If you haven’t been eating at Pizza No. 17, then the way I see it, that’s really a problem. Not only is Payam Yazdani an authentically interested owner, his restaurant also has really good pizza, made in a wood-fired oven. (They also have Paninis and salads.)
Yazdani grew up in the neighborhood — his family owns Java House at 16th and Q NW — and he spent time in New York City, opening his own wine and coffee shop. He returned home to DC to take over Java House when his father retired and now he manages two locations with perhaps two slightly different sets of customers.
Tucked away at 1523 17th Street NW beside Agora and just north of JR’s Bar and Grille, Pizza No. 17 opened in March and is the reincarnation of the former Pasha Bistro. The pizza spot is still figuring out its own style beside its brunch-busy neighbors — modern Pottery Barn-style lighting hangs inside, but outside, rustic lanterns cast a soft glow. Family style wooden seating gives you the feeling of a familiar patio ritual, but a neon open sign juxtaposes a real wood-burning oven.
The concept for Pizza No. 17 is single-serving dishes, what Yazdani calls “responsible portions.” The pizzas come in 8 -or 12-inches only (compared to the hefty 12-inch or more standard at many places), and the dough is homemade. There are a few distinct signals that show Yazdani cares about the food here — bottles of olive oil with red pepper flakes sit marinating at each table, soda is served in classic Coke bottles, and best of all — the only liquor Pizza No. 17 serves is the traditional limoncello. However, Pizza No. 17 has a fair selection of wine and beer as well.
When I asked him which pizza I should try, Yazdani actually recommended an item that wasn’t on the menu — The Huxtable. This tasty pizza is a throwback to Dr. Huxtable’s favorite pie and comes with fresh sausage, anchovies, jalapeños, tomatoes and olives. My dinner companion said the crust was tasty and that the traditional charred crust found on a pizza made in a wood-burning oven was happily missing here. We also tasted a vegetarian pizza — goat cheese, tomatoes, olives, and mushrooms and had a similar reaction: a filling pie with a great flavor, a crust that makes for good dipping in the house olive oil.
Pizza No. 17 is new, and the owner is invested in making a solid pizza place for the neighborhood. That’s good because we hope it will be around for a long while.
Pizza No. 17
- Where Am I Going? 1523 17th Street NW.
- When Am I Going? Sunday-Thursday 11:30 am to 11 pm, open until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
- Delivery? Yup, but expect at least 30-45 minutes for delivery.
- Paycheck Pain? You get what you pay for — more expensive than Papa John’s–but fresh, homemade ingredients are worth it.
- Say What? Although there is a single TV at the bar you won’t have to worry about shouting.
- What You’ll Be Eating: Pizza and Limoncello. Paninis and salads on the menu, too, plus some beer and wine.