With Spike Mendelsohn’s We the Pizza slated to open in about six weeks, you’d think that would be the subject of conversation for DC’s pizzascenti. Much to the chagrin of some DC food-lovers, Travel Channel’s Food Wars recently shone the spotlight on jumbo slices with a face-off between the Chishti brothers’ dueling jumbo slice shops: “Pizza Mart,” and “Jumbo Slice.” As a Georgetown graduate, I can vouch for ruling in favor of Pizza Mart. But the resolution of one feud raises another question.
Locals have noted that DC is not a pizza town. Of New York’s iconic foods, pizza is king. Among slices, Koronet may not be the best, but it is one of the largest, and most visually memorable. So, how would Pizza Mart fare against New York’s jumbo slice?
: The slice at Koronet is nearly 15 inches long. Pizza Mart’s (reported at nearly a foot-and-a-half long), clocked in on this trip at just over 16 inches. That puts Pizza Mart at least an inch longer. It’s all about whose slice is longer in this game. : Pizza Mart.
: An argument can be made either way. Koronet’s slice is thicker than Pizza Mart’s, and its thickness to length makes it the paragon for folding. Pizza Mart’s floppiness and larger dimensions necessitate raising it to your mouth on two paper plates (the move there isn’t so much the classic New York fold-in-half-lengthwise, as fold-the-pointy-tip-back). For classic structure, point Koronet. For sheer ridiculousness and fun when you’ve been drinking, point Pizza Mart. : Tie.
“Everyone knows, if you eat pizza and spend any time in DC, having a jumbo slice in Adams Morgan definitely fits the category, You Haven’t Lived Here If…Grabbed a Late-Night ‘Jumbo Slice.’ Even if you sing the praises of The Two Amy’s if you’re serious about pizza you’ll have been out in Adams Morgan and tried a jumbo at least once.”
: Here are the facts, even by New York standards, Koronet falls on the dryer end of the sauce spectrum. Pizza Mart is a cheesier, saucier slice. At 1:00 am, after a few drinks, given the choice between the two, I’d go with Pizza Mart every time. But, this is a subjective category. : Tie.
: Koronet costs $3.50 for what is about two slices. Pizza Mart costs $5.00 for a bit more. Good deals if you’re drinking nearby and need to soak up the fun. Koronet is cheaper. : Koronet.
: Koronet gets press. It has made The Times, it’s a neighborhood fixture, and it’s well-known enough to use as a joke at Rosie O’Donnell’s expense. But, when was the last cover story you read about Koronet? Where’s its Travel Channel documented drama of brother vs. brother? : Pizza Mart.
: Everyone knows, if you eat pizza and spend any time in DC, having a jumbo slice in Adams Morgan definitely fits the category, You Haven’t Lived Here If…Grabbed a Late-Night ‘Jumbo Slice.’ Even if you sing the praises of The Two Amy’s if you’re serious about pizza you’ll have been out in Adams Morgan and tried a jumbo at least once.
In New York, that slice is Joe’s or DiFara, and if you’re looking for a New York City late-night, soak-up-the-booze, jumbo equivalent, probably Artichoke. Koronet is a you-happened-to-be-in-the-neighborhood slice. A you-attended-Columbia-or-Barnard-or-hung-out-with-someone-who-did slice. Or a you’re-checking-iconic-slices-off-your-list slice. In New York, Koronet’s jumbo slice is not so much an important staple of the New York pizza slice scene, nor is it as iconic as part of the average collective bar-reveler’s experience. In DC, it may not be the most-respected pizza, but it does encompass all the other factors. : Pizza Mart.
On these six criteria, Pizza Mart wins out three to one (with two ties). As much as New York pride may make you wish it weren’t so, when it comes to the jumbo slice, DC is king.
New York NY, 10025
Phone: (212) 222-1566
Subway: 1 (116 St); A, B, C (110 St)
2445 18th Street
Washington DC, 20009
Phone: (202) 234-9700
Metro: Woodley Park-Zoo, Dupont Circle Station
This post was originally published April 7th, 2010, on the now-defunct, James-Beard Award-nominated blog AlwaysHungryNY.com.