Cozy eatery I’m Eddie Cano opens for dinner service on Tuesday, October 9 on Connecticut Avenue. The restaurant will feature a two-fold menu with Americanized Italian dishes on one side and authentic Italian staples on the other. 25 varieties of Wine, cocktails, prosecco and beer will also be served.
Chevy Chase newcomer I’m Eddie Cano brings the neighborhood a retro respite to sample Italy’s greatest pasta hits and knock back Vespers — the martini made famous by James Bond — all while Italian film stars like Sophia Loren watch over diners below.
“We pulled from that romantic era of 1970s Italy of Vespas and espressos — a peak time of Italian culture that really boomed in America at that time,” says executive chef James Gee, a former ThinkFoodGroup executive chef at Jaleo and China Chilcano.
The mod 60-seat restaurant (5014 Connecticut Avenue NW), accented by pops of black, white, and red, is the first-time venture from Gee and Massimo Papetti (Assaggi Osteria, Cafe Milano), who met while working at East Hampton’s celebrity-packed Cittanuova restaurant in the mid-2000s.
Over the years, Italian-born Papetti took Gee on several trips home to carb country to expose the chef to his native cuisine. The ultimate goal was to open an Italian-American restaurant together one day. Diners are encouraged to say the name of the restaurant, I’m Eddie Cano, three times to reveal its meaning: the phonetic pronunciation of “Americano” in Italian.
The two-fold menu highlights each owner’s background, with Americanized Italian dishes (chicken parmigiana and spaghetti and meatballs) on one side and authentic Italian staples on the other. Think: bucatini all ‘Amatriciana and spaghetti cacio e pepe, common orders at trattorias in Rome, or steak alla Fiorentina pulled from Tuscany.
A full bar in one corner features cocktails, prosecco, and wine on tap, alongside Italian and local beer. Papetti’s wife Carolyn, a certified Italian sommelier, helped create the wine list; there’s 25 varieties priced from $30 to $70 per bottle.
The owners say they’d like to open three restaurants together in the next five years — but for now, I’m Eddie Cano has their full attention.
“That is our dream, part two. I have lots of ideas. I’ve been cooking different cuisines my whole life — my heritage is Chinese and Italian so maybe Chinese is in the future,” says Gee.
I’m Eddie Cano is open six days a week (closed Monday) starting at 5 p.m., until 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m., with the bar open an hour later every night. Following a soft opening mode for friends and family this week, the restaurant will officially open for dinner service on Tuesday, October 9.