The new spot, Rosario, is an ode to chef Rosario Patti, a mentor of Smoke and Barrel chef Logan McGear. He worked under the Sicilian native, who passed away in 2009, at an Italian restaurant in Arkansas.
“It sort of pulls at the heartstrings a little bit that Logan’s first concept that he’s leading is a tribute back to the guy who got him started,” says owner John Andrade.
The menu will include pastas like rigatoni with a spicy arrabiata sauce and duck confit carbonara, as well as chicken scallopini, rockfish piccata, and Sicilian crab cakes.
Bartenders Steve Laycock (who recently moved to DC from New York, where he worked at Seamstress) and Lukas Smith (of forthcoming distillery Cotton & Reed) are consulting on the opening drink menu. Smith anticipates Italian craft beers, negronis, amaros, vermouth, and a “cool” wine list. They’re also going to be hosting a mezcal pop-up. November 2 through 8.
Andrade says the team is planning to give the space a minor facelift with a new paint job, furniture, and light fixtures. He hopes to open Rosario on December 1.
The building also has a backroom, previously used for storage, that Andrade and Laycock want to convert into a “Columbia Room-esque” bar next year. They’re tentatively calling it the Santo Room, named after Patti’s husband, Santo Sacca, who will be at Rosario’s opening.
Libertine owner Amy Bowman says she closed Libertine to focus on the expansion of her beer bar, Black Squirrel. A new location is slated to open near the Dunn Loring Metro in February, and Bowman is also looking at properties in Reston and Rosslyn. The new outposts will likely be more restaurants than bars given their suburban locales—although expect at least 40 draft beers at each spot.