H Street NE has so many great restaurants, it can be hard to choose. However, since most of the popular H Street places don't take reservations, it can be mighty tricky trying to pick a place for a group of friends to meet for a quick dinner prior to a show at the Atlas Theater.
The need for quick and easy led me to H&Pizza, a new-ish kid on the block, that makes individual-sized pizzas fast. I hate to say it's the "Chipotle of pizza" (the "Chipotle of ____" is as played out as "____ is the new black") but it's a similar concept.
You can tell the very friendly pizza topper what you want on your pizza and what kind of crust you want it on (traditional, whole wheat, or multigrain) or you can choose from one of their suggested combos. They've got everything to top your pizza from shrimp to strawberry balsamic finishing oil to vegan cheese.
All the topping options overwhelmed me so I ordered the pre-designed Farmer's Daughter (spicy tomato, housemade mozzarella, hot sausage, farm eggs, spinach, parmesan, red pepper chili oil). You can ask for them to make the farm egg topper runny or scrambled (the answer is runny, duh).
B went a little crazy and ordered a side salad, Moonstruck pizza, and a dessert pizza!
The Moonstruck was topped with "mushroom truffle" (is that a truffle truffle?), goat cheese, roasted mushrooms, fig marsala, red pepper chili oil, and crushed black pepper.
The dessert pizza, which we shared with friends, was nutella, sweet ricotta, strawberries, powdered sugar, and pecans. You really can't go wrong with this combo (though I'd vote for fresh strawberries or at least something less syrupy).
We left very impressed with H&Pizza. First, it's hard to beat the prices. $8.64 for a pizza packed with gourmet-ish toppings is a steal. It's only $6.82 for a simple pizza with dough, sauce, cheese. Second, it was good pizza. It wasn't the very best ultimate fantastic pizza in DC but it tasted high quality and the crust had a nice crispy/soft combo texture going on. Third, the people were really nice. We went on a Friday night and the place was packed full of people (including a huge group of Gallaudet students having some sort of meet-up). The staff handled the crowd really well and our pizzas came out of the oven in minutes.
My only complaint is the space and set-up is a bit awkward. It would be nice if you could pay for your order while you are waiting for your pizza to come out of the oven. Having everyone crammed into the small space near the pizza oven didn't work well. There is also little counter space to put your tray o'pizza while you're trying to move from the pick up area to the cashier area. It all felt a little jumbled and confusing. Finally, the ventilation system could use some work. There was a thick haze of smoke in the air and my winter coat smelled strongly of smokey pizza fumes for days.
Logistical hiccups aside, I recommend H&Pizza for a quick and easy bite on H Street NE.
Second Thoughts From B
In my defense, I arrived at H&Pizza after a long day at work which caused me to skip lunch. Despite my huge order, I would have made my 16 year old self proud by polishing off everything with ease (not to mention gusto!), plus a few slices of J's pizza. I don't say this because I'm proud of my most recent gluttonous exploits. Rather, I want the readers to know that my thoughts on H&Pizza were heavily influenced by a rumbling tummy.
Just like no one should call Chipotle fantastic Mexican food, I don't think you'll confuse H&Pizza with gourmet pizza. You probably wouldn't even put them in the same class as some of the District's more accomplished pie slingers like 2Amys, RedRocks, or We, the Pizza. But in a country that loves the freedom to make choices, as well as immediate results for a cheap price, this place is a winner.
Since we so unpatriotically forfeited our right to create our own pizza and went with items on the menu, I can also say that H&Pizza is more than an oven at the end of a toppings buffet. I was impressed with the quality of ingredients and the contrasting flavors and textures that demonstrated more culinary expertise than your average college pizza joint. And the people were nice. Say what you want about my hunger bias, I am confident that the people were nice.