Say “Arrivederci” to Nicoletta Italian Kitchen and “Ciao” to “Cucina Morini”!

Thursday January 25, 2024

Nicoletta Italian Kitchen announced earlier this week that the restaurant has briefly closed its doors to make way for a rebrand set to open this Spring. The Washington Business Journal reports that Nicoletta Italian Kitchen’s parent restaurant group, Altamerea Group, which also owns and operates the popular Osteria Morini in the Navy Yard area of Washington, DC, has made the decision to shutter Nicoletta Italian Kitchen and rebrand under a new Italian concept they’re calling “Cucina Morini”.

Altamerea CEO Ahmass Fakahany is quoted in the article saying Cucina Morini will “introduce new menu items inspired by southern and coastal Italy, including crudo and select pasta dishes like rigatoni, that you won’t find at the Navy Yard restaurant.” Additionally, the bar area will physically expand to include the area previously occupied by Brew’d, Nicoletta’s coffee bar. This expansion will allow the restaurant to offer a wider variety of cocktails, like Negronis, that they had not before.

The article also touches on the hard truth that this rebrand is coming at a challenging time for our DC restaurant industry:

The change to Cucina Morini is more of reboot than a bolt-on, per Fakahany. It comes amid a challenging period for D.C.’s restaurant industry… Fakahany said he’s not as concerned about that for Cucina Morini given it is in a neighborhood with offices and multifamily buildings similar to the Navy Yard area. That should help give it more of a bounce than if it were in another part of the city more dominated by offices. And, he said, people are social creatures that will congregate around food when given the right options.

“I think there’s still a need for community, a need for belonging, a need for interaction with people,” he said. “What we do is make our place a place that someone can experience a life moment, and feel that we are dependable and reliable. Those moments are very essential in life, and while they may be lagging a little bit, they’re still very present in how we live our life.”

We are heartened to hear that Altamarea Group believes in MVT as much as we do, and look forward to welcoming Cucina Morini when it opens!