When former defense attorney Joey Barber began slinging carryout-only pies out of Ivy City’s Union Kitchen, he soared to the top tier of DC’s pizza-makers. Now, after a years-long wait, he opened a shop of his own near Capitol Hill’s Lincoln Park earlier this month.
What sets Barber’s operation apart is its diverse offerings of top-quality regional pies. Here, he’ll offer his famed Detroit-style sheet-pan pizza, plus New York, Grandma-style, and Chicago deep-dish varieties. Right now, the pizza is only available for takeout, and you have to order ahead of time.
Thick Detroit-style slabs aren’t hard to find these days, but when Barber launched Della Barba, they were just starting to pick up momentum in niche pizza circles across the country.“When I first started getting into pizza in 2018, going to all the conferences, everybody was talking about the Detroit.” Barber–who was looking for a way to contribute something to the DC pizza scene–became fascinated with different styles. After attending Tony Gemignani’s now closed International School of Pizza in San Francisco, he took the operation pro. He became known for craft pies and pizza tasting menus.
The space–a total reimagining of a shuttered pizzeria on East Capitol Street–will eventually have indoor seating and a patio that Barber hopes to bring to life next spring. Barber also hopes to offer delivery in the coming weeks.
Barber’s priority is making everything from scratch. Each style on the menu gets the same level of attention, and each crust requires different ingredients, time, and techniques to execute. The menu also has mini versions of Barber’s Chicago and Detroit-style pizzas, along with chocolate chunk cookies and a few non-alcoholic beverage options–the plan is to eventually add beer and wine to the menu in 2023. He also says to stay tuned for doughs made with ancient grains or beer.
The result is pizza that Barber hopes can provide an elevated experience. “I really want to push some of these boundaries with pizza,” he says. “Because everybody pretty much loves pizza, right?”
Della Barba Pizza, 1382 East Capitol St., NE.