Italian Store Opens Second Store in Westover

| June 23, 2015

A cult favorite in Arlington readies 2nd location. Mamma mia!  italian store3

One of our best friends and a client since 1980, Italian Store opened a second store in June 2015. The following article is from Rebecca Cooper, WBJ

With its second location in Arlington, The Italian Store isn’t making the transition to “restaurant” just yet, but it’s getting awfully close.

The 7,000-square-foot space will include more than 50 seats as well as European style coffee bar and gelato counter There will be prosecco on tap, a boozy aperol spritz and the ability to buy wine at retail price and then drink it on site on the breezy outdoor patio.

True to its name, however, it will also have double the number of imported cheeses as the Lyon Village original, a wine shop with vintages from all 20 winemaking regions of Italy and improved circulation and flow for all of the retail customers.

“We’re not trying to be a full bar or restaurant,” said Robert Tramonte, who owns Italian Store with his family. “Once we become a restaurant, we’re one of a million. Right now, we’re one of a few.”italian store1

Tramonte is hopeful that the new location at 5837 Washington Blvd. in Arlington’s Westover neighborhood has solved many of Italian Store’s well known problems in its existing space.

“The single biggest comment is that people love the store, but it’s hard to get in and out,” Tramonte said. The new location is much larger, with wider-open aisles. The deli counter has separate spots for ordering sandwiches or ordering other items, such as sliced meats and cheeses.

The pizza counter is completely separate, with a back entrance and designatitalian store4ed 15-minute parking for to-go orders. Italian Store sells between 400 and 500 pizzas on a Friday night at the original spot, Tramonte said. It’s all tiled in Italian stone tiles, accented with warm wood and brick and beams original to the 75-year-old former grocery store and 7-Eleven space.

The coffee bar, nicknamed Andiamo, will serve Illy coffee, including specialties such as afogato — espresso poured over gelato — and a Nutella shooter, hot espresso mixed with Nutella. The counter will also feature a range of Italian pastries and cookies, including those signature, Italian rainbow cookies, some made in-house and others delivered from Italian Store’s longtime suppliers in Brooklyn. That’s something that customers have always asked about.

                            italian store 2“There used to be an Italian bakery in Alexandria, so I’d send them there,” he said. “But most of these places can’t make it; they can’t stand alone and pay the types of rent to justify it. But under our roof, we can do the pastries. We’re really interested to see how people respond.”

The Italian Store originally opened in 1980 in Lyon Village; two other locations, one in Vienna and another in Falls Church, followed but later closed. Tramonte considers the new store “the fourth generation,” which explains why it has been more than a year — and a couple million dollars — in the making.

The timing also made sense for his family; two of his five children are out of college now, he said, and some of them plan to help out with the business.

As for Westover, he couldn’t have expected a better reception. People have been walking up and hugging him, he said. And neighborhood groups are already trying to book a small, private room in the back for wine tastings and other events.

“We could have gone to a more glamorous space, but we felt our image was more Westover than glitzy,” he said.

The Italian Store

Category: Uncategorized

Comments are closed.