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“In Bocca al Luppo, an Italian Soccer-Themed Pizzeria, Opens in Glover Park”


2400 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

From a press release:

“Following shortly after the successful opening of Italian Bar, In Bocca al Lupo–meaning “in the mouth of the wolf”, or, “good luck”–opened today as the newest concept from husband-and-wife hospitality powerhouse Carolyn and Massimo Papetti. The Italian soccer-themed pizzeria is located at 2400 Wisconsin Avenue NW in D.C.’s Glover Park neighborhood.

“We very strongly believe in a sense of community, which is exactly why we wanted to bring In Bocca al Lupo to the Glover Park neighborhood,” says Carolyn Papetti. “Our children go to school nearby, they play soccer nearby, and with this in mind we wanted to create a space that is the perfect place to come together as a community in a casual, yet fun setting on the same block as our other spots.”

The core offering of In Bocca al Lupo is the Roman-style pizza–Pizza Romana Tonda Bassa. Different from any traditional American pizza or the Italian Neapolitan pizza that many are familiar with, Pizza Romana Tonda Bassa is a round pizza with a crispy, cracker thin crust. In many parts of Italy, this Roman-style pizza is referred to as “pizza bassa” (low pizza) to distinguish it from “pizza alta” (or high pizza – the Neapolitan style). The pizza is served unsliced, which keeps the oils from leaking to the crust and making it soggy.
The pizza menu at In Bocca al Luppo is broken up into two sections; Pizza Bianche and Pizza Rossa. Each section offers a range of more traditional styles such as Quatro Formaggi and Margherita, as well as unique items like Crocchettos (a ham and cheese pizza with potato croquettes). In addition to pizza, the menu also includes a selection of Bruschetta and Fritto, as well as Cacio e Pepe Arancini and Suppli (Roman fried rice balls tomato sauce and mozzarella).

The kitchen is helmed by Pizzaioli Maestro Fulvio de Rosa, a cousin of Massimo’s from Salerno, Italy. De Rosa has previously worked with renowned names in Italy such as Garbriele Bonci, one of Rome’s most esteemed pizzaiolo’s.

In Bocca al Lupo also has a full-service bar, which specializes in Italian cocktails such as Aperol Spritz, Negroni, and more. There will also be wine and beer on tap.

The design–spearheaded by worldly Italian-American designer Esther Konrad–is an Italian soccer lover’s paradise. Green and red banquettes, an ode to the colors of the Italian flag, surround the room. Imported Italian red chairs and yellow barstools colorfully accent the bar. A small stage resides in the back corner with an upright piano, which will host live performances on weekends. While there are many nods to Italian soccer throughout the space, the most prominent will be the mural of Italy’s top eleven soccer players of all time (getting installed at the end of the month). Massimo Papetti, a die-hard Roma fan, has, of course, chosen Francesco Totti as one of the players featured.

In Bocca al Lupo is a continuation of the couple’s vision to bring the best of Italian culture and hospitality to D.C. Hailing from Rome, Massimo met Carolyn while she was living in Italy. He followed her back to the United States in 2005, with the dream of one day opening his own restaurant that reminded him of home. Carolyn, who for the last five years was the Director of Food & Beverage at an iconic DC private dining and social club, is a seasoned hospitality veteran who rose through the ranks managing some of The Hampton’s most sought-after restaurants such as Nick & Toni’s and Cittanuova.

Jump forward several years, and the Papetti’s have firmly established themselves as players in the D.C. food scene. The couple’s first restaurant which opened in 2018, I’m Eddie Cano, has continuously received critical acclaim from the Michelin Guide and The Washington Post, and is both a dining destination and a neighborhood favorite. In May 2022, the Papetti’s opened Italian Bar next door as an ode to the stand-up style ‘bars’ that dot the streets of Rome, which serve as a communal gathering place to enjoy Lavazza espresso coffee, pastries, panini, and aperitivo.

In Bocca al Lupo is now open for indoor dining, al fresco dining, and carryout 7 nights a week from 5:00-10:00 pm. There will be extended hours on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant operates on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a waitlist powered by Yelp’s’ No Wait app. Patrons residing within one mile of In Bucca al Lupo can add their names to the waitlist. All ordering is done via QR code via the popular Square platform. In an effort to offer both fair wages and fair prices, the restaurant includes a 20% hospitality charge to all checks with no additional prompting for extra tipping.

The Papetti’s plan to add weekend lunch service this fall. There will also be a public opening party in September, for which tickets are going on sale soon. The In Bocca al Lupo space will also be available for full buyout and partial buyout private events.”

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