By Nevin Martell
When you dine out, you might think about the ingredients that go into your food, but you probably don’t think about all the numbers that make your meal happen. Restaurants are filled with interesting figures that might not be apparent when you bite into an enticing entrée or take a sip of a signature cocktail, but they’re all around you.
This week we check out Penn Quarter pasta palace Carmine’s, where they like to live large by dishing out super sized, family style Italian favorites to a crowd that includes locals, tourists, Supreme Court Justices and Joe Biden.
Maximum seating capacity: 700 seats
Private rooms: 13
Supreme Court Justices who use Carmine’s private entrance: Three
Speakers of the House who use Carmine’s private entrance: Two
Vice Presidents who forwent the private entrance and just sauntered through the front door: One, Joe Biden
Meatballs sold every week: 1800
Romano cheese used: 17 tons a year
Garlic used: 17 tons a year
Veal used: 15 tons a year
Varieties of pasta: 12
Wheat- or gluten-free items on the menu: 40, including the famous Titanic dessert if ordered without the chocolate “smokestack” cookies
Cocktails that reference pop culture: Five, including Sinatra’s Iced Tea, Godfather, Ventanni, Arnie Palmer, and Little Frankie Blue Eyes
Italian wines on the menu: 74
Virginia wines on the menu: One
Holiday parties hosted last December: They stopped keeping track after 400
Black and white photos of Italians on the walls: 1,276. The company’s late founder, Artie Cutler, started this tradition at the restaurant’s first location in New York City on the Upper West Side. Cutler’s wife, Alice, used her own family photos to decorate the space. Every Carmine’s location since then boasts pictures of the couple’s wedding and Artie Cutler’s picture hangs in the bar, in the same spot where he used to sit at the original bar in New York City.