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From the moment I first walked into Pete’s, I thought I had good grasp of its operating ethos—a sort of sloppy, garlic-breathed hug of New Haven, Italian-American traditions, with just enough refinement to appease the magazine-toting foodies. But with each subsequent visit to the Columbia Heights pizzeria, I realize just how wrong my initial impression was. I’ve come to see that Pete’s is actually a cool urban outpost dedicated to classic Italian/Mediterranean ways. Perhaps it has always been thus, and I was just bamboozled by the “Apizza” in Pete’s name. Whatever the concept, though, this operation turns out raised, crispy crusts with a slightly airy, slightly chewy crumb, which strike me as New Haven in style, even without the coal ovens. Pete’s may be more refined than its Connecticut cousins, but the pie parlor still aims for an honest homemade simplicity, which in our processed age has become a strange signifier of quality and class. I have no doubt that Pete’s has 2Amys in its sights.1400 Irving St. NW, (202) 332-7383
Next up: Pho Saigon