A La Carte
The Georgetown Dish was not surprised when Fortune Magazine announced its 2014 list of the 40 most influential people under 40, and Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick tied with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for first place.
Thanks Travis, for making uber our city's favorite verb!
When the owners of an Italian lifestyle shop explain that "a truffle hunter we know helps guests pick their evening meal at our Umbrian villa," you know you're in the right place.
The Georgetown Dish had the chance to sit down with Suzy and Bill Menard on the eve of the opening of Via Umbria. Their tag line is 'Discover, Savor, Share' and for these informal ambassadors of Umbria, a passion for all things Italian has been turned into a business. "It's the right place, the right time and the right audience," they explain. Locals may remember the charming Bella Italia in Bethesda, which the Menards ran for 10 years. At Via Umbria, the shopping experience expands exponentially: from ceramics and gifts to an Italian market, cooking classes, a book club, art gallery, chef events, and yes, customized food and wine tours of Umbria.
Through their longstanding relationships with local artisans, the Menards have access to the very best indigenous products straight from the source.
And they have also made their idyllic farmhouse, Fattoria del Gelso Casa in Cannara (Umbria’s artistic, cultural, historic, culinary and oenological center), a rental! Whether hosting visitors themselves or merely designing customized itineraries, they're able to offer an intimate experience of the striking landscape and the traditions they've come to know and love so well.
Having recently bought the Georgetown building (formerly the Tari boutique which has reopened at 1742 Wisconsin Avenue), the Menards are here to stay. Now through the end of the year, the first floor is a holiday pop-up boutique filled with imaginative and useful gifts for cooking and entertaining, and an enormous collection of Geribi, their favorite Umbrian ceramics. From authentic cooking tools for making pasta in all sorts of shapes and handmade local pottery, to iconic Alessi designs. All things Italian, and everything made in Italy.
"Our sense of discovery has led us to seek out amazing things, and enjoy wonderful company," says Bill, a former lawyer. Clearly commited to the concept of sharing, the Menards also own a butcher shop in Rome. Imagine the artisanal gourmet treats that await us.
Benvenuti in Georgetown!
Via Umbria is located at 1525 Wisconsin Avenue. Tel: 202.333.3904
"What I love about the line," says owner Merribel Ayres, "is that Amina Rubinacci's clothes make me feel so good." In March of this year, the Naples-based designer debuted her luxury Italian fashion in Georgetown with her signature boutique.
Known as "The Queen of Wool" since 1967 when she first opened her atelier in Naples, the Amina Rubinacci label has been found only in high end boutiques in Italy and here in the U.S. in New York, Palm Beach and Carmel. With wool in the genes, Rubinacci's father was tailor to many of the 20th century's European monarchs. And the designer continues to this day, involved with every season's designs and fabrics.
Ayres explains why Rubinacci chose DC for her newest location, "Women need more choices than they traditionally have had. This is a great city of fabulous women." And one of those fabulous women, handbag designer Claudine Sorel, has recently partnered with Rubinacci to offer her exclusive line of POSTES handbags, patterned after the French postman's mailbag but in vibrant colors and exotic skins, made only from the finest Italian leathers. "POSTES is the perfect fashion accessory ... We're a good fit for the brand," says Sorel, "Rubinacci is elegant and sophisiticated, with structured, supple lines ... like our bags."
To celebrate the new season, Amina Rubinacci invited VIP clients and friends for a "Fashion Night Out" Tuesday evening of cocktails and a sneak peek at the new fall collection. The evening's festivities included professional make-up application session upstairs and scarf tying demonstrations by author (50 Ways to Wear a Scarf) and stylist, Lauren Friedman.
Amina Rubinacci is located at 2822 Pennsylvania Avenue in Georgetown. Tel: 202.965.2822