Dupont Circle’s newest pizza place pushes the limits of neo-Neapolitan pies. In fact, Boogy and Peel chef/founder Rachael Jennings calls her pizzas “bastardized Neapolitan.” That refers mainly to the non-traditional toppings, which includes an option that echoes a McD’s Big Mac, down to the beef, American cheese, iceberg, onions, pickles, and “special sauce.”
“If you took that one to Italy, they’d be like what the hell are you doing,” Jennings joked to Eater. The longtime sous chef at Rose’s Luxury (she also worked at Tail Up Goat right before Boogy & Peel) wanted her first restaurant to lean more casual than fine dining.
She worked at pizzerias when she was younger, and had been playing around with making pizza at home recently. The experience of the past two years made her think that pizza is close to “bulletproof” as a business model. “It lends itself so well to takeout, you’re not limited by the capacity of your space, it has good margins,” she says. “But to be completely honest with you, I just wanted to make pizza in a T-shirt.”
That playful spirit is evident in everything from her pizzeria’s name (Boogy is a tribute to her beloved dog), a 30-seat dining room with bright blue tones and neon signage and squiggles, and the names of the pizzas (one of the pies is her friend’s Instagram handle). A neon sign upon entry spells out: “Every pizza is a personal pizza if you try hard and believe in yourself.” Swatchroom put together the look and pup logo.
The pizzas don’t take themselves seriously either. In addition to the Big Mac pie, there’s a cold cut and fontina-topped pizza inspired by the popular G-Man Italian sub at Capitol Hill’s Mangialardo. “It really tastes like a solid Italian sub. It makes me so happy” Jennings says.
Another pie is done up with red sauce, cheese, pepperoni, basil, honey and salsa macha spread with oil, fried garlic, chilis, peanuts, and sesame seeds — “very similar to chili crunch,” she says.
The menu is small to start with, featuring sides like Alabama barbecue sauce wings and fresh salads like a bitter greens drizzled date dressing, smoked pecans, apples, and fontina. Jennings says she’ll add more dishes, and alcoholic drinks from beverage director Krysten Hobbs (Boogy and Peel is still waiting on its liquor license). For now, find mocktails and Amaro-esque Stappi sodas from Italy. A 44-seat patio is coming together with slick white benches.
The pizzeria opened last week in the former Ping Pong Dim Sum space, which is now home to Boogy & Peel and a gym owned by Jennings’ brother right next door. He found the large space originally, and offered her the 1,500-square-foot space she needed for the pizzeria. “We’ve come up with a vicious cycle here. You go to the gym, you work out, you get a good sweat, and then you come here and refuel with some pizza afterwards,” Jennings says of their combined business models.
Pies ($12 and up) join a short list of sides like wings and asparagus and farro salad.
D.C. got a taste of another cult burger-turned-pie this winter when In-N-Out pizzas landed in Adams Morgan.
Boogy & Peel is located at 1 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 115B. The pizzeria is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday and from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.