Pizza is not easy. In fact, trying to break into the heavily saturated pizza market that is DC seems like some twisted form of sadomasochism. Pizza is everywhere in DC. Every neighborhood has their favorite spot, be it one of the Pizzeria Paradiso locations, Comet Ping Pong (named best pizza in DC by Food Magazine) way up Connecticut North, or one of the several places to pick up a ‘Jumbo Slice’ in Adams Morgan or the U Street corridor. All this variety and local favoritism would be daunting for any wannabe pizza pusher, but the folks over at Pi Truck DC are bringing something special.
Now allow me to preface my comments with one small fact. I am a New Yorker. More specifically, I am a Long Islander, which means I grew up eating some of the best pizza in the world (nobody cares Connecticut). That being said, my pizza upbringing was insular and consisted solely of doughy crust with the cheese on top. In essence, I was wholly unprepared for the Chicago Deep Dish, and the fellows running the Pi Truck do it right.
The Pi Truck guys provide four different types of their signature 9’ deep dishes on any given day. Generally, two of these are meat pizzas and the other two are vegetarian, which is a big help for our friends in unenviable positions such as fellow ETD writer Evan (get excited about his upcoming ‘Dating a Vegetarian’ column). Each pizza is made in the traditional Chicago style with the toppings and cheese below a heavily seasoned chunky tomato sauce. And all of it sits in a deep dish of their cornmeal crust, which is so good that they advertise it all over their bright green truck.
The Western Addition is chock full of the veggies, like mushrooms, onions and spinach, that tie this Pi back to its omelet namesake. But it also has mozzarella, ricotta and feta, andthe three cheeses do not get lost under the thick layer of chunky sauce that tops your crunchy deep dish. And then there is the Penn Quarter, which stays simple with its roasted eggplant and sausage but doesn’t let you down with the flavors, as it is also filled with onion, ricotta and plenty of basil.
All that said, the best part of these pizzas is the crust. The stuff inside is terrific, but
the cornmeal crust is insane. It is crunchy and so insanely flavorful that you may
start to rethink some of your doughy childhood pizza preferences. I know some folks
who often throw away their crusts, and let me say that if you throw out the crust when you are eating one of these Pis… I will find you… and I will smack you.
Another big check mark in my book is that the Pi Truck people are nice. I was a
customer on the day they rolled out for the first time to Dupont Circle and I had a
chance to chat with their pizza chefs. When I returned the next week, I overheard
them retelling a story that I had told them on my first visit, and when I brought this
up they gave me an extra pizza for free! We all had a laugh, and I was able to have
one of each of my favorite pizzas.
Two small warnings when hitting up the Pi Truck. If you do not like big chunks
of tomatoes, you may have some problems with the sauce. For me, the thick and
chunky mess is tomato nirvana, but tomato naysayers accustomed to a smoother
pizza sauce may find it to be a bit too much. Also, these pizzas are not cheap at $12
for a nine inch pie. However, there is a solution for this. You will find that halfway
through your pizza, you are full. You will not want to stop eating, it is that yummy.
My advice: close the box, save it for later, and you will feel good about stretching
out your money without stretching out your tummy.
Pi truck can be found all over the city, frequenting Union Station, GWU, Dupont
Circle, Farragut Square, the State Department, and L’enfant Plaza. Follow them
@PiTruckDC to keep tabs on where they will be.
Oh yeah… they also have a brick and mortar location in Chinatown/Penn Quarter,
but it is slightly more expensive and nothing beats supporting local food truck
Roll on food truck fanatics.