Trattoria da Lina opens, bringing another taste of the Mediterranean to Carroll Ave.

A new Italian restaurant serves up tasty cuisine on Carroll Ave. Photo by Alyson Kay.

By: Alyson Kay

In Italy, there is a tradition of naming children after their grandparents.

While Marcello Minna doesn’t have kids of his own, he’s found a way to honor his mother’s moniker: Trattoria da Lina, a new Italian restaurant on Carroll Ave in downtown Takoma.

“I named something that is very important to me after my mom,” Minna said. “Trattoria da Lina. Lina is my mom’s name.”

Trattoria Da Lina opened this spring, serving traditional Italian cuisine in a cozy setting. Red curtains bedeck the windows, Italian music serenades diners and frying pans and paintings alternating serve as wall decor. A flat screen TV by the wine bar plays sports—especially soccer.

The idea for the restaurant came from a nearby neighbor – the landlord for Dolci Gelati Cafe just next door.

According to Minna, a lot of people were interested in renting the space beside the popular gelato shop, and it could have become anything. But the landlord wanted to do something nice for the city and rent out the space for something that Takoma Park didn’t yet have.

“My landlord wanted for the community to have an Italian restaurant and that’s why I’m here,” Minna explained.

In Italy, a trattoria is a type of restaurant that is less formal than a ristorante, but more formal than an osteria.

Although Trattoria da Lina is the first restaurant that Marcello Minna has owned, as part owner of Mágico Gelato, he is not new to the restaurant business.

While his Trattoria da Lina will focus on Italian dishes, there will be popular Americanized dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs available as well.

“The reason why we have spaghetti and meatballs on the menu is because we want to give an authentic Italian restaurant that actually features American dishes in an Italian way,” Minna said, adding that he hopes to do their version of Fettuccine Alfredo in the future.

The restaurant is new, but already Takoma Park residents are stepping into the little slice of Italy on Carroll Avenue.

They’re coming for the atmosphere – but they’re staying for the food.