Sandwich shop Polpetti Italian taking over Capitol Waffle space on Harrison

polpetti harrison1 Cropped scaled

Capitol Waffle Shop closed on Harrison Street late last month. (Mike Platania photo)

A VCU-area restaurant space is trading waffles for chicken cutlets. 

Polpetti Italian has signed on to open at 515 N. Harrison St. in a space that until recently housed Capitol Waffle Shop.

Behind Polpetti is wife-and-husband duo Georgia and Peter Riccobono. Years ago, Georgia said that when they’d visit Peter’s family in Brooklyn, they’d bring empty coolers with them so they could bring back deli staples from New York. Eventually they decided to offer New York-style Italian food to all Richmonders. 

peter georgia riccobono

Peter and Georgia Riccobono

“One day we said to ourselves, ‘You know, no one is really doing this style of food in Richmond. Let’s give it a go,’” Riccobono said. 

The Riccobonos launched Polpetti six years ago, selling homemade pasta, sauces and sandwiches at farmers’ markets. They launched the business with New York Deli co-owner Demetrios Tsiptsis as a partner and went brick-and-mortar in 2021 with Market on Meadow, a shared space that they opened with fellow farmers market regulars Auntie Ning’s and Column 15. 

Riccobono said the opportunity to take over the space on Harrison Street fell into their laps and they couldn’t say no. 

“We’ve been working at this for years and years. It was a slow start in this building (on Meadow), and word has really started to get out,” she said. “We’re continuing to grow. But this could really be the thing that’s going to put us over the top. I think with this, people will really start to notice us.”

Capitol Waffle Shop closed in late April after five years on Harrison Street. The local breakfast chain also has locations in Midlothian and on East Main Street downtown, as well as in Harrisonburg and Norfolk. Capitol Waffle owner Brad Barzoloski wasn’t available for comment by press time. 

Along with the fresh pasta and sauces, Polpetti’s business was built on its sandwiches, which include variations of classic Italian grinders with capicola, soppressata and sharp provolone cheese. 

Polpetti also offers chicken cutlet sandwiches, which are made with thin, breaded and fried chicken topped with mozzarella cheese, arugula and roasted red peppers.  

polpetti cutlets

Among Polpetti’s offerings are chicken cutlet sandwiches. (Courtesy Polpetti)

Cutlet sandwiches are commonplace in New York but not as easily found in the Richmond area, and the Riccobonos strive to make them as authentically as possible. 

“Peter pounds chicken every day and breads them. They’re definitely as authentic as you can find around here,” Riccobono said. 

“People are very skeptical if they’re from up North. It’s funny when they come back to us and they’re like, ‘OK, OK, you know what you’re doing,’” she said, laughing. 

So strong is the Riccobonos desire to offer a New York-style product that they’ll make multiple trips up North every month to get bread from New York bakeries for Polpetti’s sandwiches. 

“In today’s world where everything’s so expensive and the quality is going down, our philosophy is really more about, ‘What’s the point of doing it if you’re not going to do it right?’” Riccobono said. 

She said Polpetti’s is also planning to serve coffee at the Harrison Street spot. 

Riccobono said that the owners are hoping to open in July, and that Polpetti’s will continue to sell at both farmers’ markets and the Market on Meadow. 

Another new sandwich spot is in the works next to Capitol Waffle’s downtown location. Former food hall tenant Fat Kid Sandwiches is preparing to open in Sub Central’s space at 1110 E. Main St. 

polpetti harrison1 Cropped scaled

Capitol Waffle Shop closed on Harrison Street late last month. (Mike Platania photo)

A VCU-area restaurant space is trading waffles for chicken cutlets. 

Polpetti Italian has signed on to open at 515 N. Harrison St. in a space that until recently housed Capitol Waffle Shop.

Behind Polpetti is wife-and-husband duo Georgia and Peter Riccobono. Years ago, Georgia said that when they’d visit Peter’s family in Brooklyn, they’d bring empty coolers with them so they could bring back deli staples from New York. Eventually they decided to offer New York-style Italian food to all Richmonders. 

peter georgia riccobono

Peter and Georgia Riccobono

“One day we said to ourselves, ‘You know, no one is really doing this style of food in Richmond. Let’s give it a go,’” Riccobono said. 

The Riccobonos launched Polpetti six years ago, selling homemade pasta, sauces and sandwiches at farmers’ markets. They launched the business with New York Deli co-owner Demetrios Tsiptsis as a partner and went brick-and-mortar in 2021 with Market on Meadow, a shared space that they opened with fellow farmers market regulars Auntie Ning’s and Column 15. 

Riccobono said the opportunity to take over the space on Harrison Street fell into their laps and they couldn’t say no. 

“We’ve been working at this for years and years. It was a slow start in this building (on Meadow), and word has really started to get out,” she said. “We’re continuing to grow. But this could really be the thing that’s going to put us over the top. I think with this, people will really start to notice us.”

Capitol Waffle Shop closed in late April after five years on Harrison Street. The local breakfast chain also has locations in Midlothian and on East Main Street downtown, as well as in Harrisonburg and Norfolk. Capitol Waffle owner Brad Barzoloski wasn’t available for comment by press time. 

Along with the fresh pasta and sauces, Polpetti’s business was built on its sandwiches, which include variations of classic Italian grinders with capicola, soppressata and sharp provolone cheese. 

Polpetti also offers chicken cutlet sandwiches, which are made with thin, breaded and fried chicken topped with mozzarella cheese, arugula and roasted red peppers.  

polpetti cutlets

Among Polpetti’s offerings are chicken cutlet sandwiches. (Courtesy Polpetti)

Cutlet sandwiches are commonplace in New York but not as easily found in the Richmond area, and the Riccobonos strive to make them as authentically as possible. 

“Peter pounds chicken every day and breads them. They’re definitely as authentic as you can find around here,” Riccobono said. 

“People are very skeptical if they’re from up North. It’s funny when they come back to us and they’re like, ‘OK, OK, you know what you’re doing,’” she said, laughing. 

So strong is the Riccobonos desire to offer a New York-style product that they’ll make multiple trips up North every month to get bread from New York bakeries for Polpetti’s sandwiches. 

“In today’s world where everything’s so expensive and the quality is going down, our philosophy is really more about, ‘What’s the point of doing it if you’re not going to do it right?’” Riccobono said. 

She said Polpetti’s is also planning to serve coffee at the Harrison Street spot. 

Riccobono said that the owners are hoping to open in July, and that Polpetti’s will continue to sell at both farmers’ markets and the Market on Meadow. 

Another new sandwich spot is in the works next to Capitol Waffle’s downtown location. Former food hall tenant Fat Kid Sandwiches is preparing to open in Sub Central’s space at 1110 E. Main St. 

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Eileen Dahlstedt
Eileen Dahlstedt
1 month ago

Congrats Peter and Georgia! So excited that Richmonders will be able to experience (even more than before) your delicious offerings!! Nothing like authentic Italian fare. Can’t wait until the July opening and look forward to continuing to see you at the market!!

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
1 month ago

WIll support but I am not sure the middle of VCU is the place to sell much pasta and sauce for prep at home. But a good sandwich shop is sorrily needed. I hope the prices point aren’t too high and they will take RamBucks!