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Pittze Table in Bethesda - Owner Tiger Mullen Rebrands the Former Haven Pizzeria Napoletana - Closed


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Looks like another pizza joint headed to Bethesda. Looks to be next door to Gaffney's.

http://www.havenpizzeria.com/

They seem to have covered every base; Pepe's, Sally's, even "tomato pies" which could be Trenton's DeLorenzo's on Hudson. Or Pepe's carry out pizzas which are usually from the original next door, "The Spot."

We've driven round trip from Reston to New Haven(twice) and Trenton. Bethesda is a bit closer... It will be interesting to see if they have really shortened the drive for us.

I hope so.

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My husband and I happened to walk by the Wisconsin Avenue site of Haven Pizzeria last evening. The front door was open so we peered in to check out the renovation progress. New Haven born chef and pizzaiolo and partial owner Mark Bergami was there and he invited us in to look around. We saw the piles of bricks for the 2 coal-fired ovens as well as the larger slabs which will be the ovens' floor. A lot of work has been done, but there remains a lot to do. They will serve New Haven-style pies and make their own gelato (the Italian gelato machine is en route). It's a nice space and will be a great addition to eating out options in Bethesda and to the expanding pizza scene in the DC area. Yay! Mark was very cordial and estimates they may open by the end of June, or barring that, by mid-July.

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I see this place every day when I walk by. I was wondering when it was going to open. Based on the above, it sounds like a June 2011 open date (as posted in the window) seems pretty aggressive. I am guessing it'll hit in July or August. While another pizza place is not really *necessary*, it'll certainly be an improvement over what was there before (which, IIRC, was an oriental rug store). We'll see!

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Just noticed this today, guess I am the latecomer.. still under interior construction but the window signs are up. Coal ovens, gelato, bar, wines... parking, air conditioning, all listed.

Hope it is making progress, to me, the more good, quality pizza places nearby, the better!

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This will be coal burning, New Haven Pizza, not Neapolitan....actually in many ways New Haven is the opposite of Neapolitan. They probably put the word "Napoletana" in there because famous New Haven places like "Frank Pepe's" also put that word into its name (Its also not neapolitan). My only issue with the use of that word, is that they may confuse some folks on what that style of pizza is. I'm actually excited to try this place. If done right, it could be the only elite coal oven style of pizza in the entire DC area.

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Actually I believe that New Haven style was created by Southern Italian immigrants. These immigrants did not have access to the materials needed to build the traditional Napolitan pizza ovens, and the local wood was being used for the construction of the rapidly expanding urban areas, and was expensive. So, coal fired pizza was born. Delicious, but unhealthy.

I look forward to trying this place.

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This will be coal burning, New Haven Pizza, not Neapolitan....actually in many ways New Haven is the opposite of Neapolitan. They probably put the word "Napoletana" in there because famous New Haven places like "Frank Pepe's" also put that word into its name (Its also not neapolitan). My only issue with the use of that word, is that they may confuse some folks on what that style of pizza is. I'm actually excited to try this place. If done right, it could be the only elite coal oven style of pizza in the entire DC area.

Ah, obviously I was among the confused...thanks for the correction.

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They must be having a lot of problems getting started. There's a countdown clock on their website and for the last few months it's counted down to a couple of weeks and then reset and counted down again and reset again, etc. Hope they're for real.

I just checked the website, and didn't see a countdown clock, only an "Opening Soon" message, so there are probably the usual Montgomery County issues. If anyone has any updates, please either post them here or let me know via PM.

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Their web site now says, "Date to be posted soon - we are finishing up final inspections." rolleyes.gif

Still not open - wonder what their definition of soon is.

Looked them up in the Montgomery County Permit website. Show they applied for a Use and Occupancy permit on 1/19/12 and passed the Fire Marshal inspection the same day. Not sure what other inspections are needed.

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Still not open - wonder what their definition of soon is.

Looked them up in the Montgomery County Permit website. Show they applied for a Use and Occupancy permit on 1/19/12 and passed the Fire Marshal inspection the same day. Not sure what other inspections are needed.

Looks like Feb. 15th @ 5pm is the opening date according to a recent email. Looks like website was also updated with this date.

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From a Thrillist email.
Haven Pizzeria Napoletana A 'za heavyweight hits Bethesda piece-share.gifimg_70251_horizontal_email.jpg more-images-single_item.jpg
You know how people get all psyched about having a bun in the oven? Well, then just imagine how ecstatic they'll be when they have a much more exciting pizza in the 200-ton brick one at Haven Pizzeria Napoletana, soft-opening next Monday!

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Two hundred tons each? They are definitely weighty, but not two hundred tons each. Actually each one per the restaurant's website, is 100,000 pounds (50 tons) and there are two of them:

http://www.havenpizzeria.com/Coal%20Ovens.html

This:

Anthracite coal, our fuel source, is the cleanest and most environmentally friendly fossil fuel, and is virtually free of smoke and emissions. It burns cleaner than a wood fire or even your backyard gas grill. Our coal is mined from existing mines and does not disturb new areas. Every time we purchase coal from the mine, funds are provided to a Federal Fund to restore the environment under The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

Is very cool.

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My husband and I decided to brave opening night crowds to try out the pizza at Haven last night. At 6:45, it was crowded but we found seats at the bar and ordered our pizzas and a bottle of wine from one of the relatively inexpensive options. The ovens were blazing away and service was swift and friendly. The space is attractive but very noisy because of all the hard surfaces (and the crowd, of course).

I was disappointed in the pizza. Maybe I'm just not a true fan of the New Haven style, although I've liked it at the source. The crust was rather hard and crackly and without flavor. Toppings were fine. I had tomato with mozzarella and arugula. My husband had the same base but with Italian sausage. The flavors all melded together instead of standing out on their own. I missed any bright acidity in the tomato sauce.

Guess I just prefer Neapolitan style like Pizza CS in Rockville or Pizzeria da Marco in Bethesda (although I haven't been to the latter since last spring). Still, I'll probably go back to Haven in a week or so and give it another try.

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We stopped in for an early dinner on Thursday around 6 pm and I think we were the only people at a table but the bar areas was packed (looked like a company happy hour). We split a large tomato pie ($14). I was also a little disappointed with the crust - just seemed like it was missing something. We will be back once they get settled in a bit. Couple other observations:

Space is very loud - by the time we were leaving the place was packed and it was really loud

Beer and wine list is just plain awful

They serve your round pizza on a square metal cafeteria looking tray and no plates offered to eat from, seems a bit odd to me

Service was friendly and efficient, although our waiter mentioned he had some experience. He mentioned many others had no experience and they were just thrown in to action.

Parking tip - there is a county lot behind the building and a separate entrance to the restaurant from the parking lot.

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We tried it and liked it a lot. I thought the crust was good-- crispy but also a little chewy. I might have liked it a little thinner, just like I might wish the pizza was a little cheaper-- $17 for a pizza that feeds 3 isn't ridiculous (cough/Mia's/cough) but we still spent $70 for dinner for 3 on pizza when all was said and done-- but they've clearly invested a lot in the place and I wish them the best.

We got little metal plates to eat the pizza from, for whatever that's worth.

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We split a small tomato with mozzarella as well as a white clam pie on opening day last week. Preferred the latter over the former. Thin, crispy crust that worked much better with the clam pizza, but the tomato/mozzarella was rather bland.

Place is really loud and for a bar area that calls themselves "Bar Haven", the beer list is really disappointing. Will come back in a few weeks and see if it's improved any, but as of now, I still prefer Pete's.

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Went there for lunch earlier this week.

Disclaimer: I've never been to a New Haven style pizza place, so I can just tell you my impressions without comparing it to other, similar places.

The beer and wine list is still pretty small, but they said they're working on expanding it. The beer list, especially, is pretty sparse right now. I went with a Peroni draft and a small clam pie.

The pizza was a little smaller than you'll see at Pizzeria Da Marco or Mia's, but still fine for lunch. A nice combination of whole and diced clams, and lots of garlic. The middle of the pizza was really good, with a nice clam/garlic flavor, but the outer crust was a bit charred for my liking and overwhelmed the flavors a little too much. At $15 it's not cheap either.

I tried the gelato for dessert...only chocolate/vanilla/strawberry to choose from right now, but again they said they're working to widen the selection. I had the chocolate..pretty subtly flavored, but nicely textured. Not as good as Lilit, my Bethesda gelato go to.

Came out to $27..again, a little steep for pizza, a cheap beer and dessert...I know clams add to the price though.

Would I go back? Maybe to check out the tomato pies, but nothing else is really beckoning, unless I really get in the mood for clams.

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I just made a first trip here for a lunch today. It's a pretty large place, which always worries me since associated overhead is larger. I don't want to comment (yet) on the pizza since they're so new but will try it again soon, will say more after that visit, and will say now what I suspected upthread--they really need to offer a few more options in addition to the pizzas IMHO.

Oh, and mtureck, I have no view on their gelato since we didn't even order that but you must try Dolcezza in Bethesda (across from the Apple store in the alley near Redwood). I think if you do, that'll become your "Bethesda gelato go to" :)

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Oh, and mtureck, I have no view on their gelato since we didn't even order that but you must try Dolcezza in Bethesda (across from the Apple store in the alley near Redwood). I think if you do, that'll become your "Bethesda gelato go to" :)

Will do.Thanks for the recommendation!

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We tried the gelato and while it was a generous portion, I thought it was only ok. Basically seemed like acceptable but not great chocolate ice cream (I overheard an explanation that this is "American gelato" not "European gelato" which makes no sense to me, but I wouldn't care if it tasted great). In the end two of us couldn't finish a single portion, which I think speaks to both the portion size and the appeal.

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Ate lunch today after walking on the nearby trail. We thought the pizza was quite good and actually reminded me of New Haven style pizza, which I readily admit we've only had once on the drive to Cape Cod a few years ago. The four of us had the large tomato, mozzarella, and fennel sausage pie. It was thin crust and crispy, although slightly soft in the middle, but not in a bad way at all. The outer crust was nicely blistered with out being overly charred, which is how I prefer it. Splitting a dinner salad, which was nicely given on two separate plates, and the large pizza only cost $33 with tax and tip included. The pizza came in a metal tray, which was how we had at Pepe's in Bridgeport. Service was attentive, especially with the waters.

Ignacio

P.S. I am not saying this was as good as Pepe's, the clam pie being the best pizza I have ever eaten.

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I don't think you meant Bridgeport haha. No matter how good the pizza is, I wouldn't ever reccomend travelling to Bridgeport !

Just goes to show you shouldn't let a Miamian up north. I meant the Fairfield Pepe's which is just by I-95. Thanks June Bacon!

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I went for exactly one thing, and one reason: to try the clam pie ($14 for an individual-sized 10"). This is closer to New Haven pizza than anything I've seen in the DC area yet. At lunchtime anyway, the crust isn't quite consistent - my takeout tomato pie ($8) had a better bake with a bit more spring - but the clam and garlic flavor combo was dead on. Don't be too put off by the early lukewarm comments above - I will enthusiastically return to Bethesda again and again just to have this pizza.

As a data point, the tomato pie was less successful, ironically because they used chunks of fresh tomato. You can't expect much from out-of-season tomatoes, and it showed. This might be a great pie in July or August, but in early spring I think they'd have gotten better flavor out of canned summer tomatoes.

It's not clear to me what benefit the coal fuel imparts; despite the pizzaiolos using the New Haven-vernacular long-handled peels, their oven didn't appear to be the roaring inferno that Pepe's is, and I think that was reflected in the slightly undercharred and crackery bake. I'll just have to try a larger size pie some evening to compare.

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I found the article quite interesting, if not a a bit puzzling in the amount of time he spent concocting his dough trials...might have been better to hire a pro to come up with the dough, but sounds like it was a labor of love and curiosity. Also was a bit peeved at a "number" guy not being so secretive about the number of pizza's and people that he serves.....but then again pizza is a huge cash cow , with low overhead and since there are only another 478 pizza places within 3 blocks, maybe silence is golden :o

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I'm conflicted on trying to figure out if New Haven pizza should really be called "Napoletana." I understand that the Frank Pepe restaurant namesake is entitled so, but I don't think it should be referred to as such.

In my opinion Frank Pepe and Salvatore Consiglio of the famed Sally's essentially did their best to reproduce Naples pizza back in the 20's and 30's. Today we know their pizza as "New Haven Style." Pepe's pizza comes on a rectangular sheet tray, and the large pizza is a massive cousin of what we find today at Pupatella, 2Amys or even Orso. We know they are not "AVPN" certified, and never will be, so I struggle to understand why you would call yourself "new Haven style" as well as Napoletana.

They are distantly related, and should be celebrated equally. I appreciate that Pete's does not advertise Napoletana, as they are not.

The comment by AlBondigas on the WaPo article above had me thinking.... if you come here expecting Napoletana pizza with the expectation of such, you are already off to a bad start.

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Bad night at Haven. Liked the clam pizza a lot last time I was here. Last night, not so good. Pizza came just barely warm. Ruined the whole melty, cheesy, clammy taste. When you pay almost thirty bucks for a pizza (yikes, did I say thirty?), you expect more. Not to mention a waiter who obviously had never waited on a table before. My SO asked for a lemon wedge for her salad and he brought it to the table in his hand and put it down on the bare table--gross!

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This is good news!  I thought something was off the last time I was there.  I thought the change with the clam pizza was a seasonal thing.  It was soooo good when it was made with fresh clams.

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Re-branding.  Our last visit was very disappointing.

I agree, this is great news.  We've been several times b/c it's convenient to daycare and jobs and it's a very kid-friendly environment; also, I've always had a good crust when we've eaten.  Everything else, however, has been below average to bad.  We were there 3 weeks ago with my in-laws from Massachussetts.  My sister-in-law got a "grilled chicken salad" since she eats gluten-free and the chicken was clearly shredded chicken from a can.  It was definitely the worst chicken on a salad I can remember seeing anywhere.  There are several students of mine who work there and one told me months ago that the owner had intended to grow the bar program so I seized on the opportunity to voice my biggest gripe from its opening:  A terrible beer menu where Flat Tire is the microbrew.  She said she'd make sure to tell her manager.  Though New Haven is the perfect environment for a great beer program, the short and pathetic list of Budweiser and Miller Light remained the same on our last visit.  There's actually a pretty long list of food quality items that we've had that has taught me this simple lesson or expect to be disappointed:  Order a red sauce pie with some cured meat and maybe a veggie or you will leave disappointed and lighter in the wallet.  I'm glad that they may redirect this joint b/c it has so many low-hanging possibilities that would be financially rewarding.

Pax,

Brian

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It's not going to make it. We went tonight for Happy Hour; it wasn't crowded at all, but it took a good 10 minutes for anybody to notice us.

After that, it was Halley's Bartenders; once every 75 years. I get that Wednesday isn't the most bumping night, but you still have to acknowledge that you have customers.

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