Hank’s Oyster Bar owner Jamie Leeds is ready to introduce a new concept to her otherwise seafood-focused restaurant group: Hank & Mitzi’s Italian Kitchen. The revamped Italian restaurant replaces Hank’s Pasta Bar in Old Town Alexandria, which closed last month to add a second-story event space and rooftop bar.
Chef-about-town Will Artley, whose résumé includes Evening Star Cafe, BLT Steak, and over two years at Pizzeria Orso, will lead the kitchen. He’s bringing some of the pies that won him regulars at the latter Falls Church spot, though the oven here is deck—favored by spots like All-Purpose—over wood-fired. Personal pizzas will include classic toppings as well as more whimsical creations like smoked tomato sauce with sausage and peppers or a pie with blue cheese, figs (jam and fresh) and prosciutto. Pastas are also making a comeback, including old favorites like the creamy mafalde noodles and popcorn agnolotti. Also in the works are a large selection of shareable antipasti, bountiful vegetable sides, and a few rustic entrees like molasses-braised short ribs, lemon-garlic chicken, and a whole fish.
Hank & Mitzi’s Italian Kitchen is slated to open for dinner the first week of January, while the event space and rooftop—which will have its own bar and menu—will follow in the spring.
As for the name: Hank, Leeds’s father, has long been honored in her restaurant names. Now Mitzi, her mother, will get her due.
“She’s wanted me to do pizza forever. She loves pizza. She grew up in Coney Island and would tell me stories about how she’d go on dates and purposely wouldn’t eat a lot so she could ho home and have a slice of pizza,” says Leeds.
Hard to argue with that.
Hank & Mitzi’s Italian Kitchen. 600 Montgomery St., Alexandria