Massimo Papetti grew up in Rome, eating pizza and playing soccer in the streets until his mother called him home for supper. (She had to call more than once, he recalls.) Now, he and his wife Carolyn, a wine and hospitality pro, share these passions at their soccer-themed pizzeria in Glover Park. Their successful Chevy Chase venues — I’m Eddie Cano and Italian Bar — embody this spirit as well.
A mural montage of Italy’s all-time top players dominates the red- and green-accented Glover Park dining room. And, of course, the soccer matches themselves will be featured on flat screens in the lively red and yellow bar. The pizzeria’s name — In Bocca al Lupo, which literally translates as “in the wolf’s mouth” — is an Italian expression that means “good luck.”
Roman pizza is distinctive, with a notably thin, crisp, cracker-like crust. To ensure that Washingtonian diners experience the “real thing,” Massimo’s cousin, Fulvio de Rosa, an award-winning Roman pizza maker, is on site. He’s training the staff to get the dough’s texture, the brick oven’s temperature and the baking time just right. The balance needs constant adjustment depending on the temperature and humidity. One must “know how it [the dough] feels,” he explains.
As in Rome, the pizzeria offers red-sauced and white pizzas. Besides the “classics” — simple marinara (tomato sauce only), Margherita (with mozzarella) and white pizza with four cheeses – de Rosa has developed some interesting variations. One was created for a voluble Roman customer who demanded something special. De Rosa obliged with a white pizza topped with sausage, mozzarella and potatoes. Another specialty creation is an edible pizza bowl filled with a colorful salad. Fried snacks — like rice balls stuffed with cheese and sausage – are Roman pizzeria traditions that are celebrated here.
Carolyn Papetti’s expertise informs the beer and wine selection, as well as the spritzers and Negroni on tap. She’s also a gelato pro. Her creations, in classic flavors, will be available soon.
In Bocca al Lupo, 2400 Wisconsin Ave. NW — open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (closed Mondays) for carryout and dine-in service, indoors and on a street-side patio.