The team behind Mt. Pleasant’s acclaimed bakery Ellē went went outside the box for its pizza-making debut at Tigerella (2000 Pennsylvania Avenue NW), where pizza suits its busy Northwest neighborhood filled with bankers and college students.
Baker Andrew Myers relies on high-quality flours (Migrash Farms spelt and Central Milling ABC) to make a soft, pillowy dough. With a recipe in place, Tigerella’s team got stumped on how to actually shape and size each thick-cut pie that sports a crispy, cheesy crust.
“Andrew mentioned the Pizza Hut personal pan size and I just ran with it,” executive chef Vinnie Falcone tells Eater.
The eBay aficionado found a female collector up in New York’s Catskills selling a plethora of Pizza Hut’s discontinued deep-dish pans. Each six-inch, circular metal tin was put work by the chain in the ’90s, an era when red plastic cups of bottomless Pepsi and post-soccer game pizza parties were all the rage. Falcone bought 60 personal pans for Tigerella, which is named after an heirloom variety of tomato.
“Of course I had them all delivered to my house instead of work so I had to load up my bike basket multiple times to bring [them] in,” says Falcone.
The throwback personal pies ($12-$14) are available during Tigerella’s full-service lunch and dinner hours from noon to 9 p.m. on weekdays. Nearby George Washington University students get a discount, with an official dining deal for swiped student IDs coming soon.
Pepperoni or mozzarella-topped varieties join a week-old “pickle pizza,” built with giardiniera, pickled red onion, pattypan squash from Pennsylvania’s family-run farm Earth ’n’ Eats, fermented mustard seed, fermented hot honey, and a garlicky, double-cream sauce.
Falcone, a former sous chef at Michelin-rated Rose’s Luxury, sums up Tigerella as the house of an “Italian grandmother who went to culinary school.” Fresh pastas made up front join Ellē favorites that helped Nick Pimentel and Lizzy Evelyn’s cafe earn Eater D.C.’s 2018 Restaurant of the Year. That includes a pastrami Reuben and folded omelette-and-cheddar sandwich with brisket, plus sourdough-based breads, biscuits, and sweet and savory scones baked on-site.
Tigerella also offers grab-and-go breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Weekend hours, a wine bottle shop, and outdoor dining are coming soon.