Terms like “fast-casual” and “customizable” recall bigtime corporate chains such as Chipotle, but a growing number of local, independent businesses are owning the concept (think Oh Fish! and Cava Grill). Now we welcome the newest addition: H &Pizza, dishing up personalized pies in the Atlas District since Friday. Here are five things to look for at the modish parlor.
1) A slice of history
Co-owners Steve Salis and Michael Lastoria channel an old-school pizza parlor with red, white, and black tones, but the overall feel is modern. Painted brick walls, exposed pipes, and long, bench-like communal tables fill the 36-seat space. Black-and-white photographs line the walls, but instead of the owner’s family back in Italy, you’ll find evolving images of the neighborhood between 1910 and the ’70s.
2) Nontraditional pies
“We just want to make great pizza fast,” says Salis. Wary of conforming to any one category like Neapolitan or New York, the guys have designed their own “& pizza” style: thin-crust, elongated ovals perfect for one (you can design each half with different toppings, which is way better than sharing). Individual elements are also unusual for a counter-order pizza spot. You can customize pies with traditional, whole-wheat, or multigrain crusts, have them brushed with red chickpea or mushroom-truffle spreads, and get them finished after baking with pickled red onions, prosciutto, or fig Marsala.
When the crew gets up to ideal speed you’ll order your pizza at the counter and have it delivered to your seat in five minutes. But other touches recall a sit-down restaurant. Servers clear places and take orders while you’re seated for dessert (think Nutella-topped pizza) or another round of DC Brau and house red or white wine. And while it doesn’t have a cute name like “the mozzarella bar,” the prep counter has a few seats where you can eat while watching cooks pull house-made mozzarella cheese.
4) The Jenny
“Bubba Gump” was already taken, so Salis and Lastoria named their shrimp-topped pie with pesto, zesty tomato sauce, mozzarella, and ricotta after Forrest’s leading lady. If you don’t feel like designing your own, there are nine suggestions—all under $10—from the vegan Redvine with soy mozz, roasted peppers, and eggplant to the meaty Maverick topped with soppressata, bacon, pepperoni, and spicy sausage.
5) Late Hours
If there’s a debate between H Street and AdMo for weekend bar hopping, consider this a point for the Atlas District side. Instead of a 2 AM jumbo slice you can order the 2 AM Farmer’s Daughter, with sausage, runny eggs, and hot chili oil.
H &Pizza. 1118 H St., NE.; 202-733-1285; andpizza.com. Open Sunday through Thursday 11 AM to 10 PM, and Friday and Saturday 11 AM to 3 AM.