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Paciugo Gelato Becoming Street Corner Cafe

By Katie Pyzyk

Tuesday - 12/18/2012, 3:30pm  ET

Paciugo Gelato and Caffè in ClarendonThe owner is staying the same, but most of the other aspects of Paciugo Gelato and Caffè in Clarendon (3033 Wilson Blvd) are about to change.

Owner John Croce said while the shop launched as a gelato franchise earlier this year, he’s now shifting gears and wants to transform it into a cafe serving a full menu. He’s also changing the name to “Street Corner Cafe” and renovating the inside. In July, he began dabbling with a limited number of breakfast and lunch items and says they were an immediate hit.

“This is what people want and this is what we want to be. We’re trying to evolve,” Croce said. “We still have gelato but we’ve expanded the line of food products to welcome more customers in. You can never satisfy everyone but you can try to satisfy most people. I think that will be accomplished.”

To honor Clarendon and Arlington, Croce is naming some of the dishes after local streets or neighborhoods. For instance, there will be a grilled chicken sandwich with provolone, sweet pepper strips and a chipotle sauce called the “Wilson Boulevard.” Croce is still throwing around name ideas for the various cheesesteaks and Italian sandwiches. The cafe will also feature soups, salads and smoothies. Croce touts the daily lunch special, which will be a sandwich, drink, chips and a cookie for $8.99.

“We’re convenient, we’re priced right,” he said. “You can get the full gamut here and your wallet won’t be empty.”

In addition to the focus on good food, Croce said he puts much energy into customer service.

“It’s a quaint little place right smack dab in the middle of a lot of restaurants,” said Croce. “I just want to be a part of the Clarendon community. I think it’s gonna be a well-rounded, neat concept.”

Cosmetic changes are already underway for the restaurant. When it’s finished, there will be a new sign outside and a few more seats inside. Street Corner Cafe’s transformation should be completed by mid-January.