Restaurateurs Fabio and Maria Trabocchi are crossing the Potomac River for the first time in their Washington career, with plans to open a second location of their Northwest D.C. restaurant Sfoglina in Rosslyn.
The restaurant will open in approximately 4,500 square feet at 1100 Wilson Blvd., part of The Towers complex that’s home to WJLA Channel 7, Politico and, yes, the Washington Business Journal.
The restaurant is just part of what building owner Monday Properties hopes will eventually be multiple eateries from the Trabocchis at The Towers. Sfoglina will be the preferred caterer for tenant events on 1100 Wilson's new rooftop lounge, and the landlord hopes to work with the chef on a beer garden concept for Freedom Park, the former highway ramp between 1100 and 1000 Wilson that includes outdoor seating and features views of the National Mall.
Sfoglina will have more than 200 seats between the restaurant's interior, a sidewalk cafe along North Lynn Street and seating in the lobby of the 31-story office tower.
The original Sfoglina opened near the Van Ness station on Metro’s Red Line in 2016, bringing a neighborhood eatery to a bit of a restaurant desert. It is among the more casual in the Trabocchis’ empire, foregoing the tablecloths of Fiola and Fiola Mare and offering a lower price point as well.
The neighborhood restaurant doesn’t skimp on style, however, with the D.C. location featuring brightly colored banquettes, striking light fixtures and printed fabrics draped along the ceiling to offer a cozy vibe. Sfoglina, which is an Italian word for an older, pasta-making grandma, serves Italian classic appetizers such as buffalo mozzarella and grilled calamari, and, of course, house-made pasta dishes.
The restaurant is currently in the design phase and could open by the end of the year or early next year, according to Monday Properties Managing Partner Tim Helmig. A spokesperson said the Trabocchis' restaurant group doesn't have any more information to share at this time.
Helmig’s company is now embodying the “good things come to those who wait” maxim. After waiting years to lease up its trophy office building at 1812 N. Moore St., the company landed Nestle USA’s headquarters to anchor the building. Gerber, a subsidiary of Nestle, followed.
Similarly, Monday began talking to Trabocchi several years ago about the restaurant space in 1100 Wilson, but the timing wasn’t right.
While Monday certainly could have installed a fast-casual restaurant or two in the space — Zpizza and Baja Fresh previously occupied it — the owner wanted to hold out for a high-quality, full-service restaurant, Helmig said. It took the end of construction at 1812 N. Moore and JBG Smith Properties Inc.'s Central Place for the activity at street level in Rosslyn to begin to change and convince the restaurateur that Sfoglina would work.
“We’ve kept that space specifically vacant for a period of time until we really found the best possible operator for Rosslyn and obviously for the building,” Helmig told me. “Fabio for us is the ideal restaurateur. The dedication and commitment to each and every location is undeniable, and the quality is highlighted by his Michelin rating. We’re thrilled to have he and his wife and their partners be part of the Rosslyn community.”
The Trabocchis are a big get for the developer. Their restaurants consistently rank on or near the top of local "Best of" lists, and their downtown restaurant, Fiola, holds a Michelin star. The original location of Sfoglina was named among Michelin's Bib Gourmand list — more affordable restaurants — for 2018 and the Trabocchis' Wharf restaurant, Del Mar, was among the semifinalists for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. in the James Beard Foundation Awards this year.