Fourteenth Street NW has been overrun by pasta and pizza destinations, but only one also has its own cheese shop. Lupo Verde opens today at 5 p.m. with house-made pastas, wood-fire oven pizzas, and lots and lots of cheese. The restaurant comes from Antonio Matarazzo and Med Lahlou, who also operate Ulah Bistro, Tunnicliff’s Tavern, and Station 4.
Lupo Verde will sell about 50 types of cheeses from Italy and local farmers plus five made in-house. The restaurant is also adopting a sheep from a farm in Maryland whose milk will be used to make cheese specifically for Lupo Verde. Matarazzo has already named the sheep Lupetta. He says they also plan to eventually take groups out to the farm for tours and dinners. In addition, the cheese shop will also sell fresh and dried pastas, cured meats, and house-made breads.
Much of the menu takes inspiration from Matarazzo’s hometown of Avellino and the surrounding Campania region of southern Italy. The woodsy mountainous area is known for hazelnuts, honey, truffles, mushrooms, and wild boar. Lahlou’s corporate chef Orlando Amaro will oversee the menu alongside chef de cuisine Domenico Apollaro, who moved from Italy to D.C. to work at Lupo Verde. Cheese shop items and about 70 percent of the dishes will be available to-go beginning March 10. The restaurant will expand to lunch and brunch in the coming weeks as well.
Francesco Amodeo, who founded local limoncello and liqueur company Don Ciccio & Figli, has put together the cocktail list. Look out for a 27-day barrel-aged negroni, hazelnut-infused Woodford Reserve bourbon, and house-made vermouth. Five beers and three wines—Prosecco, Sangiovese, and Pinot Grigio—are available on tap. The wine list will include about 100 wines by the bottle with a focus on varietals from southern Italy. Matarazzo’s father runs a winery in Campania, and he hopes to eventually import some of that wine for Lupo Verde. Also expect a happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m.
And as for the rest of the Italian competition on the street? Lahlou is not too concerned: “I’m in New York two times a month,” Lahlou says, and he regularly eats out at the best Italian restaurants. “I’ll come here and eat Italian and it’s like, ‘What’s this? This is not right.’ There’s no competition here.”
Lupo Verde, 1401 14th St. NW; (202) 827-4752; lupoverdedc.com
Photos by Jessica Sidman