|Pete's Apizza To Open On Monday|
|Contributed by Michael K. Wilkinson|
|Thursday, 24 April 2008|
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Pete's New Haven Style Apizza, located at the top of the metro in Columbia Heights, is opening its doors to the public on Monday, April 28th, at 11AM.
We are so grateful...
OK, skip over this next paragraph if you want to get right to the good stuff about our pizza.
Sorry. Just feeling really grateful.
A quick note about who we are.
...OK, skip over this next paragraph if you want to get right to the good stuff about our pizza.
Anyway, we are NOT a chain. Our three principal owners are Alicia Wilkinson-Mehr, native of New Haven County, CT -- hence the New Haven style pizza; Joel Mehr, Montgomery County born and raised, former NYC cabbie and upper west side Manhattan pizza joint manager; and Tom Marr, Fairfax County born and raised, who, along with Joel, most recently ran the kitchen at the National Gallery of Art. Alicia and Joel live in Petworth; Tom and his family live in Fairfax. And, providing backup vocals, Michael Wilkinson, a Columbia Heights resident since 1999, U Street before that and Logan Circle before that. Michael and Alicia are twin siblings, with deep roots in Connecticut. The name Pete's comes from our dad, Pete Wilkinson, and Alicia's son, who used to be known as Wil but now introduces himself as "Pete" and, by the way is a 4th grader at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School across the street at 14th and Irving, above the CVS. Those are the owners. Not some big corporation. A really little, really new corporation which could use some help setting up the books and getting things arranged so we stay out of trouble with the tax people. Oops, was that out loud?
OK, not such a quick note. Sorry.
So what is New Haven-style pizza? Anyone who knows Sally's or Frank Pepe's or Modern Apizza knows. If you're not a New Haven pizza nerd, you can check APIZZA on Wikipedia. Or, google any of the pizzerias mentioned above. Short version: New Haven Apizza is an outgrowth of the Italian-American community that settled in the New Haven area in the early 20th century. It reveres the Italian food culture of fresh ingredients, simple construction, and unpretentious presentation.
Many people think New Haven pizza is all about coal as a heat source. Not entirely true, although the most famous New Haven pizzerias do use coal-fired ovens. Our absolute favorite New Haven pizza is actually found in East Haven in a restaurant named Grande Apizza, where they fire the pizza in a gas-fired oven, like we do, at the perfect temperature for the perfect amount of time. Another thing is the crust. It's just DIFFERENT. Because of the way it's made, without divulging any secrets, it turns out PERFECTLY CRISPY on the OUTSIDE and PERFECTLY CHEWY on the INSIDE, with the perfect amount of black on the bottom. Also, New Haven pizza never has too much sauce, too much cheese, or too much of any topping. Because what's on it is so good, they don't have to load the toppings on.
We aim to use organic ingredients, locally sourced whenever possible, throughout the menu. And we aim to apply as many Green principles of producing, selling, discarding, re-using and recycling as possible. So, we're going to sell beverages in glass containers rather than disposable cups and deliver our food to the table on china rather than paper or styrofoam (BLLLECCCCHHH!!!) ; we're going to distribute biodegradable utensils and cups with our take-out; and we're going to ENCOURAGE (hound) OUR CUSTOMERS TO DISPOSE OF THEIR WASTE RESPONSIBLY.
Speaking of "throughout the menu," we are much more than apizza. We offer panini; salads; fresh pastas; antipasti; gelato from Georgetown's Dolcezzi; coffee from Italy's best, Illy; and an assortment of desserts. You can see the full menu at the website (www.petesapizza.com). Sorry about all of the semicolons in this paragraph. Dr. Echols really trained me well in my high school grammar classes. It's annoying, but technically correct. Trust me.
OK, screw English class and back to the restaurant.
Feel free to call us at 202-332-PETE, or email us at with your thoughts. We've gotten some great ideas already from neighborhood supporters. Above all else, let us know if you've got a NEW HAVEN connection. We'll treat you real special.
For photos of the whole construction process, browse the different sets within the Pete's collection on Flickr.
I am glad to take (er, or return) calls from people in the neighborhood who want to know more. My cell is 202-374-6591 and my home number is 202-545-0880. The store can be reached at 332-PETE (7383). You can call ahead to order in or take out, and you will (VERY SOON) be able to place your order directly online at www.petesapizza.com.
I have to say.
After eight years of living in the neighborhood -- my addresses have been 1407 Monroe (1999-2001), 1106 Monroe (2001-2004 SHOUT OUT TO COL HTS COFFEE!!!!!) and 4114 Arkansas Avenue (2004-present) -- I am so incredibly proud to be a Columbia Heights resident, and I am so proud to have been a part of the changes that have taken place over the past ten years here.
I am grateful for all the people who have taken the leap to move here during good times and bad.
And I am so proud to be taking part of the commercial renaissance of 14th Street, bringing it back to the glory it once possessed, and it now deserves.
Longtime residents and newcomers alike can and should share in this pride. We are an awesome neighborhood with awesome accomplishments that we could not have accomplished without both old timers and newcomers. THANK YOU.