More than a dozen Italian restaurants and pizzerias are opening in D.C. this spring. Here’s one more to add to the list: Arcuri, which opens tomorrow in Glover Park.
The Italian-American eatery is co-owned by four friends who have worked their way through the D.C. restaurant scene: Bryce Gerlach, Joe Chapman, Adam Hiltebeitel, and chef Richard Jones.
One of the restaurant’s focuses is its house-made limoncello served in small, frosty shot glasses for $4 a pop. Gerlach, who designed the drink menu, says the idea to specialize in the Italian lemon liqueur came from Chapman. “Joe spent time in Italy, and he loved that you could stop into a bar on a hot afternoon, have a little taste of ‘cello that’s freezing cold out of the freezer and then go on with your day,” Gerlach says. “He introduced it to me and…now it’s a big part of our concept.” While there’s only one limoncello to start, Arcuri plans to offer varieties that have been infused for varying lengths of time and incorporate ingredients like oranges, rosemary, peppermint, and vanilla.
Much like Kavanaugh’s Pizza Pub, which previously occupied the space, Arcuri will focus on pizzas baked in a brick oven. A veteran of 2941 and New York’s Locanda Verde, Jones says that customers can expect to see some unusual toppings on their pies: “We want to use kind of off-cuts that people aren’t used to—guanciale, speck, stuff that you aren’t going to see at the average pizzeria,” he says.
The initial menu will feature a limited selection of pizzas and pastas, but Jones plans to expand the offerings over the course of the next month to include dishes ranging from pork chops to a prosciutto-wrapped cod. Arcuri will also have happy hour and late-night menus, featuring dishes like pork rinds and meatball sliders.
The owners of Arcuri kept Kavanaugh’s brick oven, but they’ve brought the decor up a notch, along with the prices. (Entrees will range between $18 and $23.) The 119-seat space has a modern feeling, with exposed brick walls and a sleek black bar.
Despite the updates, Arcuri’s four co-owners say they intend keep the place casual and family-friendly. “We want to have a very comfortable environment with really good products,” Gerlach said “We’re going to gain people’s trust and then we can play a little more and introduce them to things they might not have tried, like limoncello.”
Photo of Bryce Gerlach courtesy Arcuri