“I realize it’s not the best restaurant in town, but I’ve been going there for nearly 50 years, so I have a special connection to the place,” [Antonin Scalia] said, when asked about A.V. on January 9th at a private reception. “And it has the best pizza in town.” He should know. Having grown up in New Jersey and Queens, he honed his taste for the perfect slice in a region with more pizza joints than anywhere in the United States.
Rumor has it that its days are numbered. According to a September article in the Washington Business Journal, A.V. owner August Vasiao was “given an offer that we would be absolutely nuts to refuse.” In its place, real estate developer Trammell Crow would build a 14-story condo building with ground-floor retail. Vasiao also notes that this had been the fourth offer on his property and that, “the three other offers had died.” After a half century of work, he’s clearly ready to unburden himself of the landmark and take some well-earned time off.
And, from the Washington Post review:
Stumbling into this long-running, family-owned Italian restaurant -- and you might, because it's dim as a cave, with blood-red banquettes and dark wood paneling -- it would be easy to tag it as that spaghetti house of your dreams. Unlike some of those Italian-flavored chains that attempt to re-create yesteryear with boat-size portions and kitschy props, A.V. is the real deal. We're talking walls plastered with restaurant reviews dating to 1962 and signed letters and photographs of long-ago VIPs, Hubert Humphrey among them. Tinny opera music (is that Caruso?) reinforces the nostalgia. The food is apportioned for lumberjacks, and while none of it will make you swoon, some of it is satisfying. Eggplant parmigiana is draped in a tangy-sweet blanket of tomato sauce; tender clams ride the rim of a plate of garlicky, white-sauced linguine; and fried artichokes get stuffed with bread crumbs, capers and olives, for a nice group appetizer. Heavy and bland, the meat dishes are best avoided. A.V.'s assets extend to efficient service, a big, copper-framed hearth and an outdoor deck replete with a fountain. Of course the tables are covered in red-and-white checks.