Overall Experience - 7.2
Summary : We, The Pizza provides a viable option in a pizza barren neighborhood. Although the pizza isn't life changing, it's pretty good + they have some fun topping combinations.
I recently returned from a road trip to the Midwest during which I visited seven different pizza places. I had the opportunity to expand my pizza horizons, trying a variety of different pizza styles and topping combinations. Some were excellent… and others… not so much. But by the time the excursion was over, I felt confident that I’d gained a solid understanding of the pizza landscape in a number of new places.
There were a couple of pizza places to which I designated “must visit” status during our trip planning sessions; one of those places was We, The Pizza which was opened in Washington, DC by Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn. Although only in business for three weeks, I had extremely high expectations for the pizza there… expectations that were, perhaps, unfounded.
You see — We, The Pizza is situated next to Mendelsohn’s other spot: Good Stuff Eatery. I’ve been having a love affair with the burger they serve ever since I tried it last summer. In college, I studied the notion of spontaneous trait transference in which one might mistakenly make assumptions about one person based on information they’ve gathered about a similar person. This is essentially what I did with Mendelsohn’s food. Because the burger at Good Stuff Eatery is so mouth-wateringly amazing, I inferred that I’d have a similar reaction to the slices at We, The Pizza. Not quite…
Everything I ate at We, The Pizza was delicious. But unlike Good Stuff Eatery, it wasn’t a transformative experience. I wouldn’t send someone out of their way to eat there. But it could very well be the best pizza in the area. The pizza scene in DC is growing quickly, and Mendelsohn has certainly put his stamp on it.
Anyone that has been to Good Stuff Eatery will notice a similar layout and design upon entering We, The Pizza. Orders are placed at a counter and walls are covered in catchy signage, while black, white, and red are the predominant colors used in the space. I got to meet Mendelsohn (more on that later) and he told me about how much effort went into the brand of the restaurant. He hopes to one day open more locations, so it was important to create a captivating logo and set up the space in way that can be easily recreated.
As you’ll notice in the sign above, before ordering you can read an explanation of different items and ingredients on the menu. It’s not a detailed enough explanation to satisfy a food expert, but it provides average customers with a glimpse into some of the food they’re about to eat. A similar explanation, albeit shorter, was provided on the menu at RedRocks when I dined there earlier this year. I noted then that in New York City, places are too pretentious to include this type of explanation on their menus or in their restaurant (Huh? You don’t know where our tomatoes are from? Get outta here!), but I always find it very helpful and informative.As far as the pizza itself — I tried six slices. You can order a whole pie (a medium pie with six slices is $16.00 and a large pie with 8 slices is $18.00) or maximize your options by ordering slices. All slices are $4.00 other than a simple cheese slice ($3.00). Right now, there are ten slices on the menu in addition to a couple of “Cast Iron Pies.” Here’s what I ate:
(wild forest mushrooms, truffles, mozz, fresh thyme)
Spinach & Artichoke
(béchamel, sautéed spinach and roasted chokes,
aged provolone, Parmesan cheese)
(chunky tomato sauce, mozz, fresh basil)
(ricotta, fontina, roasted garlic, Parmesan,
mozz, sea salt, olive oil, parsley)
Fresh Buffalo Mozz & Roasted Tomato
(fresh mozz, oven-roasted tomatoes,
tomato sauce, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil)
There was nothing that blew my mind, but at the same time there weren’t any slices that were horrific either. The Simple Cheese, Sicilian, and Fresh Buffalo Mozz & Roasted Tomato pies were all relatively similar with only subtle differences. The slices are sizable — they’re not quite New York style, as they’re thicker, but they are also not as filling as what you might be served at Artichoke in New York City. Three slices is enough for a full meal. The White slice could have probably used some more flavor, as you want to bite in and let the cheese ooze into your mouth. That didn’t happen.It’s worth nothing that so far most reviews on Yelp have been poor (53 reviews have garnered a total rating of just 2.5 stars). One reviewer writes: There are just so many problems with the layout and ordering system that i can’t go back anytime soon. While another notes: The pizza was atrocious. If I wanted Sbarro’s, I would have gone to the mall, and maybe back in time 20 years. But after opening such a delish burger/shake joint, how can you serve such garbage?
I don’t usually pay much attention to sites like Yelp, but obviously there has been a lot of frustration about the waits, the service, and the pizza itself. It’s too early to tell if you can just chalk it up to kinks during the first month. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m not the only one with super high expectations for this place after falling in love with the food at Good Stuff Eatery.
Pizza aside — We, The Pizza also serves a number of homemade sodas ($3.00), my favorite of which was the Sassy Sassparilla. Delicious! I was also surprised at how much I enjoyed the Don’t Forget Your Ginger Roots Soda.