The Italian Oven returns to McLean after 20 years
After a 20-year hiatus, The Italian Oven is back on Old Dominion Drive in McLean.
The Italian restaurant officially opened on Monday, June 21 at 6852 Old Dominion Drive, returning to a location it first occupied in 1985.
The Esposito family has been serving authentic Italian cuisine in Northern Virginia for over 40 years. Although the restaurant has operated under several names, the main attraction has been its wood-fired oven shipped from Italy, which reaches 800 degrees and bakes pizza in about two and a half minutes.
Salvador “Sal” Esposito, the former owner of the original Italian kiln, was a “pioneer in installing wood-fired ovens in Arlington, Fairfax, McLean and Georgetown,” according to his son, Robert, who will own and manage the restaurant. last incarnation.
Originally from Naples, Italy, Sal Esposito attended automobile school there and worked in Germany and England as a butler before coming to America.
His father, Frank, was a chef trained in Italy and Long Island, New York. Frank was the first of the Esposito family to open a restaurant in the United States, starting with a small hole in the wall in Arlington. They had queues after the first few months of activity.
Health complications led Sal to retire in early 2000, leaving the restaurant in the hands of five managers. Eventually, Moe Jebali became the sole owner and renamed the restaurant Pulcinella.
Now Pulcinella is moving to a new location and Robert Esposito has decided to buy his father’s old restaurant and renovate it to reopen The Italian Oven.
A graduate of Langley High School, Robert is also deaf and has strong ties to the McLean Deaf community, according to his father. He is committed to making The Italian Oven a welcoming environment for members of the deaf community.
There are still remains of the old Italian oven. A mural depicting a scene from Italy is still intact in the lower dining room, and the original wood-fired oven is also firing. Some images and menu items also stay the same, all waiting for guests to come back and enjoy.
“The folks at McLean walked through the door saying, ‘Welcome back. We love you and welcome you, ”said Sal.
Questions and concerns regarding the restaurant can be directed to 703-570-4975.