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Al Crostino closed its doors on U Street NW late last year as its landlord, JBG Companies, prepared to make way for condo construction. Now, owners and daughter-mother team Lina and Juliana Nicolai are relocating a few blocks away to Shaw, where they’ll be taking over the space formerly occupied by Cause philanthropub. (PoPville first noted the move earlier this week.)
Expect the Italian menu to be almost exactly the same. And yes, that means you will still be able to get every bowl of pasta for just $9 on Tuesdays. The new space, unlike the old one, has fryers in the kitchen, so calamari and a couple other fried dishes will be new. So will the expanded cocktail list and a greater variety of wines beyond Italian varieties.
Al Crostino 2.0 will also be open later, with hours likely until 1:30 a.m. on weekdays and 2:30 on weekends. A late-night menu, consisting mostly of finger foods, is in the works.
A casual wine bar and lounge will occupy the first floor of the building, while the main dining room will reside upstairs. The remodeled space will include wine on the walls and pictures from Italy. Instead of carpet, the new spot will have hardwood floors. But overall, the changes are minimal.
“We just want to keep it the same as the old Al Crostino where people are like family,” says Lina Nicolai. “We were very social. We’d introduce people at the bar to each other… We just want to make sure the atmosphere is what it was, and that is it feels like a community.”
The restaurant is expected to open mid-June to early July.
Al Crostino, 1926 9th St. NW; (202) 797-0523; alcrostino.com
Photo by Jessica Sidman