• Pierogi on a plate
  • Fish Tacos
  • Tomato Soup

Blue 44

About us

Blue 44 serves New American, seasonal cuisine. Our neighborhood kitchen and bar was created with the belief that serving delicious fresh food from the best ingredients - sourced locally, whenever possible - promotes a healthier and more sustainable community. Located in the heart of Chevy Chase DC, Blue 44 was inspired by friends and family with a goal of providing great food in a welcoming environment for residents, students, and children of all ages.

Christofer Nardelli
– Owner & Operator

Christofer Nardelli – Owner & Operator

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Chris came to Washington, DC in 1995 to attend American University where he would achieve his degree in Journalism. During his time at AU and after graduation, he worked at Cafe Ole for his mentor, Ziad Maalouf, in Tenleytown, DC as a server, bartender and manager. Chris’ many years of experience at Cafe Ole, his fond memories working at his Godfather’s restaurant in Pittsburgh when he was a teenager, and his love of the restaurant and hospitality industry led him to open Blue 44 in April, 2011. The Blue 44 name was inspired by Nardelli’s roots, family, and the memory of a close friend. Since opening, the restaurant has been a three time consecutive winner of the Washington City paper’s Reader’s Award for Best Fried Chicken (Monday nights only!), has been written up both nationally and internationally for receiving a $2,000 tip (a testament to the quality of food and service), and has been featured in local and regional publications numerous times.

James Turner
– Executive Chef & Consultant

Introduced through a mutual friend back in 2010, owner Chris Nardelli & Chef Turner quickly bonded in their shared passion for food and the restaurant industry. Since opening the doors in April 2011, Turner has been the face of Blue 44’s kitchen. His culinary background and experience speaks volumes as he is a graduate of Baltimore’s International Culinary College. He has cooked in several local, noteworthy kitchens including the Tidewater Inn in Easton, MD, Treaty of Paris & Harry Brown’s in Annapolis, MD, the Washington Monarch Hotel in DC, and Persimmon in Bethesda, MD. He notes that his love for cooking stems from his close relationships with his grandmother, mother and aunts while also influenced by local chefs such as Tracy O’Grady, Bob Kinkead, Jeff Black & Damian Salvatore.

While Chef Turner remains the acting executive Chef at Blue 44, he recently launched a food truck business as well called Beltway Bistro…so be sure to check him out.

Pete Bakel
– Food & Beverage Consultant

A neighborhood resident of Chevy Chase, DC, Pete lives with his wife Beth and two young sons, Bruno and Hugh. Pete met Chris Nardelli at Café Ole in 2006 and the two became fast friends.

A cooking enthusiast and avid hunter/angler, he won first place in the nationally televised contest “Hey, Can You Cook?!” in 2008 on the Emmy-award winning Rachael Ray show. Pete completed an intensive cooking course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and has worked as a menu consultant, caterer, and personal chef.

Pete’s made multiple appearances on the Rachael Ray show, including his own cooking segment, and was one of 7 chefs selected to participate in the “Rach to the Rescue” series. He’s been a guest on Fox 5 DC News “What’s Cooking,” and was featured in The Washington Times and The Washington Post’s “The Reliable Source” with Roxanne Roberts.