Grandmother Goes to Washington: DC’s Pizza Parts & Service

The team behind Taylor Gourmet recently unveiled their new entry in the Washington, DC, pizza wars, the awkwardly titled Pizza Parts & Service, named in honor of the location’s prior use as a garage. Makes you glad they didn’t take over a fishmongers. The location more recently housed the lamented Taylor Steak & Ice, purveyors of a most satisfactory rendition of the Philly Cheesesteak. After sampling one of PP&S’s pies, I kind of wish they’s stuck with the steaks.

Grandmother style pizza from Pizza Parts and Service

I ordered delivery for one of the suggested combinations, the #2—pepperoni, sautéed onions and peppers, pepperonici, mozzarella, and pecorino romano—”nonna” style. These grandmother style pies are generously topped, and the quality of ingredients, a Taylor hallmark, can’t be beat. As befits a grandmother pie, the cheese browned properly at the edges, making the corner slices the ones to grab. At $24 delivered (before tip), it’s about on par with other high-end pizza joints, but if you try to configure your own pie, you’ll quickly run up a serious bill. Circular pizzas are also available, but the “nonna” is the real gimmick here, a style mostly unavailable locally.

The pie was good, but it didn’t quite make it to great. Never let it be said that I oppose grease on a pizza, as I still fondly recall the sheening pools that formed on the pies at one of DC’s finest pizza dives, Vesuvio’s in Dupont Circle, but the “nonna” had just a bit too much relative to the crust’s ability to carry it. I realize that this kind of pie uses a fair bit of oil in the dough, but I was hoping for something closer to the tomato pies one finds in Philadelphia, which share a similar crumb but don’t have that much grease. Perhaps I’m just not a fan of the grandmother style.

In any event, the Taylor team has served up a fine addition to the DC pizza landscape in Pizza Parts & Service, but with other mid- to high-end options out there that are less expensive for the build-your-own camp (albeit without quite the quality of toppings), I’ll stick with my usual pizza delivery service while impatiently awaiting the promised arrival of cheesesteaks on the Taylor Gourmet menu.

A Mack’s Man for Life: Mack’s Pizza in Wildwood, New Jersey

Forget everything you know, or think you know, about the Jersey Shore, despite the fact that most of it is probably true. You go to the Jersey Shore, Wildwood in particular, for a slice of boardwalk pizza, regardless of what travails you must face to eat it. And not just any boardwalk pizza, but Mack’s pizza. This slice represents all that is right and good about the Jersey Shore.

A slice of Mack's plain pizza, Wildwood, NJ

Mondo pizza blog Slice takes a look at Mack’s today. Adam Kuban provides a nice rundown on the peculiar construction of these salty, greasy pies, with a mozzarella-cheddar blend, sauced by a hose hooked up to a giant vat in the basement:

Pies are built cheese first, sauce, more cheese, then they hit the oven—a Roto-Flex whose multiple decks slowly revolve. It has sliding glass doors in the front and sides; the main pieman drops one in the front while his colleagues check and pull pizzas from the others. Toppings are added above the second layer of cheese, if you’ve ordered them. I’ve never needed anything more than a plain slice here, though.

I don’t even dress mine with parmesan or red pepper flakes; I eat my Mack’s straight. I’ve been enjoying Mack’s since the early ’70s, and the primal pleasure of the plain slice hasn’t changed a whit. Washed down with a birch beer, there’s very little finer than a slice of Mack’s plain with the sea air wafting into your booth and a parade of boardwalk denizens marching by. Well, a whole pie would be finer…