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Zuppa Fresca in the Loree Grand, NoMa - Chef Alfio Selia at 2nd and K Streets NE - Closed

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I read about this place on Prince of Petworth last month, and was curious about it after reading:

“We’re excited to announce the opening of the new restaurant Zuppa Fresca at The Loree Grand on February 1, 2012! Chef Alfrio Celia will make his Washington debut with sensational Italian fare. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, and brunch, with dinner and drink service to come! Make sure to grab a menu from the Concierge!”

It sounds like it actually opened about two weeks ago. We do our grocery shopping at the NoMa Harris Teeter, so are often looking for a place to grab lunch in the area, and decided to try this out today. It's on the lower level of the Loree Grand (where Kitchen on K was supposed to be?). There were only a couple of other tables seated when we were there, so the staff was fairly solicitous (opening the door for us, multiple people checking in on our table, etc). The decor is a bit sparse, but not necessarily uninviting.

The menu has about 6 soups, 4 salads, and 10 sandwiches, along with a couple sides and also a brunch menu. My +1 and I each got a soup, then we split a panini and side.

I had the Roasted Corn, Pepper, and Tomato Soup ($6 - an herb filled spin on classic tomato soup). These were pretty large bowls of soup, served with two garlic crostini on top. It was very chunky with tomato, strips of pepper, and corn. Good flavor. My +1 had the Roasted Garlic, Shallot, and Potato Soup ($6 - comfort in a bowl). Although not listed on the menu, this had crumbled blue cheese on top and came with a little ramekin of bacon to stir in as well. Very creamy and comforting for sure on such a cold day. The seafood soups are a little more expensive at $9-10.

We shared a Mozzarella Chicken Panini ($7 - chicken, mozzarella, parmesan, rosemary ciabatta), which was a good sized sandwich. The chicken was well cooked and the ciabatta was a great flavor, but it was a little bit boring. It needed some sort of sauce (perhaps an aioli of some sort, or a marinara dipping sauce). It helped to dip it in the tomato soup, but would've been better served with something. We also shared Sweet Potato Fries ($4 - served with honey butter) that oddly came out to us about 5 minutes before our soup and sandwich. The fries were well-cooked, and the honey butter was an interesting companion, but we ended up asking for some ketchup as well.

One small peeve was the lack of salt and pepper on the table. The fries needed some more salt, and my +1 wanted to add some to his soup. When we asked, we were brought a small plastic cup with salt and pepper in it. No shakers? Odd.

We were pretty full after everything we ordered and agreed the soup itself would be a good meal, or that plus splitting a side or salad. Two soups, one sandwich, and a side were more than enough for the two of us.

I'm not sure we're going to rush back, but it's definitely a good option if you're in the neighborhood.

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Closed today, with a note left on the door citing an unreasonable landlord.

And a similar note on their website [minor typos corrected]:

Zuppa Fresca is closed. We have decided to close due to situations out of our control. We hope a tenant is found for the space who can comply with the outrageous demands of the Landlord and Management Company. We will be posting our entire story soon to let our customers know why we had to leave. We only hope our story will help other young business owners who are trying to find truthful and honest landlords and management companies. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. alfiocelia@acculinary.com

NoMa is becoming No Mas.

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