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Benny Diforza’s Pizza at 1504B Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray (staff photo by James Cullum)

New pizza restaurant Benny Diforza’s (1504B Mount Vernon Avenue) has been popular since opening last week. The restaurant was well attended this weekend, and according to an application with the City of Alexandria, there could be more space for diners soon.

Benny Diforza’s is part of a Benny’s Pizza chain with locations across Virginia, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wyoming.

The application said the restaurant is opening to add 8-10 seats out in front of the restaurant.

There’s currently limited seating (15 seats) inside the restaurant; where the kitchen fills most of the building.

The application also noted that the Benny Diforza’s could be selling beer and wine soon, pending an ABC permit.

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Stracci Pizza at 106 Hume Avenue in Del Ray (via Facebook)

Washingtonian recently included three Alexandria restaurants in their food critic’s list of 19 favorite pizzas right now.

Washingtonian’s Executive Food Editor Ann Limpert included in her list “Stracci Bianca” at Stracci Pizza (106 Hume Avenue), the vodka pizza at Emmy Squared (124 King Street) and the white clam Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (3231 Duke Street).

According to the Washingtonian review of Stracci Pizza:

This Del Ray gem makes its own stracciatella cheese—hand-pulled mozzarella soaked in cream—and it’s best shown off on this Roman-style white pizza, simply accented with olive oil and flakes of Maldon salt.

According to the Washingtonian review of Emmy Squared, which also has two locations in D.C.:

The thick, soft, Detroit-style pizzas from this Brooklyn transfer can be a little…extra. This version is relatively straightforward—just sweet, creamy vodka sauce, basil, and pecorino. The sauce is also good on the Big Ang, which adds ricotta, Italian sausage, and banana peppers to the party.

According to the Washingtonian review of Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana:

I’ve lined up outside this century-old New Haven institution for its coal-fired sheet-pan pizza countless times. And now there is one at Westfield Montgomery Mall! And in Old Town! This particular pie—one of their most famous—is thin, crispy, garlicky as hell, and loaded with fresh clams.

Image via Facebook

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Got dinner plans for Super Bowl Sunday? Benny Diforza’s 28-inch pies will be available in Del Ray starting this week.

The restaurant has been in the works since last summer in the former home of Sicilian Pizza at 1504B Mount Vernon Avenue. Manager Hayden Ko says the restaurant is waiting for one more permit approval from the city before the pizza oven gets fired up. She also said that the restaurant will open this week.

“I’m really excited to start working,” Ko said. “I have 15 employees and last week and we had a staff dinner with their families, and it was great to meet everyone and get the vibes up.”

The restaurant is well known for selling 28-inch pies that go for $5 to $6.50 per slice.

Benny’s first opened its Blacksburg location in 2011, and now has dozens of locations throughout Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wyoming. Each location has a different last name, with Del Ray’s Diforza literally translating to “of strength.”

According to the Benny’s website: “Order a whole pie and feed 2 families. We limit our toppings and we don’t count pennies so everything stays simple.”

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Pepperoni pizza (via RedRocks/Facebook)

The owner of a number of coffee shops in and around Alexandria just got into the pizza business.

Last month, Nga Ho submitted paperwork with the city requesting a change in ownership after buying RedRocks Old Town (904 King Street) from Firebrick Food Group, Inc., which opened the 2,400-square-foot, 98-seat restaurant in 2009.

Staff at RedRocks Old Town say that the restaurant will continue as-is, just under new ownership.

Ho also owns four Java Loco & Bubble Tea locations in the area, one of which is in Alexandria (289 S. Van Dorn Street), as well as Ocha Tea in Annandale.

Firebrick Food Group still owns its Columbia Heights location in D.C.

The details of the sale were not publicly disclosed. ALXnow has reached out to the new owner for comment.

Image via RedRocks/Facebook

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The scene of a shooting on the 800 block of W. Glebe Road (staff photo by James Cullum)

It’s been a scorching week in Alexandria, punctuated by two major crime events.

Someone was shot multiple times in an alley several blocks east of the Braddock Metro station last Saturday, followed on Monday afternoon by the city’s fifth homicide this year — the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old man on W. Glebe Road in Arlandria.

It is not believed that the incidents are connected.

The Alexandria Police Department is now looking for a silver Nissan Rogue allegedly linked to Monday’s shooting.

No arrests have been announced from either incident, and this week Mayor Justin Wilson, City Manager Jim Parajon and Police Chief Don Hayes asked for the community’s help in identifying the suspects.

Top stories this week:

  1. Alexandria ditching ‘pay and display’ parking meters citywide (32618 views)
  2. Notes: Many federal employees who report to work Alexandria are still mostly remote (7448 views)
  3. Del Ray Gateway project construction to start before end of year, city says (6510 views)
  4. Construction suspended for Holiday Inn Express at former Towne Motel site in Old Town North (5346 views)
  5. ACPS ignores Gov. Youngkin’s recommended policies on treatment of transgender students (4829 views)
  6. DEVELOPING: Man transported to hospital in critical condition after shooting in Arlandria (4747 views)
  7. Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza opening before end of year in Old Town North, owner says (3857 views)
  8. Duke Street affordable apartment complex ‘Witter Place’ could be ready by late 2025, developer says (3598 views)
  9. Arlington man busted for allegedly selling stolen car to Alexandria man on Facebook Marketplace (2509 views)

Have a safe weekend!

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Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza will open in Old Town North before the end of the year, a managing partner for the local pizza chain told ALXnow.

Construction has begun on the building at 700 Slaters Lane, the former longtime home to Sam’s Custom Cleaners. The dry cleaner shut down a month after the death of owner Tony Tran in 2022.

Tran’s nephew Thien Ung is now the owner of the property and said that a neighborhood-centric pizzeria will be good for the space. For one thing, it’s hard to beat the location, as the building greets drivers along the George Washington Memorial Parkway into Old Town.

“I knew how important it was that whoever moved into the spot would have to contribute to the Old Town and Old Town North feel,” Ung said. “When Michael Berger, a managing partner with Pupatella, reached out to me, and after talking with his team and listening to their story and where they came from, it just felt right.”

Enzo Algarme, a native of Naples, Italy, founded Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza in a food truck in Ballston in 2007. Pupatella is his grandmother’s nickname and it means “little doll.”

The company now has eight locations: two in Arlington, at 5104 Wilson Blvd and 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive, Dupont Circle in D.C., Reston, the City of Fairfax, Springfield, Leesburg and Richmond. Locations are also being planned in Chantilly, Capitol Hill in D.C. and in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Berger says he wants to open at least five more restaurants in the area over the next several years.

“We’re really excited,” Berger said of the Alexandria location. “We’re really excited about it, and being a standalone building with visibility, parking — kind of a billboard-type location when you come in on the G.W. Parkway.”

Map via Google Maps, Pizza photo via Facebook

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via Benny Diforza’s Pizza/Facebook

Get ready to loosen your belts, because Benny Diforza’s Pizza is planning to open this year in Del Ray.

The restaurant will open at 1504-B Mount Vernon Avenue, the former home to Sicilian Pizza. Their claims to fame are 28-inch pies that go for $5 to $6.50 per slice.

“Cat’s out of the bag, a location is secured, and we’re ready to build another Benny’s!” the restaurant franchise announced on LinkedIn. “Benny Diforza’s will be opening in Del Ray later this year! More updates to come…get ready, Alexandria!”

Benny’s first opened its Blacksburg location in 2011, and now has dozens of locations throughout Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wyoming.

Benny’s is far from the first pizza spot in Del Ray — some might even say there’s too much pizza — but a plurality of ALXnow readers last fall said there’s still not enough good pizza in Alexandria.

Image via Facebook

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Del Ray pizza hangout Piece Out will be closed for most of the summer.

“Sorry,” reads a note posted on the front door. “Closed for renovation. Be back in a few months.”

Owners Larry and Christine Ponzi recently closed up the restaurant at 2419 Mount Vernon Avenue and papered up the windows.

“We have a plan starting next month to give our staff a better home, our customers a better experience and bring Piece Out into the next chapter.”

The Ponzi’s PCG Restaurant Group owns St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub in Del Ray and Old Town North, Cafe Pizzaiolo (1623 Fern Street), Market 2 Market (116 E. Del Ray Avenue) and Red Drum Grill and Tap House in Nags Head, North Carolina.

In the meantime, Del Ray is home to a number of other pizza restaurants, including:

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Detroit-style pepperoni pizza (image via Jet’s Pizza/Facebook)

Jet’s Pizza, a Detroit-style pizza chain, is opening its first location in the region at 6 E Glebe Road in the Lynhaven neighborhood, the Washington Business Journal first reported.

The new shop will be taking the place of the now-closed Auburn Cleaners. The Washington Business Journal said no opening date has been announced yet.

Detroit-style pizza is a deep-dish pie topped with a brick of cheese that caramelizes against the sides of a heavy rectangular pan — originally baked in steel trays designed for use as automotive drip pans.

While Alexandria already has a well known deluge of pizza locations, a plurality of ALXnow readers said there’s not enough good pizza in Alexandria.

Image via Jet’s Pizza/Facebook

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Fibre space at 1319 Prince Street

A number of Alexandria businesses are donating a percentage of proceeds to local charities and nonprofits for this Wednesday’s Spring2ACTion fundraiser.

ACT for Alexandria’s goal this year is to raise $2.5 million from 10,000 donors for 185 participating nonprofits and charities.

Today, Piece Out Del Ray (2419 Mount Vernon Avenue) will conduct a bingo night from 7 to 9 p.m., with proceeds from $10 tickets benefiting Volunteer Alexandria.

“Come out for a fun night of BINGO and beer from Two Roads Brewing,” Piece Out Del Ray posted. “$5 drafts, food specials, beer swag and fun prizes. We will play 8 rounds of Bingo, so you have plenty of chances to win… Doors open at 5, and the first ball drops at 7.”

fibre space (1319 Prince Street) is extending its sample sale through Wednesday, and all proceeds will benefit Friends of Guest House, a nonprofit that helps women reenter society after prison.

“We do this once a year and it’s become a big hit since people always want to buy our shop samples and they aren’t usually for sale,” owner Danielle Romanetti told ALXnow.

Homegrown Restaurant Group has participated in the fundraiser since it began 13 years ago. Its six Alexandria restaurants will donate 10% of all sales to a number of charities and nonprofits.

“The HomeGrown Restaurant Group has been supporting ACT for Alexandria since the first year when John Porter strong-armed us into participating,” HRG co-owner “Mango” Mike Anderson told ALXnow. “Which has been the right move for us in supporting Alexandria. We encourage all Alexandrians to get on board this year and let’s make it a record year for ACT for Alexandria.”

HRG will donate 10% to from these locations to the following organizations:

Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap (401 E. Braddock Road) is also donating 15% of its proceeds Wednesday to AWLA.

Last year, ACT for Alexandria raised $2.65 million from 7,700 donors for 172 nonprofits. The top recipients last year were RunningBrooke, which took in $157,000 from 197 donors, Casa Chirilagua with $114,000 from 313 donors and Friends of Guest House with $112,000 from 180 donors.

Spring2ACTion officially starts at midnight on Wednesday (April 26).

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