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Peek into Arlington's New Urban Pantry

Little City Gourmet has been closed since mid-January for renovations. Wednesday's soft opening featured free coffee, pastries and a new name.

Urban Pantry Creative Director Erin Pedati said the redesigned cafe will focus more on wine.
Urban Pantry Creative Director Erin Pedati said the redesigned cafe will focus more on wine.
Fans of Little City Gourmet, your coffee shop is back with a brand new name.

Closed since mid-January for renovations, the cafe on North Westmoreland Street between Arlington and Falls Church is now called Urban Pantry.

"This isn't a little country store and it's not a 7-Eleven," said the cafe's Creative Director Erin Pedati. "We wanted a name that would encompass a little elegance with a friendly, warm atmosphere."

Since opening in April 2013, Pedati said the cafe's owner Max Emma has had a year to learn from customers and the community about what they want in a neighborhood cafe.

"We learned people want more grab-and-go meals, sandwiches and breakfast items," Pedati said. "We want to offer more prepared meals and bring in pantry staples and fresh produce from local farmers markets. We kind of want to be an upscale convenience store."

Until the grand opening on March 3, customers have a chance to get a sneak peek of the fresh design with complimentary pastries, coffee and upcoming free wine tastings. (See the schedule below).

Walking into the cafe, customers will first notice a wine wall stretching across the full length of the wall behind the pantry items of pasta, sauces, olive oil and other ingredients. 

The walls have been painted in black and white and new tile has been added behind the counter. Butcher-block countertops will also be installed beneath the wine wall for seating. Pedati hopes to host wine education classes on a monthly basis to feature the expanded wine menu.

The cafe's regular menu is getting a makeover thanks to new Chef Kenneth Hughes, a northern Virginia native. His menu will include a strong emphasis on sandwiches and salads, weekend brunch specials, daily crepes and gelato. The full menu will be available at the grand opening.

Pedati said the cafe wants to stay connected with the community through social media and gather their input to make Urban Pantry a place people want to visit after a bike ride on the W&OD Trail, on their way home from work or to relax with free WiFi, wine tastings or weekend brunch.

"We want to hear what people are saying. Their input matters," Pedati said. "We are here for them and want to make sure they are happy."

Get a sneak peek at Urban Pantry during the following open houses:
  • Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m: Free wine tasting and snacks
  • Feb. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Free coffee and pastries
  • March 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Free wine tasting and snacks
  • March 3 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Grand Opening
C DeRosa February 20, 2014 at 08:12 AM
I will miss Little City - I still miss Natalia's & had hoped they might fill that gap... but they are responding to customers' desires so that's good. Good luck to them!!

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