About Us

Masseria, a new restaurant and a first for chef Nick Stefanelli, is a celebration of big, harmonious flavors and the finest Italian cooking that shaped his palate as a child. In October 2016, it earned a Michelin star within Washington, DC’s first-ever guide. The restaurant’s name carries a heartfelt meaning, defining the charming agricultural farm of the Puglia region, which is heavily rooted in Stefanelli’s heritage. All of which means that running his own restaurant is now more of a lifestyle than a profession, by taking the pretense out of fine dining and keeping it to just a whisper through its service. Entering into a handsome courtyard with relaxed seating, Masseria, an exclusive restaurant for 60 guests, combines the raw and simple look of an Italian country estate, the industrial grit of the Union Market district, and the undeniable chic of its fashion-savvy chef-owner.

Stefanelli’s innovative Italian tasting menus sing with touches of coastal cultures and feature a satisfying range of his signature cuisine. Fresh hand-crafted La Paste along with freshly prepared Pesce and inventive Carne dishes comprise the rustic yet refined progression of courses. Washington Post food critic, Tom Sietsema, selected Masseria as third among his top 10 favorite restaurants in Washington, DC for 2015. Washingtonian Magazine selected Masseria to the #12 spot in its list of the city’s Top 100 Very Best Restaurants for 2016. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington nominated Masseria in category of “New Restaurant of the Year” and “Pastry Chef of the Year” for 2016.

team bios

Nicholas Stefanelli

Chef / Owner

Nicholas Stefanelli is the chef and owner of Masseria in Washington, DC. Stefanelli grew up in suburban Maryland with a strong influence coming from his close relationship to his Greek and Italian grandparents whose culinary heritage was a fact of life. Visiting Puglia, the source of his Italian roots, Stefanelli became enchanted by the masseria, centuries-old agricultural estates whose residents worked the land, created their own food, and hosted visitors, neighbors, and friends with great warmth. Striking out on his own and building his culinary career in the Nation’s capital, Stefanelli was determined to recreate that sensibility in his first establishment. The result is Masseria.

David Kurka

GM / Sommelier

Since his very first job gutting salmon at a fish cannery, Alaska native David Kurka has been more or less immersed in the food service industry. He gained his wine expertise working with top professionals in the area, including John Wabeck at Inox; Jaime Lang at Brasserie Beck; Matt Carroll at Brabo; Andy Myers and Jarad Slipp at Cityzen; and Kathy Morgan at Range.

Julien-Pierre Bourgon

Bar Manager

A native of Hull, Quebec, Julien-Pierre Bourgon resorted to creating his own cocktails when he realized that the local bars were not producing drinks like Mama used to make. He got his professional start learning from Stefan Trummer, a veteran of the cocktail revival movement, and went on to America Eats Tavern, José Andrés’ project in partnership with the U.S. National Archives, where he was immersed in classic American cocktails.

Sean K. Tener

Sous Chef

Sous chef Sean Tener has had the advantage and the pleasure of spending most of his career in the kitchen alongside Nick Stefanelli. Their friendship and familiarity has been a boon to Masseria from the beginning, creating a welcoming atmosphere and ensuring that the kitchen runs like a well-oiled machine: one that’s amped up on creativity, adrenaline, and a shared love of the Italian classics and modern, inventive culinary riffs.

Turner Jenkins

Sous Chef

Turner Jenkins is, by his own definition, the ‘baby’ in the Masseria kitchen. A 2010 graduate of L’Académie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Maryland, he stayed on at Bibiana working with Nick Stefanelli after a six-month internship, and has been learning from him ever since. Jenkins hails from a Seattle-based family of world-travelers, and brings a global perspective to his cooking. The traditions and details of Italian cuisine appeal to him deeply; he especially enjoys making pastas, and seafood butchery and production. The intimate scale is what excites him about Masseria, and the level of refinement that scale allows on each plate.

Ben Plyraharn

Sous Chef

When Ben Plyraharn was a child, his mother, a cook in a Thai restaurant in suburban Maryland, would bring him to work, where he’d watch all the activity from his seat atop a milk crate. That was likely the last time this energetic young chef sat still in a professional kitchen. After earning his Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts that the Art Institute of Washington, Plyraharn quickly joining the team at Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca alongside Stefanelli. Now, as a sous chef under chef Stefanelli, Plyraharn is proud to be part of the team that earned one of the first Michelin stars in the nation’s capital.

Jemil Gadea

Pastry Chef

Pastry chef Jemil Gadea is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan and a graduate of that city’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education. He has worked at Wolfgang Puck’s establishment in Downtown Disney and, in Las Vegas, at Spago, at Jean-Louis Palladin’s Napa, and at Picasso at the Bellagio. For over three years prior to the opening of Masseria, his desserts complemented Nick Stefanelli’s Italian cuisine at Bibiana.

press room

For press inquiries, please contact Simone Rathlé | simone@simoneink.com | 703-534-8100

Divine Puglian cuisine in a chic Washington DC restaurant

07.07.2017 | Financial Times

With its charming courtyard entrance – the perfect spot to savour one of the delicious sorbet-infused cocktails – and bustling dining room, Masseria offers a multicourse dining experience that is one of my culinary highlights of the past year.

1 Rare Spirit

06.29.2017 | Modern Luxury

Perched over the bar at chef Nick Stefanelli’s chic Italian tasting-menu restaurant Masseria, a collection of old-fashioned bottles with yellowing labels draws the eye. It’s more than two-dozen antiquated amari, including a trio from the 1950s.

Behind the Bar at Masseria

05.30.2017 | Brightest Young Things

You come for the cocoon of linguine coated in spicy XO sauce. Or the dainty cannoli filled with foie gras mousse and bookended with black truffles. Or the colorful cocktails with colorful names like “I’m the King of Brooklyn… For All She Knows” and “Tonight Let’s Dance the Tarantella.”