Over a year ago, I heard a rumor that A.V. Ristorante Italiano, the decades-old Italian restaurant on 6th and New York NW, would be closing. The building would become—-you guessed it—-condos. Word-of-mouth buzz said it might close at the end of 2006. Some said it would relocate. No one, including the servers I asked, seemed to know what was going on.

I recently dined at A.V. and asked a server again. According to him: A.V. will close in July, and it will not relocate.

It’s quite a blow for Shaw residents. There have been few neighborhood restaurants to choose from, especially with Shiloh Baptist Church blocking liquor licenses for Vegetate and Queen of Sheba. But things are looking up for Vegetate, which just got a “stipulated” license and has a hearing for a permanent one in March.

Vegetate is a welcome addition to the neighborhood with its DJs and displays of area artists’ work. But I’ll miss A.V.’s wood paneling, gigantic fireplace, and piped-in opera. Oh, and the veal.