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Larry and Christine Ponzi opening third St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub in May

Alexandria restaurant owners Larry and Kristine Ponzi plan on opening their newest St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub in Fairlington in mid-May. The couple, who own Cafe Pizzaiolo (1623 Fern Street) and two other St. Elmo’s shops, also just bought a family restaurant in Nags Head, North Carolina.

The Ponzis shuttered their Cafe Pizzaiolo location in Shirlington in May 2020, and then entered 2022 strong with the opening of a second St. Elmo’s in Old Town North in January. The newest St. Elmo’s will open at 1536 Kenwood Avenue in mid-May — across the street from Cafe Pizzaiono, Ponzi said.

“Let’s just say this will keep us busy this year,” said Larry Ponzi. “We have an addiction. You know, we’re trying to control our growth, but it’s hard to not grow. There’s that old saying — if you’re not growing, you’re dying. We’re making sure that we keep growing.”

In February, the couple bought the Red Drum Grill & Taphouse in Nags Head, North Carolina, and now plan to reopen it by the beginning of April.

“We’re not we’re not planning on retiring,” Ponzi said. “This is our way to have a place to go to in the latter part of our lives. We get keep keep our businesses in Alexandria, and then go to the beach the rest of the week.”

Ponzi said that the Red Barn will mostly be the same, with subtle tweaks to the menu, and some painting and remodeling.

“This business has been a very successful business for more than two decades, and we want to keep that momentum going and put our own touch on it as we go,” Ponzi said.

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