Stellina Pizzeria, the popular DC restaurant run by Italian natives Antonio Matarazzo and chef Matteo Venini, is ready for a big expansion. The second location in the Village at Shirlington opens Friday with a familiar menu of neo-Neapolitan pizzas, pastas, frittura (fried snacks), paninis, and desserts—plus a new Italian market and vending machine stocked with pastas, sauces, and tiramisu. A third Stellina is poised to open in Mt. Vernon Triangle this spring.
Matarazzo, who lives in Arlington, and Venini have designed their second Stellina to fit in with pandemic-era trends for dining out (and in). What was once going to be a sit-down bar area is now a deli counter and market stocked with fresh pastas, homemade sauces, pizza dough, meats and cheeses, antipasti, and pantry goods. For desserts, look for rum baba, bomboloni doughnuts, and cannoli (similar to the lineup at the duo’s pasticceria in Union Market, Annaré). There’s also a freezer with ready-heat lasagnas and pizza. If you’re looking for something quick, a refrigerated vending machine is stationed out front filled with more pastas, sauces, and treats like salami or tiramisu.
For those looking to grab one of Venini’s thin-crust cacio e pepe pizzas or fried artichoke cones, there are a few options. Patrons can sit outside on a 20-seat patio, or order takeout or delivery. Stellina DC has been closed for indoor dining since the pandemic began, and though Virginia restaurants are allowed to serve indoors at 50-percent capacity, Matarazzo says they’ve decided to abstain from indoor service at both locations until at least the spring, “and then we’ll see,” he says.
“People eat a lot indoor in Virginia. I don’t know how they’ll feel about us, but we’re doing it for the safety of our staff and for us,” says Matarazzo, an Avellino native. “I saw what happened in Italy and Europe. It’s not a joke. As restaurateurs, I think we should lead with example.”
The Village at Shirlington is one of the newly designated areas in Virginia where restaurant and bar patrons can “sip and stroll” (i.e. drink freely outside)—a pandemic-era measure that DC Mayor Muriel Bowser hopes to adopt as well. In addition to beer and wine, Stellina is bottling all of its cocktails like Negronis and Americanos to stay or go, and providing fancy ice with citrus peels inside to flavor the drink as it melts. On the new food front, Venini plans to expand on his pasta-inspired pizza toppings, adding a riff on Roman pasta alla gricia—like a white pie version of his amatriciana with guanciale and pecorino cheese.
Stellina Pizzeria. 2800 S Randolph St., Arlington.