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Giulio Adriani’s whole life is pizza. He’s been in the game for nearly four decades, working as a pizzaiolo, pizza consultant, and instructor, overseeing the opening of roughly 100 pizzerias and flipping, by his estimate, millions of pies. Along the way, he earned trophies at the World Pizza Championship and Pizza World Cup, as well as a Guinness World Record for helping craft the World’s Longest Pizza: 1.3 miles long.
When I first meet him, he’s wearing a white Italian football track jacket with the word “Caputo” emblazoned across the front in marina red, all caps. If you cut him, I’m pretty sure he’d bleed crushed San Marzano tomatoes.
Though Adriani is based in New York, where he is the co-owner and chef of Forcella and Rosie Pizza Bar, and spends time jetting around the world—to Las Vegas, Mumbai, Hawaii, Canada, and elsewhere—consulting on projects, his newest ventures are Lucy and Slice & Pie, located at the corner of 14th Street and Florida Avenue NW. The former is a buzzy, breezy bar serving pizza; the latter aims to be a classic grab-and-go New York style pizzeria. They’re a partnership with co-founders Peter Bayne, Geoff Dawson, and Todd Galaida of Tin Shop, who own a slew of watering holes around town, including Franklin Hall next door, TallBoy in Shaw, and Astro Beer Hall in Metro Center.
The seeds for the collaboration were sowed before the pandemic, when Bayne took a pizza-making class at Marra Forni’s Pizza University in Beltsville. “I signed up, thinking, foolishly, I could make a pizza after three days of having Giulio scowl at me for my ineptitude,” he jokes.
By both accounts, he was not a good student. But the two struck up a friendship. When the pandemic hit, they commiserated about its devastating impact on their businesses and what they were doing to get through it. At some point, Adriani brought up the idea of opening a slice shop.
The idea found purchase, evolved, expanded. Initially, the partners planned to offer Neapolitan pizzas, but the uptick in delivery and takeout over the pandemic shifted their thinking. They settled on New York and Detroit style pizzas, which travel better, to sell at Slice & Pie, which would be complemented by Lucy, a bar serving pizza, playing to the Tin Shop collective’s strengths. (You know it’s a bar that serves pizza, rather than a pizza restaurant with a bar, because they take your credit card at the beginning of the meal instead of at the end.).
At Lucy, garage door-style windows open onto the street, where there’s a scattering of tables. Inside, you can grab a spot at the bar running down the length of the space or at street-facing window seats and high-tops. The design aesthetic is decidedly eclectic: A globe sits on one end of the turquoise-bottomed bar; mirrored plates festoon one wall; another has a pair of floral portraits, a tulip and a daffodil. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s not without oddball charm.
When it came time to develop the dough for the 11-inch rounds at Lucy, Adriani settled on a recipe that takes roughly four days to fully proof. He calls it “modern American, modern Neapolitan.” The final crust is quite light and soft, with a little crackle when you fold it. The edges come brown, bubbled and blistered. It goes down easy and doesn’t weigh you down.
There are eight options, ranging from a simple margherita and classic pepperoni to a white truffled round with mushrooms and another sauceless option decked out with ricotta, roasted tomatoes, and bits of ’nduja. The bestseller is the Devil, featuring spicy soppressata, jalapeños, and hot honey, but the best is a surprise—the Hawaiian. Here the oft-maligned pizza is transformed from an abomination to a revelation. If you’ve never been a fan of the Hawaiian—I was the same—give this one a chance. Rather than the usual squares of deli ham and canned pineapple chunks, Adriani uses bacon and roasted pineapple (“There’s less water, so it doesn’t make the crust soggy,” he explains). The salty porky savory sweetness of the pie works and is not so far away from classic Italian flavor profiles as you might think. Just consider prosciutto with figs or melon, or pancetta paired with pears or stone fruit.
There’s more to eat at Lucy—small bites, salads, sliders, beefy lasagna, some sweet finales—but keep your focus on Adriani’s pizza, though an order of puffy, pillowy garlic knots sprinkled with pecorino wouldn’t be out of order.
Drinks are overseen by beverage director Gavin Pierce, who previously worked with Room 11 and Bad Saint. Cocktails include the Black Magic, an Old Fashioned laced with notes of burnt sugar, ginger, allspice, saffron, and star anise, and the Barney (“Because it’s the purple drink,” Pierce explains), an effervescent tequila-powered beast rich with blueberry, hibiscus, and lemon. Of course, there’s an on-trend espresso martini too. To keep the summer vibes cool, there are frozen piña coladas and orange grapefruit crushes. Pierce is currently building a wine list highlighting minimal intervention varietals, including bottles from Ruth Lewandowski Wines and Luís Pato.
On June 19, Lucy will roll out weekend brunch service, its menu packed with fun fare: Eggs Benedict served over garlic knots, mushroom pizza crowned with dainty quail eggs and shaved truffles, and shakshuka-like eggs baked in a tomato bell pepper casserole.
Lucy, 1350 Florida Ave. NW. (202) 299-0514, lucybardc.com