"Scalability, simplicity, consistency and quality" is not the only 4-step program that the latest restaurant chain to enter the DC pizza revolution has to offer. It's the pick of one of its 7 crusts, 5 sauces, 3 cheeses and over 35 unlimited toppings at a warp-speed efficiency that Pizza Studio hopes to draw the crowds in with.
I was invited to an early peek of the first Washington, DC outpost of Pizza Studio, a fast-casual restaurant a la Chipotle - allowing customers to build their meal from the bottom up, choosing from an array of ingredients that are enough to overwhelm the senses, but with the help of "pizza artists" to guide you along the way so not to make any culinary missteps. Pizza Studio, located just south of Dupont Circle on 19th Street hopes to stand out by offering up unlimited toppings at one price at a very quick speed. $7.99 will get you an 11" pizza in 2 minutes, or at least that's the time it takes for each pizza to cook in the 600 degree oven. For a company that's only been around for a little over two years it's a pretty impressive feat, these pizzas taste and look as if they belong on a more established menu.
If you're a traditionalist don't be put off by the menu, the margarita pizza is as good as any my memory can recall, with fresh ingredients such as mozzarella grated daily, which matters and basil that tastes as though it was just picked off the stalk, it is always the simplest way that proves best. However, don't shy away from the six other proprietary doughs which the company has developed: curry, spicy firecracker, whole grain & flax seed, rosemary herb, Moroccan and gluten-free (sadly at a $2 surcharge) to choose from. It took only one slice of buffalo chicken on firecracker to be a little too much for my taste buds, a double-punch in the spice department and somewhat greasy, leaving me reaching for the water and napkins. I personally recommend the whole grain & flax seed, it's a modest dough that doesn't overpower the fresh toppings, allowing the flavors of my custom built pizza of nitrate-free pepperoni (less greasy, so I'm told), jalapeno, Roma tomato and spicy pork sausage. This place is as custom and glutenous as it gets, pile on the toppings to your hearts content, for $7.99 it's one of the better deals around.
Pizza Studio supports local artists with its Starving Artist Wall, a rotating collection of artwork from members of the Washington Project for the Arts which are available for sale.
Pizza Studio: 1333 New Hampshire Ave, NW Washington, DC (cloest metro: Dupont Circle south)