La Tavola Owner Rick Lopez Opening New Tapas Bar Lupo on Arlington
Local entrepreneur and chef Rick Lopez, known for his old world Italian restaurant La Tavola, has announced the upcoming opening of a new venture: Lupo on Arlington, a tapas bar with Spanish, Italian and Portuguese influences. Filling what he sees as a desperate need for a true tapas bar, Lopez has teamed up with chef Todd Elder to create the menu. They’ll open to the public in early April.
“I’ve always wanted to have a tapas restaurant, probably since my early days of going to Madrid and even Chicago and New York,” Lopez said, adding that Elder, who worked in the kitchen at Barcelona for eight years, similarly wished to open his own tapas bar some day. “I just found a nice, young, talented chef and someone who could help me execute the concept without interfering with my current restaurant.”
Staying true to the name, Lupo’s tapas will be several bites in size. The menu will change constantly too, inspired by, but not duplicating, the dishes found at La Tavola. A sample menu shows a range of dishes, including pork rinds, ham and cheese croquetas, olives, and spiced nuts. Seafood will be another element of the menu; Lopez said to expect an oyster bar as well as octopus and mussels.
The dishes may be small, but the 3,000 square foot space offers seating for more than 100 people, with roughly 36 seats available on the bar side, 46 in the dining area, and another 36 on the patio. Occupying a former bank, Lupo has retained the original vault and door and transformed it into a private dining area with enough room for a party of 10.
It’s all set in a restaurant designed to have an “old world feel.” Vintage posters, gold-speckled bulbs reclaimed from an old gas station in German Village, and a table that’s literally half a tree (bark and all) are just some of the items Lopez gathered for Lupo. Students from CCAD came in to fabricate ironwork for the wine racks that hang over the bar and behind the hostess stand, as wine is another prominent element on Lupo’s menu.
After several private events at the end of March, Lupo will open its doors in early April. It’s located at 2124 Arlington Ave.
For more information, visit lupoonarlington.com.