You might not have even had time to visit Stellina Pizzeria in DC before it was swiftly awarded a Bib Gourmand designation in the 2020 Michelin guide. But things move fast at the pizzeria. As swiftly as the traditional wood-burning oven turns out pies. The owners, Antonio Matarazzo and chef Matteo Venini, will open another DC location next year, less than two years after Stellina’s debut. But the bigger news to Northern Virginians is yet another Stellina coming to Arlington’s Shirlington neighborhood, hopefully, says Matarazzo, sometime in December.
Why did Matarazzo choose Shirlington? The native of Italy lives in Arlington himself and has for nearly 15 years. “Shirlington has always been a part of me,” he says. “I love the community. I love the neighborhood. I think there’s a need for an Italian concept that focuses on the quality of the food and authenticity. I think its a good fit.”
Stellina’s greatest bragging rights belong to its “neo-Neapolitan” pizzas. What does that mean? Matarazzo explains that his four-day fermentation process results in airy pies that are crispier than traditional Neapolitan pizza. “In Naples we say, ‘Pizza is only good if you can eat one after another,'” he says. That means that there’s emphasis on making the pizzas delicious, but also on their digestibility.
Ingredients are mostly imported from Italy, though cheese is local. The resulting pizzas include classics like a Margherita, but also innovations like the Affumicata, which gets its smoky flavor from smoked pecorino crema, smoked mozzarella and smoked cherry tomatoes, combined with roasted figs and speck.
But don’t think that the menu ends with pizza. The Shirlington location will be Stellina’s first to include a deli counter at which Matarazzo will sell freshly made pasta and sauces. Homemade pasta kits will allow customers to bring Stellina home with them, making dishes like cacio e pepe just like they would eat them in the restaurant. Batch cocktails will also make bringing drinks home easy. //2800 S. Randolph St., Arlington
Photo by Rey Lopez
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