The rumors are true: Pupatella will bring its wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas to Dupont Circle, occupying the prime indoor/outdoor space that housed Rosemary’s Thyme for nearly 18 years. Owner and Naples native Enzo Algarme says his team is angling for a spring opening.
“We’re just really excited to be in the city,” says Algarme, who launched the pizza business as a food truck in 2007 with partner Anastasiya Laufenberg before moving into a cozy North Arlington restaurant space a decade ago. “We’re targeting neighborhood areas because we really want to be a neighborhood pizzeria.”
Pupatella went from being a tiny Northern Virginia favorite to a local chain on the rise, securing $3.75 million in funding for an eight-restaurant expansion in 2018. The company also experimented with franchising—there’s currently one in Richmond—though Algarme says they’ve discontinued those efforts because “he wasn’t as happy or comfortable with that model.” In addition to a brand-new South Arlington pizzeria, the next Pupatellas are planned for Dupont, Reston, and Fairfax’s Mosaic District.
The DC location will look much like the original. An imported wood-burning oven made from bricks of Mt. Vesuvius will produce red, white, and seasonal thin-crust pizzas in 90 seconds. Algarme says he plans to get the Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) certification that marks the true Neapolitan pies. Options range from the pristine margherita DOC to more fanciful options topped with burrata and fresh tomatoes or prosciutto-and-fig. Diners order at a counter but food and drinks are brought to tables (takeout and possibly delivery will start after the opening window). In addition to pizzas, the menu will include small plates and salads, paninis, and friggitoria, Neapolitan fried snacks like arancini and crispy mozzarella balls. A wrap-around sidewalk patio will be prime space for gelato and Italian cocktails, beers, and wines in warm weather.
Pupatella Dupont Circle. 1801 18th St., NW