony Grill opened in an Irish immigrant neighborhood of Samford, Connecticut in 1935.

“Everyone at Colony Grill is extremely excited to open in Clarendon later in 2020,” said Ken Martin, COO of Colony Grill, said in an email forwarded to ARLnow. “During our search, we absolutely fell in love with the greater Arlington area. It is simply a remarkable part of the country. We look forward to introducing our unique pizza to the neighborhood and becoming a part of the community fabric for years to come.”

Pete’s New Haven Apizza, which offered a different pizza style of Connecticut origin, closed in August two blocks away.

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Don’t be fooled by the signs on the building, the notoriously green shack in Clarendon is still long-time local pizzeria Goody’s.

The “Goody’s NY Style Pizzeria” sign has been taken down from the building at 3125 Wilson Blvd. and replaced with a sign that says “Tacos Mexicano,” while the windows advertise tacos and pupusas. Inside, however, there’s still rows of pizza and staff still call it Goody’s.

While Goody’s has sold tacos for nearly a year, according to their Facebook page, a manager at the restaurant said the sign change was reflective of a new emphasis on the Mexican cuisine. In addition to the classic “two slices of pizza and a soda for $5.99” deal, the restaurant also offers quesadillas, tacos, burritos and more.

The majority of the menu, however, remains various types of pizza like Goody’s Deluxe — pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, onions — as well as subs and burgers.

Goody’s changed hands in 2018 after its original owners retired. It reopened with new owners, whose colorful new mural on the diminutive building at 3125 Wilson Blvd didn’t fly with county regulators. It was later re-painted red and two shades of green.

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Three years after announcing its plans to expand, award-winning local pizza restaurant Pupatella has officially opened its second area location.

Pupatella opened its South Arlington location earlier this week at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive, where it serves a variety of Neapolitan pizzas, gelatos, drinks, and more.

Originally founded as a food truck, Pupatella opened its original brick-and-mortar location at 5104 Wilson Blvd in 2010.

Co-owner Enzo Algarme is now teaming up with the partners behind Elevation Burger to expand via franchising. Pupatella currently has two additional locations outside of Arlington, in Richmond and Glen Allen, Virginia.

There are a few additional Pupatella locations in store for the D.C. area, including a 2,700 square-foot venture in Reston and another in the Mosaic District.

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A space-themed pizza shop and deli in Crystal City plans to take off into a bigger space down the block.

Bozzelli’s, an “intergalactic” deli serving pizza and sandwiches, first opened at 2600 Crystal Drive in 2010. Nearly a decade later, the restaurant is moving to the opposite corner of the street where it will have room for an expansive dining room and bar.

“Honestly, we outgrew our shoebox of a store from day one. We never had room for more than three tabletops and six seats so our customers could never bank on getting a table,” said co-owner Mike Bozzelli.

Bozzelli also commented on the incoming arrival of Amazon’s new headquarters, noting it “factored into our decision making.”

“We welcome the advent of HQ2 and are extremely grateful for the community,” he said.

Bozzelli’s has four locations, including one in Springfield and another in D.C. Its menu features whole pizzas, including the “Mic Mac” topped with macaroni, mozzarella, cheddar, and peppers — along with sandwiches, salads, and desserts.

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One of Arlington’s most successful restaurants will open its second location very soon.

The Neapolitan pizzeria Pupatella, which opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Bluemont in 2010, is expected to open at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive next week.

“This week is training,” manager Anastasiya Laufenberg told ARLnow. “We should be opening next week. The community support has been great.”

Hopefully the new location will have better luck than past businesses at that address. A string of restaurants there who quickly shuttered after opening have given the Walter Reed corner the reputation as Arlington’s restaurant “Bermuda Triangle.”

Pupatella currently has two additional locations outside of Arlington, in Richmond and Glen Allen, Virginia.

Heading into 2020, Pupatella has also announced plans to eventually open a 2,700 square foot location at 1821 Wiehle Avenue in Reston as part of a new expansion push fueled by a $3.75 million investment.

Earlier this week, the restaurant introduced two “Pizza Lovers” wines, a red Merlot/Cabernet blend and a white Pinot Grigio-Chardonnay blend, to pair with its pies.

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