ARLINGTON, VA (7News) — It’s no secret that the restaurant industry has been struggling lately. First it was the COVID-19 pandemic, then severe staffing shortages, and now he was battling an increase in crime at the DMV.
Approximately 52 restaurants reported closing this year in Washington, D.C. alone.
A pizza chain in Arlington, Virginia has found a way to literally rise from the ashes. Pupatella’s brick ovens were built using volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius. The oven came from Naples, as did founder and owner Enzo Algarme. His Pupatella was recognized as one of the best pizza chains in the world by the International Pizza Ranking Guide.
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In honor of his grandmother in Italy (nickname Pubatella, which means little doll), he opened a food truck in 2007 and quickly turned it into bricks and mortar.
“It’s almost a passion project, and something I’ve always loved is cooking. My family are cooks, and when I moved to the United States on my own, I always missed the corner shops that my family used to cook. It was pizza. Just stick to what you believe in. There are going to be tough days, there are going to be days where you struggle, but just keep fighting and just think you can get to the top of the hill,” Algarme said. .
Founded in 1984, the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association is supported by the Italian Chamber of Commerce, Handicrafts and Industry. Every year, we select the world’s best pizzeria.
7News spoke exclusively with Algarme to find out what his secret is and how he was able to thrive during the industry’s darkest days.
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“I think we were lucky in the sense that we had a healthy product that was able to get us through these difficult times. Like I said before, we didn’t change anything, we just kept things simple. Just make it, make it healthy, make it the right way, make it the way it should be. And just focus on that and just keep making good food,” Algarm said.
Enzo’s favorite pizza is arugula and prosciutto.
The winning combination includes San Marzano tomatoes and only requires about 90 seconds of cooking the pie. Since opening their food truck in Ballston 16 years ago, Enzo and his wife now own eight locations in the Washington, D.C., area, including one on S. Walter Reed Drive in Arlington. , Washington, DC, Reston, Springfield, Mosaic District, Leesburg, and Richmond, Virginia.