Big Mac-inspired pizza at Boogy & Peel
Big Mac-inspired pizza at Boogy & Peel Credit: Courtesy of Rachael Jennings

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Chef Rachael Jennings says her first restaurant is a selfish endeavor because she’s making the food she craves most. The former Rose’s Luxury line cook and sous chef is opening a pizza joint on Dupont Circle with fried sides, soft-serve ice cream, and adult slushies. Boogy & Peel is slated to open this spring where Ping Pong Dim Sum once operated.

The North Carolina native will only need about 1,400 square feet of the sprawling space. Her brother, Corbin Jennings, will transform the rest of it into a MADabolic interval fitness franchise. Jennings was striking out on finding small spaces in hot neighborhoods when Corbin approached her with the idea of going in on 1 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 115 together. After working out at the gym you’ll be able to replenish the calories you burn, and then some, at Boogy & Peel. 

Jennings, who is currently working in the kitchen at Tail Up Goat, calls her pizza “bastardized Neapolitan.” She ferments her dough for 48 hours, stretches it into 12-to-13- inch rounds, and bakes the pies in a gas-powered brick oven from Marra Forni. “From a textbook standpoint, it marks more of the checkboxes that go with Neapolitan than any other style,” she says. “That being said, if you took one of these pizzas and gave it to someone from Napoli, they’d probably spit in your face.” 

Boogy & Peel will offer three categories of pizzas: classics like Margherita and pepperoni, originals topped with whatever vegetables are most in season, and “super gluttonous and indulgent” pies that draw from nostalgia. One likely to make the menu takes inspiration from one of D.C.’s signature sandwiches—the “G” Man sub at Mangialardo’s on Capitol Hill.

To make the pizza, Jennings uses mayonnaise as the base sauce and layers on Italian cold cuts that get a little crispy in the oven. Then she finishes it with shredded iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced onions, Italian vinaigrette, pickled peppers, and fontina cheese. Another guilty-pleasure pizza at Boogy & Peel is a nod to McDonald’s Big Mac.

“I’ve always loved pizza and when I got out of college, I worked in a couple of restaurants that did pizza,” Jennings says. “That’s when I got interested in actually making it. When I moved to D.C. and lived in a house with Corbin and his fiancée, I’d make pizza for them a lot. That’s how we got the ball rolling on this several years ago.”

The Boogy & Peel menu will also have chicken wings, side salads, and soft-serve ice cream for dessert. To drink, diners will be able to order off a short wine list that includes some funky skin-contact picks. Bottled and canned beers as well as a handful of house cocktails will also be available.

So who’s Boogy? The German Shepherd/Husky mix Jennings got when she was a freshman in college. “Everyone who met her loved her,” she says. “My friends and family created this larger-than-life persona for her that was very youthful and playful. The wildness we created around her aligned with the vision of what I wanted this pizza place to be. We’re not taking ourselves too seriously.” As for the rest of the name, a peel is the long paddle that pizzaiolos use to slide pizza in and out of the oven. 

Swatchroom is designing the space, which will have 30 seats inside and about 40 seats on a patio. When it first opens, Boogy & Peel will serve dinner Wednesdays through Sundays. Jennings’ goal is to build up to nightly dinner and all-day service on Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant will be closed Tuesdays.

Boogy & Peel, 1 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 115, instagram.com/boogyandpeel