Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fuel Pizza Food Review

Fuel for Thought

Is it just me, or does New York get way too much credit for its pizza? FUEL Pizza started over a decade ago in Charlotte, North Carolina, because a couple of guys from New York wanted real pizza. What exactly is "real" pizza anyhow? Is it what I had late this afternoon at FUEL's 16th & K Streets location? I sure hope not; because while my slice of pepperoni was pretty good, it's not hard to find a dozen places (or more) that do better... and I don't have to visit NYC to find any of them.

This is my second trip to FUEL and I have to say it was a lot better than my first visit. The dining area is still as gross as ever (the ghost of Burger King is alive and well.) Why would anyone intentionally make their business look ugly? NASCAR may be alive and well in the Tar Heel State, but this is DC baby... Clean 'er up Sparky. In the old days, this space was a magnet for the homeless; and the late afternoon crowd that you find here now isn't much better. I was lucky enough to sit close to some loser who was using the place as a mobile office (presumably to close a couple of million dollar deals, no doubt.) Between "Wally Wonderful's" annoying cackles and the pit-stop decor, I couldn't wait to finish my slice and "drive on out of there."

At least the stools look cool.

The staff was efficient, but hardly friendly. The cashier was nice enough to let me know he had hot pepperoni coming out of the oven, so I went with that. $2.99 a slice is a good deal... especially for a good sized piece of pizza (see below.) They also bring it to your table, which I always appreciate. The pizza was piping hot and looked nice. FUEL uses a thicker crust than most, but it didn't stand out from what you'd find anywhere else in town. FUEL's website claims to use "the finest mozzarella" but it sure wasn't fresh mozzarella. The sauce was run-of-the-mill, but I must say the pepperoni was terrific and had a distinctive taste... not to mention crisp on the edges, which is a must for good pepperoni.

Pepperoni slice at FUEL Pizza

Compared to other DC pizzerias, FUEL ranks squarely in the middle in regards to taste... and way towards the bottom in atmosphere (You should see this place at lunchtime... Ugh.) As its name implies, FUEL's pizza is filling with decent taste; but in the race for DC's best slice... decent and filling just isn't going to cut it.

Atmosphere: F
Service: B (Solid and fast, but far from friendly)
Crust: C
Toppings: B- (Pepperoni takes it up a notch.)
Taste: B- (Much improved over my last visit.)
Overall: C (Good value & OK taste, but stick to carry-out.)