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The Italian Store, Sandwiches, Pizza, Groceries, and Vino - with Two Locations in Arlington


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Santini's with double meat. Do try a Funky Cuban at Market2Market (verification). I wouldn't drive there from Tysons, but if you ever find yourself in Del Ray? Sure. The Muff-a-Lotta at Bay

I went to DC in order to get a G-Man sub at Mangialardo's at 1317 Pennsylvania Ave SE yesterday. I hadn't had one for over a year.  I usually order mine with oil and vinegar, hot peppers on a soft rol

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Because the standards for excellence are the sweet/gloppy Italian Store and the inexplicably overrated Vace?   :P

Now, if there were a couple more places like Alberto's...

Hmm...maybe it depends on what you get on your slice? I just get plain cheese and don't recall finding it sweet at all...maybe I'll have to make a 'za run for lunch today for research purposes!

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Hmm...maybe it depends on what you get on your slice? I just get plain cheese and don't recall finding it sweet at all...maybe I'll have to make a 'za run for lunch today for research purposes!

What, you mean you don't get pineapple on yours?

(I was actually referring to the (mildly) donut-smelling crust, I guess more of an aromatic perception of sweetness stemming from my childhood).

However, the pre-made Milanos sitting in the basket are gross (albeit real time-savers), as the juice from the sweet peppers and vinaigrette creeps into the rolls, even the hard rolls, and for some reason the interplay with the provolone takes on the aroma of Play Doh, maybe after having been sheathed in the paper wrap for a period of time - even a bag of kettle chips can't save these poor doomed Milanos although hot peppers have a great ability to conceal.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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However, the pre-made Milanos sitting in the basket are gross

The first time I went, it was so busy that I didn't want to wait, so I had one of these. It was OK. Just OK enough to make me order a freshly made sandwich the next time.

That's when I tasted what all the hype is about.

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(I posted this on Jason's site dcfoodies.com. He recently went to the Italian Store and also gave a big thumbs up for the pizza!):

Well, my husband and I went there yesterday to stock up on some frozen cannelloni (sp?) but alas they were out 'til Tuesday.

We did take a ticket as soon as we walked in, in case we wanted a hoagie (of course we did, don't be silly). Number 32 and the light said number 17.

So, we got one slice of plain cheese pizza to enjoy while we waited. Holy New York pizza, Batman, this IS the real deal.

Just opening the triangular box made me happy. It was cheesy, thin and glistened with grease. We were transported home.

No sooner were we almost through sharing the slice (we were outside at one of the tables, husband looking in attentively at the ever changing deli numbers) when our number came up for a hoagie.

We drove to the mall, grabbed a bench by the WWII Memorial and delighted in the meaty treasure. Then walked off about a fifth of it back to the car!!!

Definitely go for the pizza.

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MMM said:
Following this suggestion, I contacted Beth Wolfe at Siema who steered me to The Italian Store  on Lee Highway in Arlington where I found 3 different Chiarli Lambruscos and one other.  So at least I'm ready for the antipasto course of our "Splendid Table" dinner on New Year's Eve.  :)   And, by the way, The Italian Store has a very interesting selection of Italian wines to peruse.

They have the most wonderful sandwiches, I mean truly destination-worthy sandwiches. If anyone decides to visit them, be sure and budget some time to wait for a sandwich order and buy some other lovely comestibles while you're at it.

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The Italian Store is featuring newly imported sopressata and bresaola. These two meats are cut-to-order which makes a big difference over the pre-cut slices sitting in the bins. Get a small sub, with hard roll, spicy sopressata (they have spicy and mild), bresaola, provolone, lettuce, tomato, dressing, hot peppers and oregano for $8.19.

Fortunately, their chocolate-chip cookies contain margarine, so any caloric cash-register crisis is quickly quelled by inspecting the ingredients.

Rocks.

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I will have to return for that. I can't tell you how many times I have read the entire Sunday Post waiting for sandwiches, only to wonder if it was really worth it. My complaint has always been the quality of the ingredients... so in this post I see inspiration for another trip. (My suggestion is to get a latte and paper at Starbucks next door to help you through the wait.)

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I was JUST there yesterday.

I can't remember the name of the sub that I bought (for lunch) but I bought 4 slices of the White Pizza to take home for dinner (didn't want to wait for a whole one) and they were OUTSTANDING, just really, really delicious crust and not too greasy. It was just right, and I'll certainly go back, probably phoning in an order ahead of time.

Unless you go right at peak grocery store hours, parking in Lyon Village shopping center shouldn't be a problem.

I'd like to go back when I have more time.

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I will have to return for that.  I can't tell you how many times I have read the entire Sunday Post waiting for sandwiches, only to wonder if it was really worth it.  My complaint has always been the quality of the ingredients... so in this post I see inspiration for another trip.  (My suggestion is to get a latte and paper at Starbucks next door to help you through the wait.)

Call ahead. Last time I called ahead on a busy day and they had two people dedicated to phone orders. 15 min later I get there, take a number just in case, it was 63, the ticket sign said 12. My stuff was ready to go, no wait, except for the surreptitous pepperoni slice.

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Call ahead. Last time I called ahead on a busy day and they had two people dedicated to phone orders. 15 min later I get there, take a number just in case, it was 63, the ticket sign said 12. My stuff was ready to go, no wait, except for the surreptitous pepperoni slice.

Can you call ahead for pizza as well as subs??

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Get a small sub, with hard roll, spicy sopressata (they have spicy and mild), bresaola, provolone, lettuce, tomato, dressing, hot peppers and oregano for $8.19.

"Gee, I'll just have this small sub and then I'll go running later this afternoon."

Yeah, right.

And three hours later, you too can feel like a dessicated Blippo.

Some people here have wanted to see what I look like. I just took my picture - here it is.

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The one downside to the Italian Store is, indeed, the wait. You can, however, as mentioned above, call ahead for subs AND for pizza. And during the summer, they have some very expensive, but very delicious local tomatoes -- real tomatoes, that smell, feel, and taste like they should. Craig's invented a lovely recipe for these gems:

Take a beautiful tomato. Cut a "hat" off the top. Scoop out the seeds. Rinse with rice wine vinegar and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Fill with 4% cottage cheese. Top with lemon pepper. Put the hat back on. Serve.

Perfect for a hot summer lunch! And because we live in the apartments kitty-corner from the store (I manage them, too, so if you're ever looking for a fabulous place to live :lol: ), it's good "on a whim" food, too...

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You can call also ahead for deli items and pizza dough as well as subs and pizza. I've called my deli order in on several occasions and arrive to have it all waiting for me at the front. You just have to let them know by weight how much you want of each item. It turns what can ordinarily be a 20-30 minute visit into a 2-3 minute trip, depending on how long the cash register lines are.

As for the pizza dough, I really like it. I've never bought a pizza there but we buy dough from there a couple times a month. They've got balls of dough in the freezer case but I find the fresh (sizes are large and extra-large) dough much more convenient to work with. Cooked on parchment paper on unglazed tiles in a 500 degree oven (thanks mktye!), the crust is nicely crisp on the bottom with a good level of chewiness. Compared with Trader Joe's dough, I find the Italian store's dough much easier to work with, it doesn't spring back quite as much when I stretch it.

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Their sparse website has their sandwich and pizza menu: www.ItalianStore.com

So it turns out that the pizza which enthralled me the other day was this:

PIZZA BIANCA

An old world specialty made with fresh garlic, olive oil,

imported fontina cheese, spices and mozzarella.

And the sub that I enjoyed so much was this:

The Genoa

Thin slices of mortadella (Italy's favorite luncheon meat) topped with genoa salami and

provolone cheese.

After re-reading this thread today, I just couldn't help myself, I had to go back tonight, where I treated myself to this:

The

MUFFULETTA

Round Sicillian bread, over stuffed with mortadella, provolone,

smoked prosciutto & genoa salami, topped off with olive condite and

our famous olive oil dressing! Serves two

My stomach is very happy tonight. :lol:

It should be noted that they are not open late. They close at 9 during the week and 8 on Saturdays. They stop taking pizza orders 45 minutes before closing, so be forewarned.

Luckily, I live 3 miles away, which is 7 minutes post rush hour. I was there and back home all in the space of 20 minutes. Beats waiting for a delivery, which can take anywhere from 25-90 minutes.

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My experiences at the Italian store have been all but wonderful. I have failed to find anything there that remotely resembles anything Italian with the exception of a decent wine selection. Their fare is gaffone italiano for americanos and they do that well. Otherwise the Italian Anti-defamation League might ask them to cease and desist use of the word Italian in any of their preparations.

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Well, I waited 90 minutes yesterday (Super Bowl Sunday) for my white pizza, and it was well worth the wait.

They were absolutely slammed, and I understand that SBS is their busiest day of the year. They normally close at 6:00 on Sundays, and I left there at 6:30 with some big lines behind me.

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My experiences at the Italian store have been all but wonderful.  I have failed to find anything there that remotely resembles anything Italian with the exception of a decent wine selection.  Their fare is  gaffone italiano for americanos and they do that well.  Otherwise the Italian Anti-defamation League might ask them to cease and desist use of the word Italian in any of their preparations.

What is the basis of your claim? If you mean that their pizza and subs and prepared pastas do not exactly replicate the styles of Italy, you are correct. Then again, neither do almost any Italian-style delis anywhere in the U.S., including New York or New Jersey. Should they have to call themselves "The Italian-American Store" to satisfy you?

In fact, what is an authentic Italian restaurant or deli? In Italy, all food is regional; since the people who live there think of themselves as Milanese or Romans or Venetians, etc., first and Italians second, there really is no national cuisine if you want to be 100% accurate. When I ordered a pizza margherita in Liguria I got a very different pizza than the one I ordered in Rome (the former had oregano instead of basil, for what reason I could not fathom, given the abundance of basil in Liguria). But both pizzas were fantastic (the one in Rome, a true Neapolitan style pizza, was so thin and the oven burned so hot that the pizza was done almost instantly, and the crust burnt around the edges).

The quality of the Italian Store's food is wonderful and priced fairly; you cannot get better subs with "Italian" ingredients (salami, mortadella, proscuitto, peppers, etc.) in any deli the DC area that I know of. Their stuffed shells in marinara sauce is wonderful, the pizza is thin crust with real mozarella and a good tomato sauce, and I've been told they have an awesome meatball sub . And the service is swift and custom orders are welcomed instead of being treated as a burden. Their staff is knowledgable and the owner interesting to talk to when he's around.

Then again, I hope you don't return, because the wait is too long whenever I'm there anyway. :lol:

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I managed to find The Italian Store today on my run between Alexandria and North Arlington. I was not disappointed. Actually, that's a bit of an understatement.

I took my number, and waited maybe 15 minutes--long enough to rummage around among their "grocery" items and find a few things to take home. When it was my turn, I ordered a large Philly with everything except hot peppers (maybe next time I'll ask for 1 or 2). A small probably would have done, but I happily consumed the whole large sandwich.

There were 3 or 4 kinds of meat on the roll, and provolone, as well as shredded lettuce, onions, pickled sweet peppers, oil & vinegar dressing, and oregano--oh yeah, and tomatoes.

It was the closest I've tasted to the hoagies of my childhood in Philadelphia, several decades ago. I think the ones I remember might have had a little more oregano on them, but otherwise, it was so close that it transported me 150 miles north and many years back in time.

It was warm and sunny enough for me to enjoy my lunch at one of their outside tables--a perfect lunch break on an otherwise tiring day.

Rocks, I know you suggested I call ahead, and I even had the menu from their website in the car. But the wait wasn't bad, and I wanted to browse anyway. After I finished my sandwich, I went back in and bought a package of pasta with white clam sauce from the refrigerator for tomorrow's lunch, some squid ink pasta, 2 kilos of Tipo 00 flour, and a kilo of Trapani sale.

I'll have to find some good excuses to go back to that part of town soon!

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I stopped by the deli on Wedsnesday night. I ordered ahead to get a meatball sub, a muffuletta, and a milano. When I arrived at the appointed time, they realized that the order never got out of the back, the meatball was ready and the others were not. They quickly made the other subs and boxed them up for me. The subs were fantastic, much better than the crap I have been eating downtown lately.

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It's always best to call ahead, and if they say "20 minutes" for a pizza, figure 30. If they say "45 minutes" figure an hour.

Also, they stop taking pizza orders 1 hour before closing time (check the website for their hours of operation).

I understand that on Super Bowl Sunday, they did a crazy number of pizzas. They can actually have 60 in the ovens at one time (if my source is to be believed, either that or I'm not remembering correctly, because that sounds like a lot of ovens for such a small store). I also hear that they are getting a consultant to help them streamline what they're doing and improve upon service.

At least one can always wait for their food over a drink at Starbucks or go shopping at Giant or CVS.

I'm completely addicted to their white pizza. I'm starting to wonder if it is laced with cocaine :lol:

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Consultant- for what? It's one of the best places in town for subs and pizza. I agree with you, the white pizza-with sausage and pepperoni(my favorite combo) is addictive as hell. If we want streamlined or quicker service- the place to go is called Subway or Dominos- both of which suck snail butt. Call ahead like you suggested or hang out there and you'll end up buying some wine, cheese, pasta, cookies, or something else you don't really need at the moment, but looks really good cause your starving for whatever it is you just ordered. Somethings aren't supposed to be ready in 10 minutes or less or your next visit is $1.00 off.

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I just had my first taste of the Italian Store and I will definitely be returning. I happened in there this afternoon because I was at the bike store next door looking at baby joggers.

The place was virtually empty at 4:30 so I didn't need to take a number. As I was not really intending on getting anything, I just decided to get a few slices for me and my husband to try.

They were excellent! I agree, the closest thing to NY pizza I've had in DC. After rewarming in the oven, the crust had a nice snap, I loved the oregano and there was a perfect amount of topping.

I grabbed some menus and look forward to trying a sandwich or two next time.

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by the by, i was in that area this morning. the parking lot is currently under constrution and at least 25% of the capacity is lost. just a heads up to anyone that might be heading there this weekend....expect more than the normal level of parking drama.

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I just had my first taste of the Italian Store and I will definitely be returning. I happened in there this afternoon because I was at the bike store next door looking at baby joggers.

The place was virtually empty at 4:30 so I didn't need to take a number. As I was not really intending on getting anything, I just decided to get a few slices for me and my husband to try.

They were excellent! I agree, the closest thing to NY pizza I've had in DC. After rewarming in the oven, the crust had a nice snap, I loved the oregano and there was a perfect amount of topping.

I grabbed some menus and look forward to trying a sandwich or two next time.

Great call on the IC 'za. When I headed downtown for the GMU-UConn tilt I stopped at IC and got two slices of 'shroom 'za. I was able to eat it one-handed while driving because the crust held up so well. Generous on the 'shrooms too.

IC also has Martin's chips from York PA and Berger cookies from B'more, both hard to find in this area.

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The prosciutto San Daniele was significantly cheaper here than at two other well-regarded shops I visited within a few days.
Just be sure to check that what you are getting is what you pay for. Last time I was there, I got some prosciutto San Daniele and didn't realize until I got home that I was charged for Speck. Not a huge deal, I think the Speck is about $2 more per pound, but next time I'll pay better attention.
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My wife loves this place, however I find it a bit over rated. For some reason, I think the sandwiches or too cold. Just a thought.

Buy sandwich and slice. Drive to home/park/playground, eat slice on way so the wife doesn't find out, sandwich should be room temperature when you arrive.

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I grew up consumming Italian Store Food and usually have enjoyed it. This time around maybe an increase in business at lunchtime due to the game caused for a slip in product. as for the outcome, no problems.

I agree with you on the Pizza. Maybe by the slice it's better, but the one time I ordered a whole pie it had no flavor and just bad. This place is really over-rated. I have even tried some of their pancetta for a pasta I was making and that was bad too..way to salty. The bread is pretty bad too. I give up!

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you know what's good???? Take a half eaten capri sub from the Italian Store, leave it in the fridge overnight (this is very important). Remember that it's there first thing in the morning. Take out lettuce and tomatoes. Place in medium hot pan and top with 6 other heavy pans. Cook till first side is crisp, flip, repeat. Open sandwich, place handfull of jalapeno chips in center, smash and eat........soooooooo gooooood.

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I went to the Italian Store once again hoping that I would get a sub of the quality that everyone I know continually raves about, and once again, I left extremely disappointed. The prosciutto is always dry and tough to break apart, the danish ham is over salted, and their "special dressing" is flavorless.

Maybe I'm a bit of a sandwich snob coming from the NY/Philly area, but does everyone like this place simply because there are really no other passable sub places in the area? Or am I missing something?

The pizza is very good, however, I recommend the white pizza with chicken and roasted red pepper flakes. Delicious.

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I'm heading out for the first round of errands shortly and after lunch was thinking of running out to either the Italian Store or Litteri (if the latter is still open) for the first time. Strictly for groceries since I'm not eating hoagies these days. Sausage. Cheese. Olives. Hot chili pepper things from Calabria.

Is it worth it for someone who's not ordering a sandwich? Anyone able to compare the two?

N.B. Yes, I am a food snob when it comes to Italian supplies. However, I grew up in an Italian-American neighborhood, so I am down with diasporic transformation, too.

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I think Litteri has a better, and larger, selection of products if you're not getting a sandwich. Lots of olive oils, little random tinned food items, anchovies, etc. However, the Italian Store has more room to move around in (which is shocking since the place is pretty small) because Litteri crams a million items into their space. On those occasions when I go (and it has been a while, so if stadium development has closed the place down, I apologize for the outdated info), I end up spending way more time in there than I expected - partly because of the selection and partly because you have to maneuver around people to see the shelf you want.

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I think Litteri has a better, and larger, selection of products if you're not getting a sandwich. Lots of olive oils, little random tinned food items, anchovies, etc. However, the Italian Store has more room to move around in (which is shocking since the place is pretty small) because Litteri crams a million items into their space. On those occasions when I go (and it has been a while, so if stadium development has closed the place down, I apologize for the outdated info), I end up spending way more time in there than I expected - partly because of the selection and partly because you have to maneuver around people to see the shelf you want.

Where is (or was) Litteri? I've never heard of it, but am currently a fan of the Italian Store and would love to see a place with a better selection (if it's still around).

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Litteri's deserves more attention then it gets on the board. If you aren't eating at Italian Store, and aren't claustaphobic, head to Litteri's. The selection and prices are hard to beat. It is no where near the stadium so development of that area isn't a problem. It's right off of Florida Ave. before you hit Galludet in the same area as the DC Farmer's Market.

Italian Store's pizza and subs are great, but not necessarily worth the trek if you aren't ordering anything to eat.

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Well, folks, I am going to make it my mission to venture out to all the Italian grocery stores--or other suppliers of Italian/Italianate supplies that I can get to via public transportation in the area and report back with subjective comparative analysis in the process. Eventually, I'd like to put in a plug for a DR field trip to DiBruni's & Capogirl in Philadelphia which I am sure puts anything around here to shame.

I actually ended up at Litteri's today, instead. Report to follow (Middle-eastern; I made a boatload of taboulleh & falafel this week) lunch, shortly. So, I'll provide impressions on this establishment later. Thanks for the advice.

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