Pu­patella pizza eatery plans a sec­ond Rich­mond-area spot

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - CULTURE 2 - Karri Peifer kpeifer@rich­mond.com kpeifer@rich­mond.com (804) 649-6321 Twit­ter: @Kar­riPeifer

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.

ALEXA WELCH EDLUND/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

Pu­patella opened its first Rich­mond-area lo­ca­tion in July 2017 near VCU.

My­ers

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