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Nov 6, 2007 10:44 AM

DC Pizza

We are heading to DC for the weekend, and would like to get some good pizza, NY style, thin crust and greasy. What's our best bet? We'll be near Dupont Circle.

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  1. unfortunately there arent any options that come to mind. DC is definitely lacking in the NY style pizza. there are some great gourmet type places like 2 Amys and Paradiso, but its defiitely NOT New York style.

    1. I agree above, your best bet is to go with a thin napolitan style at 2 Amy's, Matchbox or etc.

      For NY style pizza there are some huge threads on it you can search. I don't want to start a new one as there are many.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ktmoomau

        I am no expert on NY Pizza, but for greasy pizza I like Dominick's in Silver Spring on New Hampshire between 29 and Randolph Road. Nothing redeeming about it- the speical has bad sausage, commercial pepperoni, thin shreds of onion & mushroom and shredded cheese-like roofing patching material. But somehow it hits the spot with a cold one!

      2. Why do you want to have "New York style pizza" in Washington, D. C.? Why not have what this city does best? And, some of what we do best, is among the best in America: Two Amy's, Bebo, Comet, American Flatbread are all among the best pizzarias in America. None are similar to Una Pizza Napoletana (one of America's if not the world's best), Lombardy's, Patsy's in Harlem or Totonno's. I would argue, with the exception of the first, all four noted above are excellent but no better than what D. C. does best. Go for what WE do best. Don't expect New York pizza here-this isn't New York and few D. C. natives (such as my wife and myself) want to be like native New Yorkers. Washington now has great, literally world class pizza. We have more in common with Italy than Manhattan or the Bronx. Look for that. You'll return with a much better impression than if you tried to find D. C.'s version of New Yawk Italian... Washington pizza today stands on the world stage, it doesn't need to replicate New York or anywhere else. Frankly, Bebo along with Two Amy's and Comet have more in common with Napoli and New Haven than they do with Manhattan...

        New Yawk is no longer the bottom line for pizza although some from New Haven would say that it never has been...

        8 Replies
        1. re: Joe H

          Actually, I was looking for New Haven style as that's my favorite. I live in NC and can't find good pizza anywhere, so I thought DC would be a good bet to satisfy the craving while we're visiting.

          1. re: alexig

            My favorite pizzas are the margherita at 2 Amys, the atomica at Pizza Paradiso, the red and yellow tomato pizza at Pie-Tanza (Arlington), and a pizza with olives, onions, and red peppers at Vace (carry out only). They are all different styles and all thoroughly delicious.

            1. re: alexig

              Bistro Italiano near Union Station does a decent white pizza. Don't know if you can get clams on, a la New Haven, but it's thin crust, greasy, and cheap.

              The closest to NY style would probably be Valentinos, but that's a hike from Dupont and probly not worth the effort.

              When you say "DC pizza" what comes to mind is what you'd find at the original Ledos or Marios: a square pie, buttery crackery crust, sweet sauce, smoked provolone. Definitely an aquired taste, but local nonetheless.

              1. re: monkeyrotica

                There are several "original" D. C. pizzas: Luigi's on 19th street was this city's absolute best in the '60's along with Gusti's and Anna Maria's sharing a distant second. I grew up eating Ledo's on University Blvd. in Adelphi and long believed that it was better than either Luigi's or Jimmy Comber's who had vaguely similar pies. In high school a date on Friday or Saturday night would often entail a visit to Ledo's (from Silver Spring) or Pop's on Henderson in Wheaton. If it was a REALLY big deal we would go downtown to Luigi's. If it was late at night there was Anna Maria's which was open to the middle of the night. I was never fortunate enough in 11th grade to have a date where I was able to keep her out that late...

                If you grew up in Arlington the late night pizza was at Mario's; it was actually good then-well, it was good for one in the morning. Today it wouldn't survive four AM...

                Still, in the '50's there was a salesman who travelled around the area making what really became THE definitive D. C. pizza: fresh dough pressed between rollers, fresh out of the can sauce, cheap mozz and pepperoni sliced from a cheap stick along with canned mushrooms and "Italian sausage" broke off from a defrosted cube. He was a good salesman. Places like the Pizza Kitchen, Pizza Oven, Pizza Square and countless others sprung up everywhere around the D. C. area. Overtime most were killed off by Shakey's and later Pizza Hut and Domino's.

                Still, there are some that survive and nobody ever talks about them on here. Please note that I have not been to the three that I am going to mention in at least two years. But all three were operating as recently as the winter of '05: Pizza Pantry on Walter Reed Drive off of Columbia Pike in Arlington, Pizza Oven on Riverdale road just off the B/W parkway and the Pizza Oven at 355 & Hungerford in Rockville.

                This is CHEAP, thin crust pizza. But it is identical to what was ubiquitous for the D. C. area starting 50 or so years ago. (Yes, I am old but I started obsessing on food very young!) This is the real D. C. pizza. My wife, who is much more modest about her food obsessions than I am, grew up only a few blocks from the Pizza Pantry. For years she and our daughter would make pilgrimages to the Pizza Pantry for its unique "taste." The pilgrimage for our daughter today is not insignificant: she lives in Newport News.

                By the way, I still drive from Reston to Adelphi for pizza from the original Ledo. It is the ONLY one that is really good and yes, it is worth the drive.

                I don't know about Newport News to Walter Reed Drive, though.

                1. re: Joe H

                  I have mentioned Pizza Pantry in the past. I believe it's still there but under a new name. I think that Jamie D reported that it's the same people and product - but I can't back that up myself.

              2. re: alexig

                Where have you had "New Haven style" pizza?

                1. re: Joe H

                  grew up in New Haven -- Pepe's and Sally's

                  1. re: alexig

                    I have not been to the new Pepe's in Fairfield (which does have a coal oven) but I've never found anything even similar to Pepe's, Sally's or even Modern outside of New Haven.

            2. Saw this article today and thought it might help (although the NY style might be minimal):

              1 Reply
              1. re: KWynn

                EVERYONE!!! She said NEW HAVEN. Yes, originally she said NY, but then when Joe H asked her why on earth she would come from NY to DC and look for NY pizza, she clarified and said no - she wants New Haven style. I am getting weary of people expecting everyone else here to have read their minds, as if they are just too busy or tired to type a few more words and make themselves clear. (Like the lady who asked about Ambrosia chocolates, and only after I'd done all the homework for her did she mention that she'd already tried all the things I'd done - and here I was, wondering if it is possible that she actually didn't know about Google). So OK this lady wants New Haven style pizza.

                Ding! Time for another round of Comet Pizza is/is not New Haven style pizza. Joe H - having appointed myself the referee in this battle, I hereby give you the floor, as anyone who would drive to Trenton for pizza is a man who clearly knows his pizza.

                On second thought - she describes what she wants as thin crust and greasy. That doesn't sound like the great NY pies I've had (be still, my heart, Ray's is a dream from a different lifetime) and it doesn't sound like what I've read about New Haven pizza. To me, that sounds like the joints in the malls - Sbarro's.

              2. Let's face it, there is no ``New Haven'' pizza in the DC area . . . there is no true NY-style pizza either. What we have here is some pretty good derviative designer pizza . . . places like Comet Ping Pong, Red Rocks, 2 Amys, Matchbox etc. are trying really hard to hit the mark. Whether they're as good, not as good, or better than DeFara's, Pepe's, Sally's, makes for a lot of good threads on Chowhound but doesn't get you (us) anywhere. IMHO, we should just appreciate these places for what they are, honest, solid attempts to put across a good pie in an area that otherwise is pretty much a pizza wasteland. (I like Luigi's pizza for what it is & mourn the loss of AV Ristorante, a classic old-Washington place, but these arguably rank higher in memory/nostalgia than actuality.) I know a newspaper food editor in Texas who wrote a story about how she tried 2 Amys & it was the best pizza she'd ever had anywhere in the world, period. So, for pizza and life in general, it really is all relative.
                On a more practical level, Alberto's on P St. just off Dupont Circle puts together a good oversized slice that should satisfy anyone's craving for acceptable slice-joint pie, especially if you're visiting from NC.