As Emmy Squared continues to expand across the East Coast, the popular Detroit-style pizza shop from New York aims to endear itself to new markets with foods that locals will find familiar. When it opens its first D.C. location in Shaw this week, customers will find the rectangular pan pizzas, with crusts made out of dough fermented for 48 hours, and grass-fed beef burgers that took the restaurant from a Brooklyn mom-and-pop to a multi-city trend setter. But there will also be wings and fried chicken pizzas dressed in EC Shaw sauce, a sticky red condiment meant to approximate D.C.’s own mumbo sauce.
“It’s a tribute. It’s an homage,” says Emily Hyland, a co-founder and the brand’s namesake. “We’re trying to say, ‘We’re in your community, this is something you guys do here,’ and we’re just doing our own take to pay tribute, not to try to take it away or make it more ours.”
Chef Matt Hyland (Emily’s ex) “shines in condiment land,” she says, referencing the couple’s cookbook and the cilantro green ranch she loves to add to her pizza. The name of the EC Shaw sauce represents a little bit of kismet: Hyland’s maiden name is Emily Candace Shaw.
Similar innovations in other cities have proven successful enough to make the trip to D.C. Emmy squared has two shops in Nashville, and Nashville hot chicken comes on a wedge salad with Alabama-style white sauce. Chopped beef burgers were first introduced in Philadelphia.
Emmy Squared will open its doors in the former Kyirisan space (1924 Eighth Street NW) on Wednesday, January 15. A couple days later, the pizza shop will introduce a wrinkle that’s new to the company: a late-night menu with half-pizzas, wings, chopped cheese waffle fries, and burgers.
Serving bottomless mimosas and bloody marys ($20) at weekend brunch is another first for the company. Local beers available in Shaw include cans from 3 Stars, D.C. Brau, and Right Proper, and drafts from Union Craft Brewing, RAR Brewing, Manor Hill, and Denizens.
Although the Emmy Squared location recently served a less casual purpose as Tim Ma’s late French-Chinese restaurant, the new tenant in the 65-seat space didn’t make a ton of changes just for the sake of mixing it up. Kyirisan regulars will recognized the triangular island opposed the bar. Large Edison bulbs and dinosaur toys are a couple new additions.
Emily and Matt Hyland opened the first Emmy Squared in 2016, following the success of their first restaurant, Emily. After a (now-settled) dispute with investors, the partners went into business with Nashville restaurateur Ken Levitan and former Rosa Mexicana CEO Howard Greenstone to scale up the company. Another Emmy Squared is expected to open in Navy Yard later this year.
Although she receives corporate coaching, Emily Hyland says she’s primarily a yoga instructor and a poet, not a business person. She doesn’t want any Emmy Squared location to feel generic, and she delivers an orientation in-person to each set of employees to let them know the original story of how the company started with a 26-seat restaurant that’s “still held together by duct tape and cardboard.”
“There is a human person who truly loves this like her own child that’s now been set off to college there,” Hyland says. “That to me makes a difference.”
Emmy Squared is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Hours are 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Happy Hour is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. from Wednesday to Friday. Brunch is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
- New York Hit Emmy Squared Will Bring Two Detroit-Style Pizza Places to D.C. [EDC]
- Detroit-Style Pizza Hit Emmy Squared Eyes Major Expansion in NYC and Beyond [ENY]
- The Classic Double Patty Stack Gets a Fiery Upgrade at Emmy Squared [ENY]
- Philly’s First Emmy Squared Will Appeal to Pretty Much Everyone [EP]
- How Detroit-Style Pizza — From New York — Made Its Home in Nashville [EN]