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Alpine, In North Arlington since 1966 - Closed


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My wife and I are looking to eat in Arlington this Wednesday and be finished by 8pm. Looking for something interesting and good that will not break the bank and will leave our tastes intact for a wine tasting later that evening.

Thanks in advance

Try The Alpine. I know some of you are going to laugh about the suggestion, but the food is pretty good. The decor truly takes you back to when the 3 brothers took over the space in 1976. The service is decent, not terribly knowledgable.

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Try The Alpine. I know some of you are going to laugh about the suggestion, but the food is pretty good. The decor truly takes you back to when the 3 brothers took over the space in 1976. The service is decent, not terribly knowledgable.
I like the Alpine too. There must be some other thread that overlaps with this, because I remember mentioning it before. I was in the minority ;) .
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I used to live practically across the street form the Alpine. I remember some, what I thought at the time (well before the turn of the century by crikey!), delicious meals consumed there . I particularly enjoyed the stuffed veal chop. The last itme I ate there, a few years ago, however, I thought the kitchen had really slipped and I haven't returned since.

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I used to live practically across the street form the Alpine. I remember some, what I thought at the time (well before the turn of the century by crikey!), delicious meals consumed there . I particularly enjoyed the stuffed veal chop. The last itme I ate there, a few years ago, however, I thought the kitchen had really slipped and I haven't returned since.

I feel the same way. When I first moved to Arlington, we got take out from Alpine (seafood ravioli) and I remember it being pretty damn good. I forgot about it for a couple years, moved close by, and then ordered again and was really disappointed. I got ravioli in the cardinal sauce and thought it had everything bad about pasta (heavy, messy) and none of the good things (flavor, texture). I tried it again a few more times at my roommates' urging and didn't like the pizza or lasagna, as they were both pretty pricey for what should be cheap Italian and were relatively flavorless despite the fact that both were really greasy and heavy.

If I'm going to have a 3000 calorie meal, I want to be sure that it tastes good and is worth it. This place is not, in my opinion.

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The whole place would have to be leveled as it has seen better days. Interesting side note is that the whole block east is zoned for retail/residential, so if you have the bucks, level the place and build your 3 story condo units with retail on the first floor.

Word is that the building is for sale. A cool 4 million.... Would be nice to see this relic leave and allow for new blood.....
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The whole place would have to be leveled as it has seen better days. Interesting side note is that the whole block east is zoned for retail/residential, so if you have the bucks, level the place and build your 3 story condo units with retail on the first floor.

Actually there is a developer putting together a deal that would include the garden store lot, that is owned by the true value hardstore guy. He is also working on the strip across the way including the Merchants tire and auto. Nothing firm, but the plans do include a restaurant. There was also discussion of that strip along lee highway, by George Mason. The issue there is they are Individualy owned. I can tell you the county is looking into blight and how states like Ohio addressed.

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Actually there is a developer putting together a deal that would include the garden store lot, that is owned by the true value hardstore guy. He is also working on the strip across the way including the Merchants tire and auto. Nothing firm, but the plans do include a restaurant. There was also discussion of that strip along lee highway, by George Mason. The issue there is they are Individualy owned. I can tell you the county is looking into blight and how states like Ohio addressed.

Maybe I should stay where I am.....

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I can tell you the county is looking into blight and how states like Ohio addressed.

Having spent my childhood in New York City in the 1970s, I'm not convinced these areas meet the definition of "blight." And I happily patronize the Caribbean Grill for their Cuban sandwich over some of the places in Clarendon any day.

::clambering down off soapbox and waiting for Don to delete::

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Maybe I should stay where I am.....

Don't you dare move! Your close proximity to me is a God-send :blink:

I haven't been to the Alpine in forever, but it certainly strikes me as a dining anachronism, i.e. menu sensibility from the '60's/'70's, old-fashioned atmosphere. I always thought it was strange because it didn't have windows, it didn't seem terribly inviting. Maybe they were going for "cozy"?

I understand, perhaps incorrectly, that it used to be a big hang-out for players on the Washington Redskins. I can't really understand why, though, as it is neither anywhere near Redskins Park (old or new) or R.F.K. Stadium. It IS near Arlington Hospital, though, which is where some of their physicians used to be in residence, so maybe it was a convenient place to eat either before or after a visit to a team doctor.

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I understand, perhaps incorrectly, that it used to be a big hang-out for players on the Washington Redskins. I can't really understand why, though, as it is neither anywhere near Redskins Park (old or new) or R.F.K. Stadium. It IS near Arlington Hospital, though, which is where some of their physicians used to be in residence, so maybe it was a convenient place to eat either before or after a visit to a team doctor.
Apparently the owner and Jack Kent Cooke were friends (according to reliable sources)...

Anyone have any recent visits to report upon? It seems there are some who still like it and some who used to, but not so much anymore. Looks like it's being considered as a location for our office holiday party - should I lobby for/against it, or just stay out of it (probably my preferred option - I've been involved in planning too many of these things and given how late this planning is, I don't think any of the options will be great - happy holidays - :blink: )

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Apparently the owner and Jack Kent Cooke were friends (according to reliable sources)...

Anyone have any recent visits to report upon? It seems there are some who still like it and some who used to, but not so much anymore. Looks like it's being considered as a location for our office holiday party - should I lobby for/against it, or just stay out of it (probably my preferred option - I've been involved in planning too many of these things and given how late this planning is, I don't think any of the options will be great - happy holidays - :blink: )

Should I take one for the team? It is right across the street.... Anyone want to buy me lunch? :P

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I haven't been to the Alpine in forever, but it certainly strikes me as a dining anachronism, i.e. menu sensibility from the '60's/'70's, old-fashioned atmosphere. I always thought it was strange because it didn't have windows, it didn't seem terribly inviting. Maybe they were going for "cozy"?
The holiday party was Friday, so my report is based on a banquet menu and not the regular menu. Overall, the Alpine served its intended purpose - space for a group with reasonably priced, decent food. It is cozy, lots of wood beams, fireplaces, stained glass, etc...

Hors d'oeuvres - nearly impossible to get to due to their location on one table in a corner that a small group decided to stand in front of until we sat down for dinner. Choices included stuffed mushrooms, mussels, fried calamari, and spinach stuffed ravioli. None were exactly finger food and required a plate and fork to eat. Calamari were decent with (the debated) addition of spicy peppers. The ravioli were ok, but drowned in a heavy cream sauce. Mushrooms were large and filled with spinach (?). Didn't try the mussels but didn't hear good reports.

Dinner started with what turned out to be my favorite dish of the meal - a simple fettucine with marinara. The pasta was fresh and perfectly cooked - makes me want to go back and try some of their other pasta dishes.

Next was a boring iceberg salad doused in an Italian dressing.

Choices for the main included filet mignon with a mushroom sauce, which my +1 ordered. It was by far the biggest filet mignon I've ever laid eyes on. They got the temp (med-rare) right and it was actually pretty good (not Ray's by any stretch, but better than expected). I ordered the Petto di Pollo Amalfi (breast of chicken sautéed with garlic, basil, oregano, white wine, touch of tomato and topped with eggplant, mozzarella cheese). Again, an enormous portion - the full breast - as described above. Chicken was tender and flavor was decent, considering all the elements of the dish - kind of a chicken/eggplant parmigiana, minus breading. Both entrees were accompanied by overcooked, overbuttered green beans and little piped florets of mashed potatoes. The 3rd choice was filet of sole florentine which I didn't taste, but I did see that it equaled the other choices as far as portion size. Dessert was a randomly served, random selection of what looked like pre-made cakes (chocolate, German chocolate, carrot cake)....uninteresting.

So, for about $30 (!) a head, I don't think there's much room for complaint - not many other places you can get a 5-course meal for that, with steak as one of the options. The service was efficient, especially given the size of the group and the choice of entrees. Not super-polished but friendly and helpful. I'd say the Alpine is in the same league as Tom Sarris' Orleans House - an institution of a certain era, which some people love and where others might be able to find something to enjoy while they're there. Chef Ermanno Tonizzo was in the kitchen, as he apparently always is, so there's something to be said for the longevity of the place - it opened in 1966.

(And it lived up to the Redskins hangout reputation - at least one member of the coaching staff was in for dinner at the same time, along with the former player who is the +1 of a member of our staff.)

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Should I take one for the team? It is right across the street.... Anyone want to buy me lunch? :mellow:

I know that this is an old post and that many of these posts are GOSSIP, maybe I can shed light on what is and what is NOT happening with the 42 year old establishement..............

The history of this restaurant starts with the fact that it was the original site of The Evans Farm Inn. It moved in the 60's to its last location. I know this because I have spoken to Mr. Evans quite often. That location was the first in NoVa with air conditioning. It was a bit crude but they used dried ice to cool the restaurant.

The year after that (1964?) it was leased and turned into a restuarant called The Frankenstein. It died in a year, it was quite...............scary to say the least, from what I had seen of it and was told. Really not much else to say for that one year.

It was then for sale, the original owner of the property was the owner of the hardware store. He later went on to sell the hardware store and has since passed. The current owner has no relations to the former owner except they share the same first name, Bill. Up until the Frankenstein, the spot was leased and that is why the Evans Inn moved to McLean. Finally the owner decided to sell the property and restaurant to its current owner of the Alpine.

There were four Italian gentlemen that owned and operated the Alpine, three were chefs and the other was the finance part. After a few years the financier stepped away and one of the original chefs passed away, he was a bit older than the other two chefs. I beieve since about 1979 Pino Gagliardi and Ermanno Tonizzo have owned and operated the restaurant. They were brothers in law, they married sisters. Ermanno Tonizzo had three other brothers that worked side by side with them as chefs, each one leaving the Alpine, one after the other. The three other brothers have since opened their own successful restaurants.

Pino Gagliardi has since retired from the Alpine, I believe about 5 to 7 years ago. That leaves Ermanno Tonizzo as the sole heir and owner of the Alpine. He has been the default face of the Alpine and was well known. He was very close friends with the Redskins team doctor in the 60's and that lead him to meet Jack Kent Cooke and Joe Gibbs. He then became the Official Redskins Chef. He flew with the team to their away games and could be seen walking the sidelines during home games as well.

For those that have not been there, the Alpine is a very large restaurant. In its hey day, the Alpine was THE best restaurant in NoVa. Sure it has seen better days but only one restaurant can say it has been around longer............Clyde's of Georgetown, by one year. It would be great if the Alpine got a face lift, a nip and tuck........that is yet to be seen. It currently is open for business for years to come. Sure it is for sale, like everything else in life. Everything has a price and so does the Alpine. :)

Yes, the entire block on either side is ripe for redevelopment, but I do see it years away. If anyone on this site has lived here for more than ten years (and I'm sure most of you have only lived here less than ten years) Ballston and Clarendon were dumps, even after the metro came in. Glebe and Lee will have its day in the sun, like it used to. It wouldn't take long to redevelop this area, it simply has to wait out the explosive growth of Clarendon and Ballston. You can see that it already has started by the massive redevelopment of 4 square blocks on Glebe, turning apartments into high end condos.

SO, just a little bit of truth of what seemed to be alot of gossip about an old lady called the Alpine. :)

PS..............Don't Indians come from Kilmanrock?

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I know I've posted about the Alpine around here somewhere. When we redid our kitchen (the planning of which took seemingly forever, plus the execution), the cabinet store we used was Voell Custom Kitchens, in the strip mall next to the restaurant. We ate a number of meals at the Alpine while visiting Voell, and I have a soft spot for it. It reminds me of Italian places I went to while growing up in PA.

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My Grandfather actually cooked there part time in the mid-late 60's after he retired from a hotel in DC. I have eaten many a good meal at the Alpine when I was younger. However, on my last visit in late 1990 the food had slid way past anything acceptable and sadly I have never returned. :mellow:

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My Grandfather actually cooked there part time in the mid-late 60's after he retired from a hotel in DC. I have eaten many a good meal at the Alpine when I was younger. However, on my last visit in late 1990 the food had slid way past anything acceptable and sadly I have never returned. :mellow:

Was your Grandfather's name Gino?

Food couldn't have slipped that much, it has been the same menu since the sixties. LOL

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Closed. :lol: Tonight was the last night. Last call for all. Nice renunion for many of us. More news to come. The space has apparently been sold. Not sure what the new owners will do.

That makes me sad. Many, many years ago, we reserved the entire patio for my high school graduation dinner. I have fond memories of the Alpine. It wasn't the greatest, but it was reliable and consistent. I wish them well.

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It saddens me to hear about closing of the Alpine in North Arlington last month. If it had to go, and it can't be La Chaumiere, I hope it is true that it has been bought up by Liberty Tavern, which is also a very good destination. It will be good news to learn that it won't be still one more local bank branch!

The Alpine was a place that's inappropriate for the normal style dining review, because it was not just a restaurant. It was a North Arlington neighborhood institution. The food was actually more than just ok in my opinion though no award winning La Famiglia (Philly) or Spazzo Italian Grill & Wine Bar (Redmond, WA, the Microsoft bedroom community). But, in the day, Alpine had very good Northern Italian cuisine offerings on a quite large menu including Osso Bucco and Spedino (a very nice tenderloin spedino (spit). These did not appear on the menu in recent years, but you could always ask for them and they would happily serve them up for you; and one of my favorite Italian dessert, Spumoni with the traditional vanilla (or whipped cream), chocolate and pistachio ice cream layering cum candied fruit and nuts. August 21 is National Spumoni Day and should be a good time to find it at any self-respecting Italian eatery or deli. It has become somewhat bastardized in some venues in the US, but the Italian way is still the best, and that was the Alpine's way. And there was a fairly large wine menu with reasonable prices including some quite good Chianti Classico Reserva wines from Tuscany using the Sangiovese grape, as required by Italian law, as well as some very good "Super-Tuscans" that are allowed by a special law to blend Sangiovese with grapes of the Bordeaux (usually Cabernet Sauvignon) mainly for the American market.

But for many regulars it was more than an eatery. It was a great place to bring children for a very good and affordable meal (I don't mean in the sense of how the Vienna Inn is a Little League must after games, because the Alpine guests were mostly adults) with something for everyone and welcoming, family-friendly service staff. We started going there not long after it opened. (Thank you, Juventino, for your 29-Feb-08 posting here on the very informative and interesting history of the Alpine.) There were a couple of particularly nice staff members at that time, Adriano a waiter who also worked for Marriott in the World Bank dining room and the maître de, Alfredo, a young blond Cuban man. Alfredo left the Alpine in the 70's (I believe along with one of the chefs) and opened the Marco Polo in Vienna, VA http://www.marcopolocaterers.com, not unlike the Alpine in many ways. I hosted a birthday party for my wife there many years ago and another for our extended family last Easter for their Sunday brunch which we all enjoyed. Alfredo is now in a wheelchair but manages to be all over the place nonetheless checking on this and that to be sure everything is just right.

We have had very enjoyable reunions at the Alpine with dear friends who now live in Arizona whenever they make it back to the East Coast. It will sadden me further to have to inform them of the passing of a shared old friend – the Alpine.

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On 6/2/2010 at 2:15 PM, eatdrinkmore said:

ArlNow is reporting that the owners of Liberty Tavern have purchased the Alpine.

http://www.arlnow.com/2010/06/02/liberty-tavern-group-to-take-over-alpine-restaurant/

I am super, super, super excited about this.

County Board Approves Request To Eliminate Off-Site Parking At New Children’s School on Lee Highway, by Kalina Newman, on ARLnow.com.  It is too bad this location could not have been preserved as a restaurant.  I suspect that the costs of bringing the facility up to code as a public establishment was probably just too great.  That place was a warren of steps and turns.

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I've enjoyed many meals here in the 1980s, usually heavy dishes with cream-laden sauces....those were the days.

If this board ever wants to put together a slightly inadvisable "Spook Hangout" topic, the Alpine would make the list. Many overt gatherings of CIA and DIA heavies were had here, usually on regular occasions. The location was roughly equidistant from Langley and the Pentagon.

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