By Stefanie Gans
After five years and several failed offers, Robert Tramonte found another location for The Italian Store: in Westover, between Arlington and East Falls Church. “It’s going to be The Italian Store on steroids,” says Tramonte, with the new location—expected to open this fall—complete with an onsite bakery, espresso bar and coveted in-store and patio seating.
Besides sandwiches, there will be charcuterie boards and gelato, from former Laboratorio Del Galileo (D.C.) pastry chef Gianluigi Dellaccio who studied gelato-making in Italy and started his own company, Dolci Gelati.
While the construction continues in the former 7-Eleven space (which used to be a Safeway), a few of the Italian desserts are now available at The Italian Store on Lee Highway. “You see them in Italy in the mornings,” says Tramonte about his in-house pastries, which started to be available under-the-radar for the last few months.
The most recognizable treat, a pastry shell rolled like a cigar filled with sweetened impastata ricotta and chocolate chips. This thicker ricotta stays better within the shells, and says Tramonte, makes “ours are a little more authentic.”
A dome-shaped pastry filled with custard, chocolate chip bits and orange blossom, “it has more cream in it than all the rest,” says Tramonte. “I think we’re the only place I’ve seen it” in Northern Virginia.
“A filling that’s just truly Italian,” says Tramonte, of the thin layers of pastry stuffed with ricotta and orange peel, shaped like a clam shell.
Found at espresso bars in Italy, this Italian version of a croissant is filled with a custard of chocolate, vanilla or apricot. The French version is “lighter, puffier and a little drier,” says Tramonte. / The Italian Store, 3123 Lee Highway, Arlington