Alphonse Italian Market & Osteria Opening in 2-3 Weeks on U Street, An early peek inside

1212 U Street, NW

It’s been a long time since we first heard the scuttlebutt about a new Italian place back in 2012. Alphonse Italian Market and Osteria, from the owners of Russia House and Biergarten Haus, is located at 1212 U Street, NW next to Ulah Bistro by the U Street metro.

I had to do a double take yesterday when I walked by and the front garage door window was open:

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One of the owners gave me a little tour and said they should be open in 2-3 weeks. The downstairs area will open daily at 5am for breakfast then lunch and will transform into a proper restaurant in the evening. The space is still getting finishes touches so it’s a bit hard to envision but there will be lots of counter top/bar seating, booth/table seating in the back.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take photos of the upstairs but that will be home to an additional fine dining restaurant space and will host cooking classes from time to time.
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Pizza oven imported from Italy:

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Lots more details as they get closer to opening in a couple of weeks but in the meantime we can appreciate the transformation from the former Twelve12 space:


12 Comment

  • It looks really nice. But MAN is there a TON of competition with all the newly-opened Italian places around the corner on 14th: Etto, Ghibellina, Lupo Verde, Piola, MCafe, not to mention old standby Posto. I HOPE this place has a slightly different concept — maybe cheaper prices, more of a traditional mom-and-pop style basic pasteria. But it seems like a few of these places aren’t going to survive, as bustling as the area is, there are so many folks who are going to want to eat Italian food night in and night out.

    • If they are true to “Osteria” they will be more informal, mom & pop than uber pricey. That means your lasagna bolognese will cost $14 instead of $19.

  • Looks like it will be a good addition to U Street. In other delicatessen news, does anyone know what the deal is with Meats & Foods in Bloomingdale? I asked the guys when they expected to open when I saw them at DC Brau, and they said “6 weeks or so.” That was back in November.

    • I actually emailed the 13th Street Meats folks yesterday asking them for an ETA. As of yet, not reply. Their most recent twitter/facebook posts make it sound like they’re working out a few more details/issues.

      My guess is that it’ll be another month or two.

    • Good question. We’re across the street and looking forward to their opening.

    • I look in there just about every time I go by. It’s looking much closer to opening now – they’ve made a lot of progress recently. Still taking too long for my tastes, but as long as it comes “eventually”…

  • This sounds like a treat! Classes, breakfast, market — I’m excited!

  • Very excited since I live around the corner. But I’ll believe it is actually open when I see it. It’s been delayed quite a bit already. 2-3 weeks sounds ambitious.

  • I’d be more inclined to believe it’s coming soon if there was glass in the upstairs windows. What I’m really hoping for from this place, though, is that they will sell good, creamy, fresh ricotta, which I can pick up on my way home from the metro

  • In the press leading up to Lupo Verde, I heard quite a bit about their retail cheese/meat counter and bakery, and it really sounded like they would be selling fresh pasta, housemade cheeses, breads, etc. That sounded great for the neighborhood – thus far, I don’t think Lupo Verde has been selling anything in a retail capacity, however. If Alphonse can fill that niche, I think it will do very well.

    Ghibellina and Etto are both fantastic restaurants with different strengths. In my opinion, Ghibellina is great for housemade fresh pastas (affordable and really delicious) and Neapolitan pizzas – Etto is great for seasonal veggie antipasti (always numerous options), cured meats and seafood, and interesting drinks (housemade vermouth in their Negronis). Their pizzas are good (not strictly Neapolitan, and they always seem heavy to me), but they aren’t usually what I gravitate to at Etto.

  • I covet that wood fired oven of theirs.

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