Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza could have expanded much sooner than now — there have been offers aplenty — but the owners of the high-performing Columbia Heights pizzeria weren’t interested in rampant expansionism. Or expansionism for the sake of expansionism.
“All you need is a couple of months of swimming upstream,” says Mike Wilkinson, co-owner and twin of fellow owner Alicia Wilkinson-Mehr, “and you start to get into trouble.”
So the five owners of Pete’s waited. They waited until they had their first operation down pat (it opened in April 2008), and they waited until they had the right location. Oh sure, they scouted a couple of other spots, which eventually fell through, but it wasn’t until yesterday that the fivesome finally landed on the right space: the former Wisconsin Avenue Collection consignment shop at 4940 Wisconsin NW. It’s located sort of between Tenleytown and Friendship Heights.
The owners signed a lease for the 3,400-square-foot space location yesterday and hope to be open, believe it or not, by April, even though the they will have to build a kitchen (with large, gas-driven deck ovens), install a walk-in in the basement, and essentially turn a consignment shop into a fully functioning, 100-seat restaurant.
The new place will look much like the original Pete’s in Columbia Heights, although Wilkinson says that the owners may swap out the Italian pictures for snaps of New Haven, Conn., whose pie culture is the inspiration for Pete’s. “We hope to put the focus on our New Haven heritage,” says Wilkinson, who’s from New Haven.
The new location is significantly larger than the Columbia Heights spot and even better: There’s likely room for another 20-50 seats on the sidewalk outside.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery