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about Pete’s

Pete's New Haven Style Apizza is both a chef-driven Italian restaurant specializing in New Haven style pizza, and your neighborhood pizza & beer joint. We take as much pride in being locally-owned and committed to the neighborhoods we've chosen for our stores as we do in our culinary pedigree and locally-sourced, all natural ingredients.

A passion for food, a commitment to health and sustainability.

We come from fine dining. Before founding your favorite local pizza shop, we ran high-end kitchens in major cities, fed Washington's elite at catering events large and small, and learned the trade from the best of the best at the Culinary Institute of America. We may not come across as a fine dining restaurant when you take your number and grab your napkins and flatware, but you'd be surprised to know just how similar our kitchen and purchasing operations are to those of some of the best-known chef-driven restaurants in the city. We select every ingredient for its freshness and natural pedigree. We build our antipasti and arancini monthly specials, as well as daily chef's choice pizza slices and soups, around fresh, locally available ingredients. We order beef and pork in whole cuts from local farms and grind it ourselves so that the meat in every piece of sausage and every meatball on your pizza or in your pasta comes from a single humanely raised, hormone-free, local animal. We order large blocks of mozzarella cheese from a co-op of local farms in Wisconsin, and shred it ourselves so there are no anti-coagulant agents in the cheese on your pizza. We even selected a fountain soda vendor that uses only all-natural cane sugar in its sodas, much to the dismay of die-hard Coke and Pepsi drinkers. It didn't matter; we didn't want to sell products with artificial ingredients.

Here are a few of the farms from which we're currently getting ingredients: Fifer Orchards - Wyoming, DE (peaches); Hares Valley Growers - Mapleton Junction, PA (basil, pea shoots;) Landisdale Farm - Jonestown, PA (cherry tomatoes); Village Acres Farm - Mifflintown, PA (plum tomatoes).

What is APIZZA?

Apizza, pronounced ah-BEETS. More information HERE. If that's not enough, Wikipedia has an entry on it HERE.

Why doesn't Pete's sell an "individual sized" pizza?

We believe that there is tremendous value for our customers in being able to buy 18" pizzas with one combination, or half & half, or to buy single slices from those pies for as little as $2.50. Here's why: We call it the Geometry of Pizza.

Hint: despite the allure of the "individual size" pizza that so many of our wonderful competitors make, a 10" pizza is only 30% of the size of an 18" pie. Gather three friends together for an $18.95 mozz at Pete's and you spend half as much AND still have leftovers, compared to what you get from a place that sells "individual-size" pizzas for $9 each. The pricing on our new 14" pizzas reflects the same great value on a pie that's the perfect size for two.

Why would I order pasta from a pizza place?

We know that most pizza restaurants offer other dishes, including pasta. But does it have to be overboiled mush with day-old sauce?

We don't think so.

We put as much care and attention into the preparation of our fresh pasta dishes as anything else on our menu. The pasta comes fresh from a local supplier, meaning it's basically just FLOUR, EGGS and SALT. It's refrigerated until it's ready to be sauced for the customer. It gets dunked in boiling water for about 90 seconds, then it gets plated, sauced and garnished, and finally brought out to the customer, perfectly al dente.

That's fresh pasta.

Fact is, we could write separate paragraphs on all of our menu categories: that they're filled with carefully considered recipes; fresh, locally-sourced, all-natural ingredients; and years of formal culinary education plus years of invaluable "OJT" experience.

One of our greatest challenges is to get our customers to venture beyond the pizza menu and try some of our other items. We know, it's hard when the pizza is so good. We do the same thing. Over and over. But why don't you try something new once in a while?

Who's behind Pete's?

Pete's is owned and managed by two couples and one individual, all of whom have long histories in the Washington DC area food scene.

Joel Mehr and Alicia Wilkinson-Mehr developed the concept originally. Alicia grew up in New Haven county and brought the idea of New Haven-style pizza to the marriage; Joel had managed a storefront pizza joint on the upper west side of Manhattan in the early 90s and wanted to open his own pizzeria ever since. They met while working for DC catering company Occasions Catering. Alicia and Joel (and Little Pete) live in 16th Street Heights, and Mehr grew up in Potomac, MD.

Thomas Marr and Kerri Knowles-Marr joined the effort to open the first Pete's soon after Joel Mehr announced he was leaving the National Gallery of Art, where he and Marr worked together as executive sous-chef and executive chef respectively. Kerri grew up in the United Kingdom, but her family is from Connecticut, so she was very familiar with New Haven style pizza. Tom and Kerri actually met while pursuing degrees at the prestigous Culinary Institute of America. Tom went down the fine dining path, with an emphasis on food allergies and dietary restrictions, and Kerri landed more on the hospitality side of the industry before the couple co-founded Pete's with Alicia and Joel. Marr grew up in Fairfax, where the Knowles-Marr family continues to live.

Tri Nguyen was the final addition to the Pete's team, joining right before the second location opened in Friendship Heights. Nguyen had spent many years managing multi-unit pizza retail operations in northern Virginia, and was asked to join the team in order to bring some bench strength to the front of the house. He grew up and continues to live in Fairfax County.

Who is Pete?

There are two Petes. Big Pete is co-founder Alicia Wilkinson-Mehr's father, who lives in New Haven, near the East Haven line. Little Pete is Alicia's and co-founder Joel Mehr's son, a DCPS student, little league baseball player and avowed vegetarian (since age 5).

The guy on the wooden ladder in the photo in our Columbia Heights location is NOT Pete. He's just a guy picking olives that we found on a dirt road in Tuscany in the fall of 2007, when we were on a photo and food-scouting trip before we opened the first location in Columbia Heights.

And if your name is Pete and you're a regular, we're named for you too.

Is Pete's a chain?

No.

We are locally-owned, not franchised, not interested in franchising, not a chain based in New Haven, and trying not to grow faster than our capability to manage the growth while maintaining the highest standards of food quality and service.

We've been asked to open branches as near as Silver Spring (you asked, we did!) and Frederick, and as far as New York, North Carolina, Lake Tahoe and San Francisco. Much as we'd love to live and run a successful business in New York or San Francisco, we're not planning on leaving the area any time soon. We love metro DC, and we know you need good pizza.

Our vision:

Pete's is dedicated to: