Since its opening a little more than a decade ago, Cleveland Park's 2Amys has become a household name in Washington, DC. Even as the Neapolitan pie scene becomes increasingly more crowded, there has yet to be a real contender to challenge 2Amys' reign for best pizzeria in the District. That said, we recently became aware of the glaring omission of never having formally reviewed 2Amys' pies here on Slice. So, to remedy this, we made it out to Cleveland Park to check in on how the pizza is doing at the longtime DC favorite.
First things first is, of course, the Margherita ($11.95). Especially for a DOC-certified pizzeria, the Margherita is the baseline from which it should be judged. 2Amys offers three DOC pizzas: the Marinara, Margherita, and Margherita Extra. The Margherita is the classic topped with a light layer of sauce, a few dollops of uncut buffalo mozzarella, some basil, and some extra virgin olive oil. Like the rest of the pies, the Margherita is baked for a couple of minutes in the wood-burning oven at 600°F, which gives the crust its distinctive leopard-spotting. All the ingredients are of extremely high quality. The San Marzano tomato sauce is balanced and applied sparingly, the buffalo mozzarella is light and creamy, and the basil is fresh, but the real star here is the crust.
2Amys pizzas have a crust that's thin, but raised and pillowy on the edges. The center is thin, but usually stands up to the weight of the toppings. The few minutes in the high heat oven produces a light charring all around the crust and on the bottom. The inside of the crust is soft, chewy, and exhibits a very pretty hole structure. It's the ideal crust: a thin crisp shell with a chewy, yeasty interior. It's the kind of crust you'll scoff at your carb-counting friends for discarding and shamelessly grab off of their plates to stuff in your face. There are, however, some slight consistency issues that can arise—the center of the pie can get a bit too soupy if it's taken out of the oven a few seconds too early or if it's a little over-sauced—but it's usually excellent. Some minor lapses can be understood, if not condoned, for a kitchen that pumps out the volume of pies 2Amys does on a regular basis.
The second pizza we had is the Norcia ($12.95). A non-DOC pizza topped with tomato sauce, salami, grilled peppers, mozzarella, and grana padano. The Norcia shares the same great crust as the Margherita, but has a little more going on. The spicy, smoky slices of salami, sweet peppers, and subtle sharpness from the grated grana lend an extra dimension of flavors and texture that's complex, but not overcomplicated. 2Amys' philosophy is largely driven by minimalism, and the Norcia is just one example of how their pies can be adorned beyond the baseline but still remain true to their roots (another excellent example you should try is the house-made meatball-topped Abruzzese pie ($12.95)).
As much as DC residents flock to 2Amys for stellar Neapolitan-style pizza, the "little things" menu sees just as much action as the pies. The suppli a telefono (fried rice balls stuffed with cheese) and deviled eggs with green sauce are more common than not in the dining room. It doesn't hurt that 2Amys also offers an expansive and affordable selection of Italian wines (actually, it helps a lot).
When you consider how long 2Amys has topped the DC pizza charts, the 30-plus-minute waits you'll often encounter will cease to surprise you. With a casual, welcoming space, sub-$15 pizzas that hit your table within minutes, and an impressive selection of extras, you won't mind waiting. Just grab a seat at the bar with a snack and a glass of wine and prepare yourself for one of what are still the best pies in the city.
About the author: Brian is a Washington, DC–based international development professional, food lover, and photographer. In his free time, you can usually find him chasing down a good burger or slice. Follow him on Twitter @brianoh11