New Italian Restaurant from Chef at Alba Osteria coming to CityCenter this Spring

Photo by PoPville flickr user clif_burns

From a press release:

“D.C. chef Amy Brandwein announces plans to open Centrolina, a 4,075-square-foot Italian market and restaurant at 974 Palmer Alley in downtown’s expansive CityCenterDC development in Spring 2015. Centrolina, Brandwein’s first solo restaurant outing, will be open daily for lunch and dinner. The kitchen will serve a 52-seat dining room, 12-seat bar and 32-seat patio. The market will offer a selection of imported Italian specialty items along with meat, fish and produce from local farms, a selection of house-made items and a barista-serviced coffee program.

“Centrolina is directly inspired by a specific type of shopping and dining establishment that I have come to love on my travels through Italy,” said chef/owner Amy Brandwein. “From major cities to small country villages, you can find small, combined markets and restaurants, where a huge part of the charm comes from a blurred line between the dining room and the market. I remember enjoying a meal and watching the chef walk from the kitchen to the market to get a scoop of pomodorini for burrata. The magic was in the proximity to both the materials in the market and the craftsmanship of the chef. We’re going to capture that at Centrolina. It’s not going to just be an Italian dining experience or just an Italian shopping experience; it’s going to be a chef-minded Italian food experience.”


Centrolina will feature a concise and frequently-rotating menu of authentic regional Italian with around 15 dishes at any given time, including antipasti, primi and secondi courses. The menu will always showcase a number of regional dishes, whether that’s seafood dishes inspired from Sardinia and Sicily, Focaccia di Recco from Liguria, Pici Al Coniglio from Emilia Romagna and wood roasted meat and game, depending on the season and what is in the market. Market availability will be the guiding principal of the menu, and Brandwein plans to maintain a sense of interconnectedness between her kitchen and Centrolina’s retail wing. Rather than attempting to be a comprehensive Italian emporium, the market will reflect Brandwein’s own experiences with Italian cooking and the products and produce she loves and uses.

The beverage program will feature an all-Italian wine list that combines imported Italian greats with the best of Virginia; a beer selection that skews heavily local; and a short list of classic Italian cocktails given a contemporary twist.


The wine menu’s marriage of the best Italian imports with regional favorites is echoed in the market where imported cheeses and specialty items share counter space with fantastic local produce, meat and seafood. Grocery items will include dried pasta from all over Italy as well as fresh pasta made in the Centrolina kitchen, accompanied by up to a dozen house-made sauces. The lineup of Italian specialty items will include anchovies, olives, capers, vinegar, olive oil and sweets. Wine and craft beer will also be available for sale.

The market will include a barista-serviced coffee counter as well as grab-and go lunch offerings like sandwiches, pasta, meatballs and salads.


Brandwein worked with D.C.-based architecture/design firm CORE to create Centrolina’s fresh, light and relaxed look. The calm and mainly neutral color palette combines white, cream, grey and blond-wood tones with sophisticated punches of turquoise, terracotta and fuchsia. Smooth, white metal finishes join white-painted brick, leather, light wood, and polished concrete to create a light and easy Californian aesthetic. The quick-stop counter and coffee bar piled high with fresh grab-and-go sandwiches will be the first thing customers see when they walk into the market. As they browse the fresh and prepared-food displays, they will find the restaurant and bar space nestled behind. Restaurant guests, with views of fresh market produce, an open kitchen and terracotta-clad pizza oven, will be immersed in the cooking experience as they dine.


Centrolina is Amy Brandwein’s first solo restaurant project. Before setting her sights on her own place, Brandwein served as chef de cuisine at Alba Osteria in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the team at Alba Osteria, she launched her own hospitality consulting company, Chef AmyB and served as executive chef at Casa Nonna, BLT Restaurant Group’s first Italian concept in the District. Previously Brandwein served as executive chef for Chef Roberto Donna at Galileo, Laboratorio, Osteria del Galileo and the Galileo Grill. Chef Brandwein is a longtime supporter of local charities, including So Others Might Eat, DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs.”

9 Comment

  • I cook much more than I eat out, so I’m really excited to check out the market.

  • So… Eataly Jr.?

  • It will be interesting to see how this restaurant fares with Casa Luca just a couple of blocks up the street.

  • Not sure if the “Eataly Jr.” comment is supposed to be a slight or merely an observation…but this sounds like a great idea to me. I love the Eataly concept but replace Batali with a local chef and take the scale slightly smaller – definitely excited for this. I have high hopes for the market and I’m pleased to see some local representation at City Center.

    • Not a slight at all – as you said, Eataly concept but smaller. Eataly Jr.

    • I’d also be excited about an “Eataly Jr,” as you described it. Eataly itself can be very overwhelming at times, and it would be nice to bring down the scale and have it be driven by local talent.

  • I’m still hoping for the rumors of an Uniqlo to come to fruition.

  • clevelanddave

    Chef Amy makes the best pasta (and many other wonderful dishes) in the city. Great taste, mouth feel, composition. While much smaller than Eataly if the market is well curated and the prices are not unreasonable this will be a great go to for home chefs too. I hope she also does classes- she is a great teacher. Excited!

  • This is great news – I’m really looking forward to this.

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