A new pizzeria that serves offbeat toppings and uses super seasonal ingredients opened this week in Cleveland Park.
Tino’s (3420 Connecticut Avenue NW) comes from chef-owner Logan Griffith, who spent the past three years cooking at the Watergate Hotel after stints at the Inn at Little Washington and Blue Duck Tavern. The shop is named after Griffith’s new baby boy, Constantino.
In addition to bringing on peaches, roasted zucchini, and squash blossoms, the chef is making an “Octopie.” He cooks octopus sous vide for five hours, then chars and slices it, adding pesto, preserved tomato, mozzarella, olives, and parsley.
“I ate at pretty much every pizzeria in D.C. I possibly could,” Griffith says. “I wanted to be different.”
The menu at Tino’s includes 11 Neapolitan-styled pizzas ($10-$17). Toppings will rotate through whatever Griffith gets from organic farms in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
“We are trying to make everything taste as fresh as possible,” he says. “A lot of things I make everyday will swap out.”
“All Green Everything” pizza is topped with charred zucchini, pesto, ricotta, and green tomatoes. A recent filet bean shipment goes into a burrata salad alongside ham and pistachio vinaigrette. A “Get Figgy With It” pizza with Italian soppressata will likely phase out next month.
The soundtrack at Tino’s plays the ‘90s music Griffith grew up listening to in Pennsylvania — alternative, pop, and hip hop. The “Prawn Love” pie is a riff on popular DJ Khaled lyric.
“The names are corny and based around music mainly,” Griffith says.
A dessert pizza topped with Nutella, candied hazelnuts, toasted coconut, cocoa nibs, and seasonal fruit is smaller than the savory pies.
The 30-seat restaurant has a small eight-seat patio out front. Griffith says he’s going for a “warm and welcoming” vibe. The renovation from its former life as a Chipotle took around six months, swapping its zippy red walls for a textured, terra cotta-like design that resembles a clay oven. Low-hanging wood ceilings resemble pizza boards, and metal light fixtures are shaped like bicycle spokes.
Griffith and his partners handled the DIY design and general contracting job themselves, along with help from their wives.
“As soon as you walk in you smell pizza,” Griffith says. “Even though it’s fast casual we want people to feel like they are coming into our home.”
To open his first restaurant, Griffith teamed up with chef and mentor Joe McCarthy, an old friend and hospitality pro who’s worked as executive chef for various Hyatt properties and set up kitchens nationwide for Kroger.
“We’re both goofballs — we love to laugh and just stayed in contact,” Griffith says of his partner.
Fellow Watergate alum Maria Galindo Camacho, who was most recently worked at the Four Seasons, will lead the food and beverage service team.
An opening list of nine bottled and canned beers show love for D.C. brewers, with DC Brau, Old Ox, and Port City, and Right Proper ($8). Wines run for $8-$11 by the glass and are available by the bottle. Happy hour (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and a cocktail menu are in the works.
Non-alcoholic options include Mexican sodas, cherry-flavored Cheerwine from North Carolina, and citrusy Kickapoo Joy Juice.
Tino’s has a grand opening scheduled for Saturday. Hours 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday with an 11 p.m. close on Friday and Saturday.