RedRocks Neapolitan Bistro
RedRocks Neapolitan Bistro opened its fourth location at Penrose Square (on Columbia Pike) in February of this year. "Five years ago there were very few Neapolitan restaurants around and now we've got four of the best in the DC area," says managing partner Doug Baj, whose other locations include H Street, Old Town, and Columbia Heights. "The insider's secret is that Columbia Pike is now a destination for really great restaurants."
What makes Neapolitan-style pizza unique is a super thin crust combined with carefully selected yet simple gourmet toppings-like imported buffalo cheese (actually made from the milk of domestic water buffalo) and meats. The marinara sauce, too, differs from the heavily spiced versions that most of us are accustomed to. It's a more delicate marriage of crushed tomatoes with very light seasonings. "You don't want to overshadow your pizza toppings," explains Baj. A wood burning stove, heated to over 800 degrees Fahrenheit, cooks pizzas in about 90 seconds, and a well-practiced team of pizza artisans watch the thin-crusted masterpieces to ensure just the right browning of the edges.
At the Columbia Pike location, popular pizzas like the Margherita (tomato, mozzarella di bufala, basil) and Red Rocks Sausage (tomato, fontina, sweet and hot peppers, parsley) are served up alongside other menu offerings such as salmon croquettes with spicy aioli sauce. A thoughtful beer and wine list accompany the Italian fare, including over 20 beers on tap. The ambiance wraps it all together perfectly with reclaimed fixtures and décor including the re-purposed barn board from Michigan, old brick from New York, and wooden slab tables from Baltimore.
"More and more, our patrons are just biking or walking over to come eat because it's so much easier than driving if they live nearby," Baj says. "Easily accessible neighborhoods make a difference to businesses like ours, and we look forward to transportation expansions like the Columbia Pike Streetcar. We hope it comes sooner than later."