Construction had just begun, and the question was would the space be everything the Food Network star hoped it would be?
Judging by de Laurentiis' huge smile on the morning of her grand opening, I would say she's very pleased.
She gushed about the beautiful Italian tile, the huge light fixtures in her favorite color of "tomato red." There are dinner tables mixed with lounge sections. The large windows flood the restaurant with light.
"I was pretty amazed at how much it reflects who I am. It's warm and inviting and the colors are so very much me," de Laurentiis said.
And while the space itself is gorgeous, the main focus of the decor is the food. There is a large antipasto case, filled with meats, cheese and olives. You can watch the chefs make fresh pasta and cook pizzas in a sparkling red pizza oven.
"What I really always wanted is for people to walk in and see food, for food to be the star element," she said. "The smells of food, the sights of food are the first thing that you see when you walk in and that to me is very Italian and very much welcoming."
You will see all of de Laurentiis' favorite pasta, pizza and antipasti dishes on the menu, some with a local twist. There is the rockfish cacciatore and a crab-stuffed arancini (rice ball) with an Old Bay mayo for dipping.
"So we're trying to use local ingredients sourced here in Maryland and apply them to this menu, which is different than my other two properties," she said.
GDL Italian by Giada opens to the public on May 22. They will be open for dinner and eventually brunch. You can make reservations now.