Ciao Bella: Business Group Celebrates Via Umbria

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Via Umbria owners Suzy and Bill Menard with Marina and Emilio Alonso-Mendoza, AG Bell CEO.
Via Umbria owners Suzy and Bill Menard with Marina and Emilio Alonso-Mendoza, AG Bell CEO.

Via Umbria was the scene for the latest Georgetown Business Association networking reception July 20.

The increasingly popular Italian store at 1525 Wisconsin Ave. NW is relatively new to town, having opened last year. It sells food as well as kitchen items and pottery on the first floor, where the deli side also has seating. Upstairs, an impressive kitchen and dining space allows for special events and tasting dinners with chefs who fly in from Italy.

That is just what Via Umbria’s owners did the night of the GBA get-together; arriving on a flight from Rome, they were delighted by the turnout of GBA members, who were equally delighted to check out their new place. “It’s a happy, happy place,” said GBA president Sonya Bernhardt. “It’s such a wonderful addition to Georgetown.’

Here’s how Via Umbria describes itself:

“Our Georgetown store is a brick-&-mortar retail space that brings the Italian region of Umbria to you. Via Umbria was founded by Bill and Suzy Menard, informal ambassadors of the ‘green heart of Italy’ and its many splendors. The products are imported from Italy and each one has been hand selected by Bill and Suzy from artists and craftsmen they know personally.

“For the Menards, opening a store in the Georgetown neighborhood was a homecoming. A study abroad with Georgetown Law was their introduction to Italy, and it was where their love affair with Umbria began.

“The European brand is a smart fit for the neighborhood, as Georgetowners are well travelled and appreciate things in life that are worth slowing down for and savoring. This quaint neighborhood is one of the last historical areas in D.C. that maintains a European feel. … Like the other small stores of the area, the staff at Via Umbria enjoys building relationships with customers who support the local community, just like Italians do in their own small hometowns.”

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