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Posted at 1:43 PM ET, 11/25/2009

Mamma mia! BLT goes Italian

By Tom Sietsema

The New York-based BLT Restaurants empire is expanding yet again in Washington, this time without its distinctive initials attached to the concept: Casa Nonna will join BLT Steak downtown and the forthcoming BLT Burger (at 1317 Connecticut Ave. NW), which is also opening this spring. Planned for a block south, at 1250 Connecticut Ave. NW, Casa Nonna will feature a menu of antipasti, pizza and pasta.

What used to be a California Pizza Kitchen is a perfect fit for the project, says Keith Treyball, president and partner of BLT Restaurants. "We have two great ovens that don't need to move," and even a wood room to store the fuel, he says.

Casa Nonna is modeled on the festive Carmine's eateries in New York. A preview of the menu reveals that pastas will be served in portions for one, two or four or "family-style," and main courses will span shrimp scampi and chicken saltimbocca. Prices will average $18 to $20 for entrees. Lunch and dinner will be served daily.

The name for the 190-seat establishment ("House of the Grandmother" in English) came from one of Treyball's business partners' wives, who is about to become a grandmother and was looking for something her family could call her. Jill Haber decided Nonna had a nice ring to it -- as did BLT'S leaders, including her husband, Jimmy Haber, and star chef Laurent Tourondel.

Why not BLT Pizza or BLT Pasta? "Laurent thinks we're over-saturated in the market, and I tend to agree," says Treyball, adding that there might be more initial-less ideas down the road.

Treyball is currently looking for a chef for what will be the company's 18th or 19th place to eat in the country, depending upon whether BLT gets its Burger or its pizza done first.

-- Tom Sietsema

By Tom Sietsema  | November 25, 2009; 1:43 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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Can some of these places stop with Dupont and Logan and spread a bit further East, like on 9th, where Vegetate is closing?? It's so dead over there at night...we need more foot traffic in the neighborhood :(

Posted by: sigmagrrl | December 1, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

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