Pickles on pizza? Pizzeria Paradiso brings a national trend to DC

Pizza toppings can be a topic for debate for many, with some vying for pineapples, others standing up for anchovies and a few swearing by black olives. However you take your pie, there’s always room for experimentation from the classic tomato sauce, cheese and optional pepperoni toppings.

For local institution Pizzeria Paradiso, experimentation is an everyday occurrence — so much so that they’ve jumped on the pickle bandwagon.

WTOP reached out to Pizzeria Paradiso to ask them if they would be open to the potential of launching a new pickle pizza, inspired by the national trend. Pizzeria Paradiso owner and chef Ruth Gresser took the initiative to take WTOP up on their request.

Starting Friday, Sept. 16, pickles will make a grand entrance on a brand new, limited-time special at all Pizzeria Paradiso locations. 

This special includes slow-cooked brisket, a mustard sauce base, Swiss cheese, a Thousand Island dressing drizzle and the pièce de résistance, homemade half sour pickles.

Pickles might be “a little bit out there,” according to Jeremy Boula, director of operations of Pizzeria Paradiso, but he said the chain has made attempts in the past to challenge themselves and the tastes of their customers by adding the vinegary topping on their pizzas.

“We kind of wanted to take something that showcased the pickle, but kind of had a little bit of extra pizzazz after as well,” said Boula.

Pickles might seem like a far-fetched pizza topping, but it has become kind of a big dill.

As reported by The Washington Post, it’s been featured in the Minnesota and Indiana state fairs. Pizzeria Paradiso also isn’t the first in the District to put pickles on pizza, as Boogy & Peele in Dupont Circle has a Big Mac-inspired pie with “special sauce,” ground beef, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, onions and pickles.

While it might seem like a novelty, WTOP’s newsroom had a lot to say about Pizzeria Paradiso’s pickle pizza.

For WTOP Director of News and Programming Julia Ziegler, she said, “I was totally thinking I wouldn’t like it … but I am so pleasantly surprised.” 

“That is delicious, and it is reminiscent of a Big Mac for me … I love the dressing on it. It’s a little sweet and savory too,” said Ziegler.

Digital Editor Scott Gelman saw the pizza as “surprisingly solid,” while Associate Producer Thomas Robertson said, “Really good. I’m loving it.”

Anchor Sarah Jacobs agreed, saying, “That’s good,” while reporter and anchor Mike Murillo said, “It tastes pretty good … I was not too optimistic when I tried it, but yeah, not too bad.” 

Others weren’t so sure about the pizza. DMV Download Host/Producer Megan Cloherty wasn’t much of a fan, saying, “You can hardly taste the pickles … They kind of are just overwhelmed by the sauce.”

When it came to WTOP’s head honcho, Joel Oxley, the senior vice president and general manager, he summed it up simply, “That’s pretty damn good.”

Want to try it for yourself? Pizzeria Paradiso will be selling this special as long as supplies last, so get your pickle-topped pie while you still can.

Michelle Goldchain

Michelle Goldchain’s reporting has focused primarily on the D.C. area, previously working as Editor of Curbed DC for Vox Media and Audience Growth & Engagement Editor for Washington City Paper. She is the author of "D.C. by Metro: A History & Guide.” She also reports for Artsplained on YouTube.

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