With a name that means the literal state of being pizza, Pizzaness isn't about to pull any punches with its bubbling, golden-brown pies. Oven-baked creations range from the traditional meat-topped pizzas to greek and barbecue chicken, and include a creation dressed in salami, ground beef, feta, and green peppers dubbed the "uniqueness." In addition, kitchen staff also prepare hearty cheese steaks and Italian cold-cut subs, as well as slabs of rich lasagna. Buckets of grilled chicken wings and customizable calzones, meanwhile, make the ideal meals for the one party that even the College Dean wouldn't shut down.
In the mines of northeastern Pennsylvania, workers heave loads of clean-burning anthracite coal and ship them to businesses such as Coal Fire, where chefs scoop the same coal into their 900-degree ovens to bake pizzas and wings. Before baking the pies, the chefs hand-toss the aged dough, then cover it with one of three original sauces and thick, house-made mozzarella cheese, as well as only the freshest produce and toppings such as sun-dried tomatoes and pepperoni. Outside the kitchen, servers slide across the polished floorboards, delivering platters of steaming pizzas and frosty drinks from the full bar.
José Velasquez, the co-owner of Moroni & Brothers Pizza Restaurant, crafts the eatery’s dough himself. The mounds—blends of flour, yeast, honey, salt, and olive oil—then get hand-stretched into crusts that Washingtonian magazine laud as “excellent canvases.” Upon those planes, custom combos of more than 25 toppings scatter, such as mussels and buffalo mozzarella, before baking in a brick oven. The result, raves the Washingtonian, is pizza with “more finesse” and “more soul” than its chain counterparts.
But pizza is only half the story at Moroni & Brothers. Rather than rounding out the menu with easily ignorable pizzeria eats or plastic food replicas, Velasquez includes zesty Salvadoran and Mexican specialties. On the Salvadoran side, the culinary team whips up tongue stew and sautéed pork chops, as well as El Salvador's national dish: pupusas. On the Mexican side, cooks stuff quesadillas with spinach and fill tacos with grilled fajita beef to add a bit of zip to a common dish.
After working in family-owned restaurants in Italy for years, the chefs behind DiMeo's Pizzeria decided to open their own eatery in the States. Inventive specialty pizzas like the Philly Supreme (topped with rib-eye chopped steak) pop out of ovens before heading to tables alongside plates of veal parmigiana and lasagna bolognese.
After visiting Ella's Wood Fired Pizza, a reviewer from the Washington City Paper went over the moon for its signature crust. Baked in the eatery's namesake oven, Ella's Neapolitan-style thin crusts are "perfectly crisp with a hint of smoke," while touches of olive oil and sea salt lend "tremendous flavor." Of course, the fixings atop that flavorful foundation are equally swoon-worthy. Ella's cooks handcraft nearly 20 specialty pies, from the di mare's pairing of pesto and shrimp to the bosco's medley of roasted tomatoes and roasted-garlic puree. The culinary team also yields decisions to diners, who can customize pizzas with 40-plus ingredients—including fingerling potatoes and vegan soy cheese—along with the option for a gluten-free crust.
Alongside pizzas, the kitchen staff specializes in traditional and creative Italian dishes, from mushroom ravioli with roasted red pepper sauce to risotto balls filled with gooey mozzarella. Plentiful beer and wine options complement meals, which unfold in a cozy interior with rustic Italian touches such as stone columns and a corner reserved for napping gondoliers.
Pronounced “AH-beets,” Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza sets itself apart from more familiar pie prototypes with a crunchy yet chewy, stone oven-cooked crust, irregular shape, and massive size. Combining their roots in fine dining with a dedication to fresh and simple Italian cuisine, Pete’s chefs make the gluten-free pizza crust in-house each day and top pies with savory sauce and locally-sourced toppings that are farm-fresh, organic, or made in house. Their artisan approach means that each apizza emerges with its own imperfectly round shape, primarily served in 18-inch whole pies, single slices, or doughy maps of ancient Greek city-states.
Pete’s menu also encompasses wheat- and egg-based pastas including goat cheese and basil ravioli, homemade lasagna, and spaghetti Bolognese. The fortress of feasting also channels the vibes of a neighborhood bar with a variety of draft and bottled beers, eclectic décor, and oven doors that bark out patrons’ names when they walk through the door.