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Jeff Clabaugh | jclabaugh@wtop.com
August 26, 2022, 10:38 AM
Northern Virginia restauranteur Mike Cordero, whose first restaurant job was at age 15 making meatballs in a New York City Italian restaurant, is going back to his roots with his latest project: an old-school Italian restaurant in Ballston.
Cordero’s restaurant group, which includes sons Nick and Anthony, has signed a 20-year lease at 3865 Wilson Blvd. for Carbonara: Old School Italian & Wine Bar. The 4,800-square-foot indoor and outdoor restaurant will open in July 2023.
Cordero, whose other restaurants include Barley Mac, Rockwood, Bronson Bier Hall, Don Tito and Taco Rock, has put together a menu for Carbonara focused on southern Italian cuisine, with everything made in-house, including fresh pasta daily.
The restaurant plans to serve Sicilian pizzas, baked Italian dishes like Eggplant Rollatini Parmigiana, veal and seafood dishes. Quintessential old world Italian restaurant dishes will include carpaccio, Linguini Carinale, Chicken Cacciatore, and stuffed Cannoli.
It will also have a wide selection of Italian wines.
The large restaurant plans to take over space on the corner of Wilson and N. Pollard Street, with enough storefront space for a patio with two Alfresco bars. Inside, with rustic Italian design, there is an entry rotunda, large bar, circular booths and banquets.
“I am ecstatic to relive my early years of training as an Italian chef with Carbonara and work with my sons on this project,” Cordero said. “My new concept will offer delicious old-school Italian cuisine with a twist where nothing is store-bought and everything is made from scratch.”
Earlier this year, Cordero expanded his Taco Rock restaurant business with two additional locations.
Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region’s economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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