Last month I was passing through Arlington, VA and had stumbled upon the ever-so-charming Westover neighborhood. I had no idea The Italian Store was here. A couple of folks had mentioned how great their pizza was and that I should write about it when I got the chance. Well fate, destiny, and all that other inspirational stuff has reared its beautiful head again.
While doing some research I realized that this was their second and just recently opened location. And by recent I mean within the past five months. If I didn’t inquire I would have never known. The surrounding shops and streets look so authentic and historic that the store fits in perfectly.
As soon I walked in I knew I was visiting something special and that to fully appreciate it, I would need a lot of time. And I will need to visit their original location.
Before I looked up information about these folks, I could tell that they were rich in history and had a very strong following.
The energy inside was booming and permeating. I had a great feeling walking around and checking out their wine selection, groceries, breads, pastries, delicatessen, and a whole slew of other provisions. Most important of all, the staff seemed friendly and caring about what was going on.
I hadn’t even ordered my pizza slices and I realized I was in here for a good 30 minutes appreciating how massive this spot was.
I ordered three slices and I could have ordered more. There were so many to choose from and a few out-of-the-ordinary. That only means I’ll be back and I was already coming back anyways. Their personalized napkin holders sold me before anything else!
I know I was very generous in the praise of the shoppe (and it’s justified) and all the good vibes that came from it, but this did not entirely translate into the pizza.
I ordered a cheese, pepperoni, and a vegetable. I wanted to keep it simple today.
I’ll go in the order that I just listed above.
The cheese was my least favorite. It was good but it was missing some pop. I can’t explain it but maybe I was expecting more from such an establishment. The crust was good and it was easy to eat. But it just didn’t wow me. I don’t know if it had been sitting out too long and might have been reheated one too many times. That was my first reaction when eating it.
The pepperoni was a little better and seemed to have more cheese than the aforementioned slice above. This seemed thicker and the pepperoni itself tasted authentic. I’ve stated before that I’m not a huge fan of red meat on my pie but this was pretty good. But again, it wasn’t incredible. Did I set my expectations too high? Did I allow the heavy praise from a few of my pals lead to a bit of a letdown? It’s possible.
The vegetable slice was the big winner. It was loaded and loaded with all kinds of fresh toppings. I think the picture speaks for itself. I’m salivating at the thought of it as I write another one. The cheese, crust, and vegetables really comes together on this one. This was a great slice and tells me that they’re capable of so much more than the previous two.
The outdoor dining area was very cozy and peaceful. I enjoyed myself.
I deliberately wrote about the veggie last to end this on a high note. The Italian Store has such a liveliness that I know translated into wonderful eats. The next time I will write about them will be from their original location. And I can’t wait.
These photos have only begun to scratch the surface.