'Orange Is the New Black’s Jackie Cruz Discovers NYC’s Hidden Pizza Scene
Logan Circle/14th Street
Italian gastropub with elevated, cut-your-own pizzas
Stylish, dark, and minimalist -- it’s all about happy hour at Ghibellina. From 4-6:30pm on weekdays and starting at 3pm on weekends, nosh on some discounted thin-crust pizzas, cocktails for $6 and wine for only $5. Ghibellina is known for its extra-crispy-crusted pies that you cut yourself with pizza shears.
A bustling, Neapolitan neighborhood institution
2Amys hardly needs an introduction, given that it's one of DC’s longest standing favorites, and one of the founding members of the Neapolitan renaissance in the district. Come here for near-perfect, delicate pies with bubbly crusts, fresh mozzarella, and basil. The margherita is the baseline against which all Neapolitan pies in DC are judged, but a wide range of other concoctions, arancini, and an impressive Italian wine list have helped 2Amys endure as a mainstay in Capitol’s culinary conversation.
The best margherita pizza in the District
Il Canale serves up authenticity with its giant, Italian-made wood-burning oven, rotating fork dough mixer, and fresh buffalo mozzarella -- all of the hallmarks of a true Neapolitan pie. This is what has earned the Georgetown spot the distinction of being named one of DC’s VPN pizzerias (and one of less than 400 in the world). Il Canale boasts a full Italian menu as well, but if you’re after the pie, the margherita is a little taste of Naples.
Wood-fired pies with DC pride
A charming little nook of a restaurant just steps from Eastern Market, 7th Hill isn’t shy about its love for its city. Each pie is named for a DC neighborhood, like the Navy Yard with smoky Toulouse sausage, oregano, and pecorino; or the Barracks Row with red onions and spinach. How exactly each of these combinations embody their respective neighborhoods is not immediately apparent, but they’re tasty and there are plenty to choose from, so focus more on the eating than the logic.
U Street (and many other DC locations)
Convenient, customizable, and open late
Since &pizza opened their DC flagship location on H Street in 2012, Washingtonians haven’t been able to get enough of their fast, quality, customizable pies. One location that continues to stay absolutely packed through the day and night, especially on weekends, is their shop on U Street. With hits like the meat-packed Maverick, the vegetarian Moonstruck (covered in mushroom truffle sauce and goat cheese), and even a Farmer’s Daughter breakfast pizza, they’ve got something for everyone.
Charming spot with a sidewalk patio and $4 happy-hour beers
The tiny neighborhood of Bloomingdale has gotten some serious love lately, probably due to its surprisingly vast array of culinary options, bars, and parks. Bacio perfectly exemplifies the charm of the neighborhood with its rustic-modern feel, dog-friendly patio, and make-your-own pizza options. It also does takeaway.
Vegan- and vegetarian-friendly chain with a laid-back attitude
This Atlanta-based pizza chain is all about keeping up the mellow vibes. Since it’s arrival to the AdMo scene it’s definitely become a sort of institution. Come for the impressive offering of craft beers and stay for the rooftop patio. Vegetarians and vegans will also have plenty to choose from -- they even have a gluten-free pizza base option.
A hip suburban joint for great for pingpong and local band performances
There are a few reasons to make a trip to the suburbia of Northwest DC’s Wakefield neighborhood -- namely Politics & Prose, Little Red Fox, and Comet Ping Pong, all of which you can find on the same stretch of Connecticut Avenue. Comet faced some drama last year thanks to Pizzagate, but that doesn’t negate the fact that its pizza is delicious. So are the wings. Comet is a unique spot because you can actually play pingpong, and they have a regular cadence of bands performing in their warehouse-chic back room.
Family-friendly spot, emphasizing a locally sourced menu
Those homesick for New England-style pizza can find themselves at home at Pete’s. New Haven-style pies have been slowly gaining ground in DC, and Pete’s is the frontrunner: producing the large, thin, crisp crusts with a healthy char of its regional namesake. Of course, Pete’s couldn’t claim its New Haven pedigree without the requisite white clam pie: fresh clams, garlic, olive oil, and Romano.
Low-key joint with classic pies and ample craft beer
The little-traveled neighborhood of Brookland houses one of the city’s hidden gems. Menomale serves one of the best pies in town. Every bite of every pie tastes fresh and flavorful to the highest order. The dough is fired to the perfect state of a thin crisp shell with a mouthwateringly moist and chewy interior. The margherita is impeccable, and the Chef’s Special is not only an unequaled balance of flavors and textures with its layered arugula, prosciutto, and Grana Padano -- it’s also one of the prettiest pies you’re likely to ever eat.
Where Neapolitan pizza and craft beer live in sweet harmony
Paradiso has been around for over two decades and has expanded to three locations. Its success is due to a couple of factors. The first being slinging quality Neapolitan-style pies, like the ever popular Atomica -- spicy salami, pepper flakes, and sweet pickled olives crafting a potent mix of sweet and heat. The second reason is that Paradiso is also a killer beer bar, with dozens of crafts from around the world to choose from. Delicious pizza. Delicious beer. Done.
Cornmeal deep-dish and thin-crust pizza
Even though Pi is known for their cornmeal deep-dish pizza, they also have unique “chef’s pick pizzas,” which feature items such as the Korea Town on whole wheat crust with bulgogi barbecue beef brisket. The St. Louis-based chain first gained notoriety after Barack Obama supposedly claimed Pi as his favorite pizza place. Their ingredients are sourced locally, and they claim to have built their brand upon the promise of minimizing their carbon footprint through sustainable purchases and practices.
A farmers market haul on top of a pizza, and wine on draft
Since Timber hit the Petworth scene in 2016 it’s been making quite the splash, and for good reason. A casual atmosphere complete with communal tables and growlers of local beer make Timber a popular local spot. Here, you can order your pizza ‘half-and-half’ so you’ll never again have to decide between your two favorites. People who crazy for the Green Monster pie, teeming with fresh mozzarella, zucchini, and kale.
Jersey- and Italian-style pies with thick-yet-airy crust, and great eggplant parm
Italian-American eatery All-Purpose opened to amazing reviews and instantly bustling business in May 2016. With pizza inspired by both Rome and New Jersey, they’re known for their bready crust and delicious garlic knots. Other offerings include house-made charcuterie, a wide selection of hot and cold antipasti, and dessert from their neighboring bakeshop, Buttercream.
Tasty New York-style pizza in the District
Who says it’s impossible to get a good NY slice in DC? Wiseguy is proving that you don’t have to travel to the Big Apple for that perfect cheesy slice. Their slices are handmade from scratch, sizable, with fresh ingredients and thin, crispy crust. Our only warning: get ready to wait.