What do you do when you and your friend don’t enjoy working at a tech start-up, but love pizza? Start a pizza company, naturally.
That’s exactly what Andrew Dana and Chris Brady did a year ago. After working at a local education tech start-up and not feeling very inspired by the job, but sharing a passion for all things pizza, the two created an original food truck: a wood-fired oven pizza truck. And they’re bringing that passion and their unique pizza stylings to Petworth.
“We just passed our first anniversary as a company on May 28th,” Andrew Dana said when I spoke to him this week. “Things have happened pretty quick this year, and we knew we wanted to expand,” Andrew said.
He and his partner Chris have spent the past year taking their 1967 baby blue pickup and mobile brick oven to farmer’s markets and other events around the DC area, selling their original pizza creations, as well as doing catering for special events.
Both Andrew and Chris are local and knew they wanted to open a restaurant somewhere in this area. Andrew grew up in Mt. Pleasant and is looking for an apartment in Petworth (“Yeah, I definitely want to move to Petworth, close by,”) and Chris lives near 15th and New Hampshire Ave.
“I’ve been falling in love with Upshur and Petworth for awhile,” Andrew said. “We were looking for a location that would work for us, and when we saw the building on Upshur Street, we got ‘that feeling’ and knew it was the place.”
The new restaurant, to be located at 809 Upshur St NW, will be called the Timber Pizza Co. Andrew said their plan is to keep the restaurant simple in design, matching their overall theme of “Vermont / campy” wood minimalist, and matching with their 1967 baby blue pickup truck.
Inside, they plan to seat 49 at small tables and larger communal tables, and hope to offer outdoor seating as well. Inside there will be a large brick oven, placed where customers can watch the pizzas being made and then fired. They plan on installing bay windows on the front of the building so that the brick oven can be seen from the street. They also plan on offering craft beer from around the city, as well as wine and cocktails.
The menu looks great (see below), and they take a lot of pride in what they offer. “We’re really into collaborating with other DC restaurants and trucks,” Andrew said. “We want to showcase other local flavors on our pizzas.”
For example, Andrew told me how they thought a BBQ chicken pizza would taste great. “But it’s hard to make a great pizza AND make a great BBQ chicken — so we found a great partner who excels at BBQ, put their chicken on the pizza and it was amazing."
Andrew and Chris decided that they will rotate their menu as they partner with restaurants like DCity Smokehouse, Indigo (Indian cuisine) and DGS Delicatessen in Dupont (Andrew’s thinking a breakfast pizza with smoked salmon and capers).
And they know the area has seen an increase in little ones: “We are definitely planning on offering items on the menu perfect for kids,” Andrew said.
Andrew said they want to connect with the Petworth Community Market to set up their pizza truck at the market a few times over the season while they work on renovating the building.
“The landlord has some work to do inside before we can take possession, and then we’re hoping to open by early winter,” he said.
I asked Andrew to let me know if they do book a spot at the Petworth Market so I can let everyone know. I’m already looking forward to a pizza place on Upshur St.
Here’s a sample of their menu:
San Marzano tomatoes, low-moisture mozzarella/provolone, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil
PRETTY IN PEPPERONI
"CHEESE, PLEASE" + pepperoni
Pesto, fresh mozzarella, feta, kale, zucchini
"CHEESE, PLEASE" + fresh jalapeño, pineapple, and prosciutto