Pupatella, an award-winning Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant out of Arlington County, is opening its second location in the country in the Fan District, the restaurant announced Friday.
The eatery launched as a food truck in Northern Virginia in 2007 and opened its first brick-and-mortar location in 2010. Now, Pupatella is in franchising mode, and Richmonder Zeeshan Kaba plans to open four restaurants in the Richmond area, the first of which will open this summer at 1 N. Morris St. (in the former Rancho T location).
“I became a loyal Pupatella fan in 2011 when living in Arlington and always dreamed of bringing the restaurant to my own community in Richmond,” Kaba wrote in a news release. “I jumped on the opportunity to open a franchise because I am passionate about the food and believe that Richmond residents will embrace the Neapolitan traditions.”
Neapolitan pizza — as in, pizza made as it is in Naples, Italy — is focused on simple ingredients and few rules (wood-fired ovens, San Marzano tomatoes and fresh ingredients). Pupatella makes Neapolitan pizza, and it has its VPN certification (a designation given by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana in Naples).
Pupatella’s menu includes roughly 20 pizzas ($10-$16), plus the option for diners to make their own. Salads, small plates, Neapolitan fried foods (such as risotto balls and fried calzones) and a kids’ menu round out the offerings.
The Arlington location has racked up plenty of awards from national food publications’ lists, including being named some of the Best Pizza in America and the Best Pizza in Virginia.
“If you’re not a convert when you walk in, you will be by the time you devour the last scrap of crust here,” Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema wrote of Pupatella in 2012.