Pupatella pizza eatery plans a second Richmond-area spot
Pupatella, the Arlingtonbased award-winning Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant, will soon open its second Richmond-area location.
The restaurant, which is expected to open at 10921 W. Broad St. in the fall, will be the third location in the country.
Richmonder Zeeshan Kaba opened the first Richmond location at 1 N. Morris St. in the former Rancho T location near Virginia Commonwealth University in July 2017. He said at the time it wouldn’t be his last.
“Pupatella has had a whirlwind first year of business in Richmond, and we are so grateful to our guests and fans who have shown their support,” Kaba wrote in a statement. “We look forward to opening this second pizzeria — which happens to be right around the corner from where I grew up — and continuing to introduce the city to authentic Neapolitan pizza for lunch, dinner with friends or the ultimate date night or family meal.”
Pupatella launched as a food truck in Northern Virginia in 2007 and opened its first bricks-andmortar location in Arlington in 2010.
“If you’re not a convert when you walk in, you will be by the time you devour the last scrap of crust here,” Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema wrote of Pupatella in 2012.
The restaurant is certified by the Naples-based Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, making it truly Neapolitan pizza, which means it’s focused on simple ingredients and a few rules (wood-fired ovens, San Marzano tomatoes and fresh ingredients).
Pupatella’s menu includes roughly 20 pizzas ($10-$16), plus diners can customize their own. Salads, small plates, Neapolitan fried foods (such as risotto balls and fried calzones) and a kids’ menu round out the offerings. Guests order at the counter (including wine and beer); food is delivered to the table.
The Henrico County location, which will be in a former Pie
Five Pizza, will be 2,200 square feet and have seating for 105, including on the patio.
There’s a new chef in the kitchen at Nota Bene at 2110 E. Main St. in Shockoe Bottom.
Laine Myers, who was most recently sous chef at Metzger
Bar & Butchery in Union Hill (and sous at Graffiato Richmond before that), has landed her first executive chef role at the 31/2-year-old Italian restaurant.
“Italian is my favorite style of cooking,” she said. “You get the more Mediterranean flavors in the south and then northern fats; I appreciate that one simple country has all of that going on for it.”
Restaurant owner Victoria DeRoche opened Nota Bene in December 2015, first as Pizza Tonight — the bricks-and-mortar location of her popular food truck with an expanded Italianinspired menu.
DeRoche brought on executive chef Randall Doetzer (previously of Julep’s New Southern Cuisine) to help perfect the pizza recipes for the bricksand-mortar crowd and expand the menu when the restaurant opened. In 2016, DeRoche changed the restaurant’s name to Nota Bene to emphasize the menu focus beyond pizza.
Doetzer moved on at the beginning of the summer (he’s working on opening his own restaurant), and DeRoche closed the restaurant for about three weeks to retool. It reopened in early July with a new menu, a new patio and Myers at the helm in the kitchen.
“The old menu was much larger,” Myers said. “Almost simpler. Where I put my spin on it is by paring down and focusing on technique.”
Highlights from the new menu include Embered Octopus and Duck Hearts. Don’t worry, pizza lovers, the Fig & Pig pizza is still around.
“I love that we continue to grow,” DeRoche said. “I feel positive about where we’ve been and where we’re going.”
Nota Bene is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Look for Sunday brunch to launch soon, as well as a pastry and bread program.
Shake Shack, the beloved
New York-based burger chain, is opening its third Virginia location: in Virginia Beach.
I know, I know, it’s not Richmond, but it’s an expansion in Virginia of this burger spot.
If you don’t know the story, James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Danny Meyer opened the first Shake Shack in a former hot dog stand in New York City’s Madison Square Park in 2001 and moved to a bricksand-mortar spot in 2004. The fast-food restaurant quickly developed a cultlike following. Shake Shack operates more than 150 locations all over the world, including one in Tysons Corner Center and one in Arlington.
The Virginia Beach location will be at 296 Constitution Drive in Columbus Village shopping center in the Town Center of Virginia Beach. An opening date hasn’t yet been announced.
As for Richmond, well, there’s no news on a location here yet — or any additional spots in Virginia — but the Shake Shack people said they’ll keep me posted.
Pupatella opened its first Richmond-area location in July 2017 near VCU.