Pay to cook your own pizza … and like it

March 3, 2011

If you’ve gone out looking for HomeMade Pizza Co., you very well might have walked right past.  Tucked into a small, unassuming location across from Safeway on Wisconsin Avenue, this new restaurant hides an unconventional pizzeria behind its minimalist storefront. And despite the menu’s mouthwatering toppings—including chèvre, marinated artichokes, and poblano pepper—not a whiff of bubbling parmesan greets hungry customers. In fact, there is not a table in sight, nor any indication of a wood-fired pizza oven.

Though chefs in white toques spin soft, flour-dusted dough into enticing, round pies behind the counter, HomeMade advertises itself based on the very service it does not offer. The restaurant will not cook a pizza for its customers, but instead sends them away with a freshly assembled and parchment-wrapped pizza to bake and enjoy on their own. Complete with foolproof instructions for both oven and grill-top baking, HomeMade works off of the concept that busy students and D.C. residents crave the experience of homemade pizza without the hassle of chopping up tomatoes or waiting for dough to rise.

HomeMade Pizza is new to D.C., but the company actually started in Chicago and then expanded to a few locations in New York. The chain even made Oprah’s “The Best Pizza in America” segment in 2006. For those too lazy to trek all the way down Wisconsin and then back just to enjoy their food, the restaurant offers online ordering and delivers around the area for an extra fee.

At $6.75 for a “Cutie Pie,” $10.95 for a medium, and $12.95 for a large—all sans toppings, which cost from $1.30 to $2.30 each—the pizzas at HomeMade are a bit of a splurge. In part, this is because customers are paying for the “homemade” experience, rather than any old cheese-and-ranch-drenched slice you can pick up at 2 a. (https://www.stgeorge-inn.com/) m.

Uncooked, the pies closely resemble a creation from the Leo’s personalized pizza station, but the similarity disappears once they leave the oven. The asiago variety, topped with caramelized onion, thin shiitake mushrooms, kalamata olives and thyme, is fantastically savory, and lives up to HomeMade’s decadent description. The simple dough offsets the rich cheese and toppings, which brown and bubble after a quick 15 minutes in the oven. For the unadventurous, HomeMade offers preconceived creations, ranging from a B.L.T. to a classic Quattro Stagioni.

In a way, HomeMade Pizza Co. feels a bit like cheating—customers get all the credit for a delicious, hot-out-of-the-oven pizza without doing any of the real work. So if you’re in desperate need of a Leo’s detox but don’t have the time or equipment to whip up a gourmet pie, homemade goodness is only a walk or a phone call away.

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