New player enters D.C. pizza scene

Fuel Pizza is located at 16th and K Streets in Northwest. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
Here's a look inside the new Fuel Pizza in D.C. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
An old gas pump inside Fuel Pizza in D.C. The pizza restaurant started inside a gas station in North Carolina. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

Andrew Mollenbeck,

WASHINGTON – D.C.’s pizza scene has a new player.

Fuel Pizza, a New York-style joint that took off in Charlotte, N.C., opens Wednesday at 16th and K Streets in Northwest.

“We’re not calling it New York pizza as part of some big marketing plan,” says Zach Current, a partner with the restaurant.

“We’re calling it New York pizza because to us that means the best. It means it’s big. It means it’s fast. It means it’s good.”

The location near McPherson Square opens Wednesday at noon. The first 50 customers in line get free food for a year.

While New York style pizza by way of North Carolina may sound confusing, the restaurant started with New Yorkers who craved a familiar slice in their new city.

As for the name itself?

“The first restaurant was built in a 1935 Pure Oil gas station, so hence the name Fuel Pizza,” says Lincoln Clark, one of the founders.

Like other locations, the one opening in the District evokes a yesteryear filling station, with old pumps and license plates.

“It’s nostalgic. It’s iconoclastic. People can relate to it. They feel comfortable around it,” Clark says.

Fuel Pizza’s founders hope to open a second location near Verizon Center before the end of February. It will be at 6th and F Streets.

“We’re not necessarily looking for the people that want the quiet, most intimate environment to come and hang out for an hour and a half,” Current says. “What we’re looking for is people who have other things to do in life.”

The restaurant will have a soft opening Tuesday with discounted prices. The grand opening is Wednesday for lunch.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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