Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap Opens in Alexandria, VA, Next Month

Rendering (Credit: Paul Beckmann of Beckmann Architects)

From our friends at Lena's Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap...

Jason Yates & Alexandria Restaurant Partners Will Open Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap This October

Owner Jason Yates and Alexandria Restaurant Partners (ARP) David Clapp and Dave Nicholas are pleased to announce the October anticipated opening of Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap, located in the Rosemount area of Alexandria, Virginia at 401 E. Braddock Road. Those visiting the 100-seat restaurant, including a 68-seat outdoor seasonal patio, will enjoy authentic Neapolitan pizza made with seasonal, all-natural ingredients. Paul Beckmann of Beckmann Architects is designing the restaurant to support the vision of the Yates family, which is to provide a simple, authentic neighborhood destination. Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap will serve lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.

Italian born Chef Mauro Molino has been tapped to run the kitchen at Lena’s and will work under the direction of ARP’s Corporate Executive Chef Graham Duncan. Mauro Molino brings 22 plus years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry to his new role. He received his degree in Restaurant and Hotel Management from Istituto Professionale in Torino, Italy in 1989. His first stint in the kitchen was working as an entremetier at the Dock Milano Restaurant in Torino, Italy, where he served from 1993 to 1995. Molino then served for three years as a sous chef at Daturi e Motta, a catering company in Torino, Italy, before relocating to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1998 to serve as executive sous chef of the historic Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. It was here that he created seasonal menus for the AAA Four Diamond hotel restaurant.

Molino returned to Torino in 2003 and served as executive chef of Il Posto Restaurant, Ospedale Molinette, and Eataly Torino Lingotto, before relocating to the nation’s capital in October 2010. Over the past five years, Molino has worked at several of Washington’s top establishments including Rustico Restaurant & Bar, The Hamilton, T.J Stones and Lia’s under Chef/Owner Geoff Tracy where he mostly recently cooked before being named executive chef of Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap in August, 2015.

Molino’s menu will focus on authentic, ingredient driven Neapolitan 10-inch and 14-inch pizzas made from a 900-degree, 4,800-pound wood fired pizza oven. The double zero flour for a lighter crust, Buffalo mozzarella, and organic San Marzano tomatoes he will incorporate into his creations are all imported from Naples, Italy. Standout dishes not to be missed include The Great Meatball, a giant house made all beef meatball roasted in marinara sauce; Iron Skillet Baked Ziti with crushed San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil, as well as pizzas such as the Margherita, fresh mozzarella, crushed San Marzano tomatoes, basil and olive oil; Prosciutto & Arugula, prosciutto di parma, organic arugula, fresh mozzarella and parmesan; Sunny Side Up, applewood smoked bacon, sliced potatoes, caramelized onions, smoked provolone and a quail egg; Shrimp, Tomato & Artichoke, roasted cherry tomatoes, marinated artichoke, roasted garlic and fresh mozzarella, as well as the Korean BBQ, Korean BBQ short ribs, Ten Jang, scallions, fresh mozzarella, pickled peppers & carrots.

The beverage program at Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap will offer a selection of Italian and American wines from various regions of the country. A selection of 40 Italian and American wines will be available by the bottle along with 15 wines by the glass. Prices range from $7 to $ 15 by the glass and $28 to $75 by the bottle. 16 craft & Italian beers will also be available on tap along with a selection of craft cocktails.

The design of Lena’s consists of two main areas, the interior dining room and bar and the ‘The Garden’ plaza for outdoor dining. As guests approach, they will be able to watch the careful preparation of the pizza dough in the dough room, which is located at the front windows. The dining room and bar, which can accommodate up to 100 guests, features high ceilings and a large wood fired pizza oven, where patrons can watch the chefs at work. The interior, outfitted with a handsome combination of wood, brick and metal, reflects the building’s early 20th century design, elegantly blending the structure’s exterior with the interior. Accents in the space include carefully selected decorative fixtures and Yates family photos, illustrating the story of Lena Yates, the Yates family matriarch. Her Italian heritage and traditions, her commitment to her family and the warm and inviting environment she created is the overarching inspiration for the restaurant.

Just beyond the dining area is the exterior plaza referred to as ‘The Garden.’ Inspired by the Yates family tradition of maintaining a bountiful garden in their backyard, this area is bounded by a richly landscaped border with lush flowers and low brick wall providing an urban oasis. The Garden seats 68, with a fire pit at the center to extend the season for outdoor dining well into the colder times of year.

Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap is located at 401 E. Braddock Road, Alexandria, Virginia, next to Braddock Road Metro station accessible on the Yellow and Blue lines. Lunch will be available daily, from 11:30 AM to 5 PM. Dinner will be served Monday through Thursday, from 5-11 PM; Friday and Saturday, from 5 PM to 12 AM and Sunday, from 4-11 PM. Brunch will begin at a later date, and will be served Sunday, from 11 AM to 4 PM. For reservations or additional information, please visit