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SUMMER RULES is a series where we ask people to share with us how they’re staying safe and sane during this very different summer season; from mask suggestions to soundtrack selections, we’ll take a peek into how others are making these challenging times work.

Today our tips come from Andy Clark, Executive Chef of Napoli Pasta Bar; he’s missing baseball games, but he’s masking up and going fishing and hiking, plus he’s been reading, eating plenty of tomatoes  and more:

How do you usually feel about summer, as a season overall, and how do you feel about THIS summer, by comparison? 

I love summer; it is tomato, bean and corn season, and some of the tastiest produce comes from this time of year, so it is usually one of my favorites… besides the heat. This summer is different of course. I am having a hard time with farmers since there isn’t a high demand for product, so it is hard to get my hands on stuff.

What is your summer shaping up to look like? 

A lot of patio business and to-go food.

Is there anything, in particular, you’re actually looking forward to this summer?

I am just really hoping they play baseball this summer.

What are some of your tips for staying safe and sane right now? 

Staying safe: wear a mask. That is first and foremost. To stay sane, I am reading a lot and trying to keep myself occupied outside of the news cycle.

Go-to summer wellness practice advice? Any spots in particular that have been helping you on that front? 

I have been going fishing a lot. It is a good way to social distance and relax. I like to go to the Shenandoah mountains and fish in the streams there.  

Where did you get your mask from? And what, aside from that, has been your more or less go-to summer uniform? 

I get my masks from all over the place, most from Etsy, and most recently Target. You can really find great masks everywhere now. As for my summer go-to uniform, it has primarily been my work clothes, and if not that, shorts and T-shirts since it has been so hot!

What (if anything) are you reading right now, and why do you recommend it? (Alternatively, just share a favorite book.)

American Gods by Neil Gaiman; it is my favorite book. I have read it 6 or 7 times now.

Do you have a go-to summer hang-out recipe that still works for a socially distanced gathering? And/or just a favorite general summer recipe that’s still a go-to, even now?

Beautiful tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar is my favorite thing, especially in the summer. 

What about a great summer cocktail or mocktail recipe? 

A simple yet refreshing go-to cocktail for me is gin, lime, and soda water.

What’s on your summer playlist this year, or are there three songs that are permanent summer favorites for you? 

Right now I have been listening to a lot of The Weeknd’s new album, “Midnight City” by M83, and “Ain’t No Man” from the Avett Brothers.

Where do you wish you COULD GO this summer if there were no restrictions or safety risks? 

I normally would never say this, but I would love to go to the beach right now. I normally don’t love the beach, but something about knowing you can’t do it has made me want to go there. (Normally I would be itching to go to a cabin in the mountains somewhere.)

And is there anywhere you’ve been safely going that you could recommend for people who live nearby? Any day trips or local spots worth mentioning, for example?

The Shenandoah Mountains are a great place to go hiking. It is really awesome out there, but if you are looking to stay a bit closer to home, other good options are Billy Goat Trail and Great Falls. Kayaking is a good option, too; companies are great at sanitizing everything, and you are, of course, out on the water by yourself. 


Napoli Pasta Bar Hours

Mon. Closed
Tue- Sun 4:30p–10pm

Book a reservation here or place a to-go order here.