A Piece of H & Perfection
H Street ‘hood residents rejoice – there is finally a legitimate pizza joint in the Atlas District! The eagerly anticipated H &Pizza (1118 H St. NE) opened last weekend, providing yet another reason to consider the up-and-coming neighborhood when dining out or looking for a night on the town. After only a few weeks in business, the pizzeria shows distinct promise in becoming a favorite for both H St. locals and others, as lines have formed out the door and numerous diners appear to be repeat customers already.
With hundreds of other pizza options in DC, including pies at The Liberty Tree just a few blocks down the street and We, The Pizza just a bit further down on Pennsylvania Ave., what sets H &Pizza apart? Aside from the convenience for nearby NE residents, low prices and the ability to customize each pizza offers diners endless possibilities, providing something for everyone. With cheese pies at only $6.82 and those with unlimited toppings (yes, as many as your heart desires) at only $8.64, nearly everyone can afford to go as wild or mild as they like.
Each pizza starts with a choice of 3 thin crusts (sorry, deep dish lovers) – traditional, whole wheat, and multigrain. The crusts are a personal yet large size, sure to leave most with either a to-go box or a reason to share and try more than one style. After choosing a crust, 6 options of either a sauce or a spread, such as spicy tomato, red chickpea, and mushroom truffle, are added before selecting one of 6 cheeses, including a soy mozzarella for those that love pizza but typically can’t indulge in the dairy-laden delight.
For those looking for something more substantial, patrons have 20 more toppings to chose from, including traditional pepperoni, veal & pork meatballs, and soppressata for proteins to broccolini, artichoke, and pickled red onions for veggies. Where most pizzerias simply add toppings and then bake, H &Pizza gives everyone another opportunity to make their pizza truly unique by adding a number of finishes & oils, such as fig Marsala, strawberry balsamic & garlic oil, and red pepper chili oil. With so many options, one could easily become overwhelmed when making a decision on which pizza is right for them. Never fear! H &Pizza has also created 9 suggestions, all available on your choice of dough, that are perfectly balanced and sure to bring you back for another round.
If you’re not a pizza fan, grab one of 4 arugula-based salads, using all fresh ingredients and at a reasonable price. Salads include a traditional Caprese (cherry tomatoes, basic, housemade mozzarella, balsamic vinaigrette) and mixed green (pickled beets, crumbled goat cheese, pecans, lemon vinaigrette). To spice things up a bit, try the Fresca, incorporating green apples, smooth ricotta, salsa verde, and tomato vinaigrette. The lighter side of H &Pizza will run you anywhere from $3.18 for the not-so-standard side salad (spinach, asiago, pecans, your choice of vinaigrette) to a reasonable $7.27 for more complex salads.
No meal is complete without a taste of something sweet, and the guys at H &Pizza have you covered. Enjoy housemade Pizelle waffle cookies (just like his father makes) and a rich, creamy, and creative dessert pizza, which are easily excuse enough for a trip to NE. With ricotta, Nutella, strawberries, and pecans on your choice of crust create a decadent composition that is both rich and light, certain to make anyone reluctant to share.
Delicious pizza aside, two major reasons why H &Pizza shows significant potential to be a successful, lasting business in the District are owners Michael Lastoria and Steve Salis. Hailing from New York, the pair are some of the most genuine people that you will meet. Each shows a passion for food, proven by the two years taken to get each recipe just right, a commitment to quality ingredients, and truly listening to the needs of the neighborhood.
Every aspect of the restaurant, from the comfortable yet expressive décor to each individual ingredient were deliberate and well thought out, aiming to “take [them] out of the equation” and allowing people to make choices on their own. With a plan for “self-expression through food,” each person can select something simple or truly indulgent, consider a dietary limitation, and eat simply or include everything on the menu. Lastoria explains, “We just want to give people what they want,” and the nearly unending options available will provide just that.
So, how did the Atlas District get so lucky? Ultimately, Salis and Lastoria found a creative charm and true sense of community among business owners and neighbors alike, where there isn’t competition but rather a sense of helping one another grow their businesses. The affability of the neighborhood was clear during one visit, as several friendly diners stopped to thank the guys for a delicious meal, raving about each time they’ve visited the pizzeria.
One local man, a 30 year H St. resident whose wife has owned a business down the street for 15 years, said that in just the past 2 days, he had eaten lunch and dinner the day before, dinner that day, and asked when the shop was open the next day for lunch. He continued to praise the business owners, expressing that the nearly 300 customers in his wife’s beauty shop have all heard of the pizzeria’s fantastic offerings. With positive vibes like these radiating through H St. and beyond, word of mouth certainly appears to show cause for keeping the new business busy.
Bottom line: H &Pizza is a fantastic addition to the H St. community. Low prices, delicious ingredients, and an inviting atmosphere are all reasons to visit the new pizza shop, but the personability of the owners and staff will really keep you visiting time and time again.
Written by Dining in DC’s contributor, Lindsay Hovermale
Look for more posts from Lindsay to get information on the special event and music scenes in DC and the surrounding areas. Follow her on Twitter @theycallmeHOVE and her forthcoming blog, Hunger Hierarchy.