Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: Stellina Pizzeria Mt. Vernon

Owners Antonio Matarazzo and Matteo Venini pay special homage to the area's landmark Waffle Shop with their newest pizzeria.

Stellina Pizzeria - Photo: Rey Lopez
Stellina Pizzeria – Photo: Rey Lopez

Three years ago, Antonio Matarazzo and Matteo Venini decided to say “arrivederci” to the growing chain of Italian restaurants spawned by 14th Street’s Lupo Verde, where the two met and where they served as a managing partner and corporate chef, respectively.

Instead, the two native Italians went for broke, launching their own “upscale fast-casual” pizzeria serving “neo-Neapolitan” pies in the burgeoning Union Market District.

By December of 2019, they had even announced plans for a second Stellina Pizzeria to open in the developing downtown Mt. Vernon neighborhood in the summer of 2020. Naturally, the pandemic postponed such plans — by a whole two years.

Yet in the interim, not only have they managed to keep the original hotspot afloat, they even managed to open a second outpost last year, expanding the brand with a shop in Shirlington. Later this year, a second Virginia location is expected in Tysons, which will make No. 4 in the chain, after the opening earlier this month of No. 3, the long-delayed Stellina Pizzeria Mt. Vernon.

Stellina Pizzeria - Photo: KnowPR
Stellina Pizzeria – Photo: KnowPR

Set in a reimagined version of the iconic greasy spoon The Waffle Shop, which originally stood a few blocks away on 10th Street, the newest Stellina is twice the size of the original, featuring a traditional restaurant-style dining room with 42 seats on one side, and a replica of a diner-style bar with 32 seats snaking around an M-shaped, laminate counter on the other. A 32-seat outdoor patio is expected to open within the next month.

As a further homage to The Waffle Shop, the new Stellina will soon introduce a menu item only available there, a Waffle Panini stuffed with mortadella, spicy red onion marmalade, pistachio cream, stracchino cheese, and roasted truffled potato.

Otherwise, the Italian street food-inspired menu is the same, with signature Stellina offerings including cacio e pepe, the popular, deceptively simple cheesy-peppery sauce available as either a pasta or pizza topping, a lineup of pies, salads, and paninis made with pizza dough, a drink menu with Italian wines, beers, spirits, and coffees.

Also on site is a custom-made vending machine stocked with original grab-and-go frozen and pantry items ranging from homemade pastas and sauces to pre-made pizzas and dough.

Stellina’s Mt. Vernon location is at 508 K St. NW.

Call 202-851-3995 or visit www.stellinapizzeria.com.

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