The interior of Sugo Cicchetti. Photo by Emma Patti

Finally! After much advance notice (see my blog, December 3, 2010), the ambitious Greek trio that brought the Washington area Cava restaurants and Cava Mezze Grills, are opening their latest venture—an Italian place—on May 1 in Potomac’s Park Potomac development. The owners of Mamma Lucia’s, the local pizza chain, are investors in the project as well.

At first, it was to be called Sugo Macaroni and Pizza Bar, but now it’s been re-christened Sugo Cicchetti—Sugo means “sauce” and cicchetti (pronounced chi-KET-tee) means small snacks or side dishes, kind of like Italian tapas.  

While co-owner Ted Xenohristos said that the words in the new name don’t really mean anything together, “Sugo is the name of the restaurant, and cicchetti is what we serve.” (The same goes for the name Cava Mezze.)

“We didn’t want to be constrained by pizza and macaroni,” said Xenohristos, about the name change. “We have a great chef, and we wanted him to create any dish he wanted.”

As for what chef Dimitri Moshovitis has on tap, I got a look at the preliminary menu, and it’s an interesting collection of hot and cold small plates, Neapolitan-style pizza, pasta, meatballs and charcuterie.

Some examples: green eggs and ham (deviled eggs, crispy pancetta, truffle and basil oils), marinated white anchovies, pan-seared octopus, Tuscan fries, blistered olives, lacquered pork belly, duck confit pizza, gnocchi with truffle cream, lamb lasagna. The menu also includes lots of familiar standards, such as a Caesar salad, margherita pizza and linguine with clam sauce.

Look for homemade cotton candy for dessert; among the other sweet finishes, Moshovitis is working on a Nutella cheesecake with salted caramel popcorn.

Moshovotis said that similar to Cava, the cooking will be straightforward, but “I’ll put my own spin on it.” For example, at Sugo, the Caprese salad (tomatoes, mozzarella and basil) will be served as a grilled cheese on brioche.

As for the decor, it’s a snazzy space with walls covered by broken bits of mosaic tile and three patterns of antique wallpaper; the bar is made of polished concrete; and there’s an open kitchen with views of the Italian slicer (for the charcuterie) and the pizza oven. Fired with a combination of gas and wood, the oven’s brick exterior was built by Xenohristos’ father.

And speaking of family, we’ll get to meet them all: one wall will be covered with photos of the Cava and Mamma Lucia owners’ relatives.  

12505 Park Potomac Ave. Potomac. 240-386-8080. (future website)