Business in Brief: Insights from Normal; “We are still here” | Forest Hills Connection |
In November 2020, Katherine Saltzman, our business journalist at the time, wrote us a short article on Tesoro Trattoria & Pizzeria.
“Tesoro Trattoria & Pizzeria is not the same Tesoro that was at 4400 Connecticut Avenue for almost 20 years,” Saltzman wrote.
Ignazio Bonanni opened the original Tesoro in 2000, and sold the restaurant in the summer of 2019 to the brother and sister team Enrico and Angela De Rosa. Enrico De Rosa worked part time in the restaurant. He helped choose the wine list and managed the bar.
The De Rosa siblings have worked in the food and wine industry for over 15 years, both in Washington and in Italy. Their grandfather opened a bakery in Puglia, which was passed on to their father. Both started working there when they were kids, and soon after high school Angela De Rosa ran the bakery full time.
From 1985, their father began to export wine and taralli, a specialty from Puglia, to North America. Taralli are snacks that have been compared to pretzels and breadsticks. Small unleavened rings can be sweet or savory, and they have recently become widespread in the United States and throughout Italy. But, Enrico said: “We were early, sometimes when you are early you miss the right time.”
The timing was not entirely on the side of Tesoro Trattoria & Pizzeria.
The article goes on to mention the restaurant’s delay in acquiring its liquor license, but that line on timing was premonitory. Before we could complete the fact-check and publish the article on De Rosas and Tesoro Trattoria, the cases of Covid-19 began to explode, and before long all restaurants in DC were forced to close their dining rooms. .
Les De Rosas and their partner David Lobo, just months after the opening of the new Tesoro, were facing an unprecedented crisis. They laid off their eight employees. And then, according to an April 2020 report in The Washington Post, they did it all, “from cutting vegetables to delivering orders.” On their best day in the two weeks since the on-site dining ban, the trio placed 12 take-out orders. On their worst day, they had one.
“It’s like heaven and hell,” said Enrico De Rosa To post.
So we want to take a moment to enjoy this post on Tesoro’s Facebook page on June 6, 2021.
“It has been a bit difficult because of Covid but we are still here,” Enrico De Rosa told Forest Hills Connection. The people of the neighborhood have been the saving grace of Tesoro Trattoria in recent months, he said. He wished to express his thanks to the neighbors, and to the regulars who made them live.
It’s a sentiment echoed in another recent Facebook post: “We cannot be more grateful for your patronage and support as we finally begin to see the light at the end of this long tunnel. Seeing our dishes make you smile is priceless and heartwarming. It’s SO good to be back in action, almost booming! Until next time, buona serata!
No more previews of “normal”
Buck’s Fishing and Camping (5031 Connecticut) is expensive at Washington post the heart of food critic Tom Sietsema. In June, he returned for his first meal at his “sanctuary” in 14 months. The return home was moving.
At Politics and Prose (5015 Connecticut), extended hours and no masks for vaccinated customers:
At Little Red Fox (5035 Connecticut):
– Little red fox (@littleredfoxdc) June 22, 2021
6,000 and count
Forest Hills-based Washington Photo Safari is celebrating its 6,000th session, which founder E. David Luria said took place on June 30 with hard-to-obtain Panda passes at the National Zoo. Since 1999, Luria and her fellow instructors have been teaching people how to get the most out of their camera, whether it’s an SLR or a built-in smartphone.
Over the past year, Luria has also organized photo safaris to neighborhood restaurants, with the aim of supporting them when needed. Van Ness Main Street recognized his efforts with its Spirit of Van Ness Award.
From gas station to radio
Decades ago, Van Ness was “Gasoline Alley” (much to the chagrin of many residents). Streets of Washington has put together a piece of this history. Click the photo in the tweet below to view the full image.
Matchbook cover from the Cleveland Park gas station, located at 4401 Connecticut Ave NW in Van Ness, where the WAMU building is now located. This commercial stretch of Connecticut Avenue was once crowded with gas stations. @foresthillsnews pic.twitter.com/Wax0p3lyd5
– Streets of Washington (@StreetsOfDC) June 21, 2021