Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ella’s Premieres New Look and Succulent Seasonal Menu

From our friends at Ella's Wood Fired Pizza...

Ella’s Wood Fired Pizza, a popular Penn Quarter favorite, located at 610 9th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004, is keeping things fresh, showcasing both a renovated restaurant and creative menu additions this fall. In September 2015, Hanson tapped Erica Riggio, of Green Owl Design to refresh and update Ella’s décor. Riggio explains her design influence as “Inspired by location; we revamped this established Washington, DC pizzeria by infusing it with modern, graphic interpretations of urban streetscapes, creating an energetic, inviting and familiar locale, reflecting Ella’s bustling Penn Quarter neighborhood. Bold graphics that embody movement are contrasted with a classic black and red color scheme, reflecting the vibrant red found in Ella’s logo. All new lighting unifies the design elements, adding a pop of “cool” in this hot location.”

As a proud local independent business owner, Hanson was inspired to team up with Riggio because of the emphasis Green Owl Design places on sourcing products and materials locally, while incorporating the work of area artists and craftspeople. Hanson says “Having a strong local identity for Ella’s has always been important to me. From the beginning, our focus has been on being a welcoming neighbor, both to those who work and live near us, as well as those just passing through. Riggio’s fresh design, featuring the work of local artisans, reflects our on-going connection to the community, in a vividly visual way.”

Custom communal pub tables, crafted by Brazilian-American furniture maker Sebastian Lima, greet Ella’s diners, and popular happy hour habitués, as they enter the bar. Lima’s artistic focus is to breathe new life into reclaimed materials providing his clients with practical, good-looking furniture that will stand-up to frequent guests and remain timeless. The striking new graphics for Ella’s, designed by Ric Garcia, attract the attention of patrons from the moment they walk in the door. Garcia, a Cuban-American artist living in the DC Metro area, creates works that build upon the legacy of pop-art to present a narrative about culture and everyday life. Incorporating these themes into his artwork for Ella’s, his bold designs powerfully reflect the cityscape in which the restaurant resides, in panels and canvases that punctuate the space, bringing the outside world into sharp focus inside its walls.

Whimsical bicycle reflectors influenced lighting pendants, which hang over the booths near the pizza oven. These illuminate the tables and cast a bold mosaic pattern on the wall beside them. Ella’s back room, available for daily dining as well as for semi-private events for up to 25 guests, now boasts a vivid color blocking paint scheme. It is dramatically lighted by wall-mounted Nanoleaf Bloom Black LED bulbs, providing beautiful ambiance combined with supreme energy efficiency. Self dimming, using only 10 watts of energy per bulb at maximum brightness, with a twenty-seven year life span, these 2015 Red Dot Design Award winners cast a warm glow while creating a dramatic visual effect.

To complement the design refresh, Hanson’s new tempting seasonal appetizers include Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with grilled shrimp and pancetta ($8); Tuscan-Style Beans with spinach, garlic, tomatoes and grilled Italian sausage ($8); Ella’s House-Made Meatballs with creamy polenta ($7); and warming White Bean Soup with Applewood smoked bacon and parmesan ($7). Hearty salads reflecting fall flavors include Baby Kale with Apples, dried cranberries, parmesan, sesame dressing ($7); Orange and Beet Salad, arugula, crumbled got cheese, orange-balsamic vinaigrette ($7); Oven Roasted Portobello, arugula, smoked mozzarella, poached pear, spiced walnuts, balsamic dressing ($13); and Steak Salad with romaine, tomatoes, grilled onions, potatoes, parmesan dressing ($15). Diners may also enjoy the Butternut Squash & Roasted Chicken Calzone, with mushrooms, mozzarella and parmesan ($15) and can look forward to a changing array of seasonal weekly Neapolitan-style handcrafted thin crust pizzas, baked in a 700 degree, wood-fired oven, such as Sicilian Style Braised Chicken, with roasted bell peppers, black olives and mozzarella ($15). At Ella’s, all desserts are house-made daily and include the Biscotti Trio, chocolate, anise and lemon pistachio classic Italian cookies ($2.50); and the Italian Style Cheesecake, cream cheese, goat cheese, mascarpone, amaretti crust, limoncello reduction ($6).

For a perfect pairing, Ella’s features specialty cocktails and house-made sangria by the glass or carafe, in addition to a nice variety of wines and beers from around the world. The new seasonal cocktails include Ella’s Pumpkin Martini, pumpkin infused vanilla vodka, cinnamon and nutmeg ($9); and the Fall Back Margarita, 1800 Tequila and apple cider ($9).

Locally produced craft beers featured include Port City Porter American Porter, and Devil’s Backbone Pumpkin Hunter, selling for $7 on draft. Finally, Ella’s Own Limoncello, priced at $6, provides a perfect finish to a meal. It is one of the featured favorites on the after dinner drink list which also features grappa and vin santo. Guests may select three of these items to enjoy in an Ella’s Taste of Italy Flight for $15.

Owner and Chef Ed Hanson opened Ella’s in June 2003, after making a name for himself on the DC food scene. As the opening chef at Jaleo, which gained a loyal clientele and many accolades under his kitchen leadership, including being one of Washingtonian’s “100 Best Restaurants” every year of his tenure, Hanson saw the evolution of the neighborhood firsthand. When he opened Ella’s Wood-Fired Pizza, named after his daughter Ella, he envisioned it as a true neighborhood destination. Despite the new look, Hanson’s focus remains same: to craft his ever changing, Neapolitan influenced, contemporary Italian dishes using the freshest, best quality ingredients.

“My goal is to continue to provide excellent value for my patrons while serving my food with joy. Now having a refreshed look at Ella’s is another exciting and very important step for me this fall,” explains Hanson.

Located at 610 9th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004, Ella’s is accessible via metro, one block from the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro Station, accessible on the Red, Yellow and Green Lines and two blocks from Metro Center Metro Station, accessible on the Blue and Orange Lines.

Ella’s is open Monday through Thursday from 11 AM to 10 PM; Friday & Saturday, from
11 AM to 11 PM; and Sunday from 12 PM to 10 PM. Happy hour food and drink specials are offered daily from 4 PM to 7 PM, in the bar only.

For reservations or more information visit their website or by calling (202) 638-3434. Follow them via and