Chefs are thinking outside the box for new pizza restaurants. Little Grand is now open on H Street, Northeast with “New York-ish” pies and “Sicilian-ish” squares. At Bethesda ghost food hall Ensemble, Pizza TBD launched this week with a hybrid Roman-Detroit (Rotroit?) rectangular style.
Going a more traditional route—with a style that is still uncommon in these parts—is In Bocca al Luppo, which just debuted in Glover Park (Italian translation for the name: good luck). The soccer-themed spot, which takes over the former Arcuri space (2400 Wisconsin Ave., NW), specializes in super-thin, crunchy, Roman-style rounds.
Owners Carolyn and Massimo Papetti, who are also behind I’m Eddie Cano and Italian Bar in Chevy Chase, are longtime lovers of the style; he’s from Rome, and she lived there for over seven years. The duo brought on Massimo’s pizzaiolo cousin, Fulvio de Rosa, to design the pizzas and helm the kitchen in the opening weeks. Though the pizza tonda is offered for takeout, Carolyn Papetti warns that it is best eaten straight from the oven—theirs is wood-burning—and kept whole until it hits the table.
“It’s a thin, delicate pizza,” she says. “If you cut it before it gets to the table, the oils seep in and make it soggy. We got steak knives that cut it perfectly.”
Toppings—on either white or red-sauced pizzas—range from classic quattro formaggi and Margherita to creations like Crocchettos, a ham-and- cheese pizza with potato croquettes. Carolyn Papetti says the goal for now is to keep things focused, with a few snacks like bruschetta or suppli (fried rice balls) rounding out the menu alongside Italian wines, beers, and cocktails such as Aperol spritzes and negronis.
After the opening weeks, the Papettis plan to introduce live entertainment—there’s a piano and small stage in back—and will eventually open for lunch in the fall. Also on the horizon, potentially: a walk-up window for Roman pizza al taglio, which is thicker and rectangular, and is often eaten by the slice as a street food.
In Bocca al Lupo. 2400 Wisconsin Ave., NW.