Pizzeria Paradiso owner Ruth Gresser admits she’s not one for rapid expansion. Since opening the original Dupont Circle location 26 years ago, the wood-fired pizza pioneer has only debuted three other full-service restaurants in Georgetown, Alexandria, and most recently, Hyattsville. Next up: a 120-seat Paradiso coming to DC’s Spring Valley neighborhood near American University this fall.
Spring Valley may not be a hotspot for restaurateurs like 14th Street—Urban Turf dubbed it an affluent “suburb with a DC zip code”—but Gresser says it’s an attractive location for her long-running concept with plenty of neighborhood families, businesses, and students. Plus, the address (4850 Massachusetts Ave., NW) is in close proximity to Chevy Chase and Bethesda, which the restaurant may reach via delivery.
“We’ve recognized that who are at this point as a company are neighborhood restaurants,” says Gresser. “We’ve always been that, but it’s the focus of how we see ourselves.”
Like the other locations, Spring Valley will center around thin-crust pies cooked in a wood-burning Marra Forni oven, topped with from-scratch ingredients that range from sauces (tomato, spicy pesto) to house-made sausages, and plenty of veggies. The usual extensive selection of specialty beers will accompany the all-day menu of pizzas, paninis, salads, and antipasti. Look for 14 drafts and possibly a few arcade games in the style of Paradiso Game Room—the newly-opened bar below the Georgetown branch. A roomy outdoor patio will fit around 35 in warm weather.
Gresser recently closed Veloce, a fast-casual spinoff of Paradiso located in an area of downtown DC that’s becoming notoriously cursed for restaurants. She said she may revive the concept at some point, but for now the focus is bringing more Pizzeria Paradiso to the people.
Pizzeria Paradiso Spring Valley. 4850 Massachusetts Ave., NW.