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When I was 3, my mother would pick me up every day after pre-school and we would walk home together. The best days were when we stopped at Gino’s Pizzeria along Horace Harding Expressway and she’d buy me a pizza slice.

We didn’t speak Spanish, the pizzaiolos didn’t speak Chinese, and nobody spoke English. There was a lot of confusion. My mother would hold up one finger and grin as if to say, “One slice, please,” and I would nod eagerly with my nose pressed against the glass. One man would translate to the other, they’d wrap up a cheese slice for us to go, then we’d pay and leave. Each time we’d repeat the process and I’d leave with a big smile on my face as they waved goodbye.

Week after week, my shorty of a mother and I would terrorize the pizzaiolos in this fashion until I was finally old enough to understand what they were trying to tell us all along–that they only sold by the pie, not the slice. And so, the humble cheese slice has become my benchmark of a good New York-style pie, capable of making little girls happy despite devastatingly high food costs.

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True to form, you’ll find traditional 2-inch deck ovens used in New York pizzerias at Wiseguy Pizza, which opened in November, plus a water softener to recreate the “champagne of tap water” that’s absolutely essential for making that distinctive New York-style pie.

Wiseguy’s cheese slice ($2.72) is hands-down the closest I’ve ever found in DC, even better than Italian Store and Vace. That’s not to say that Wiseguy is better than other pizzerias with Neopolitan, Sicilian, flatbread or deep-dish pizzas. That’s comparing apples to oranges.

But if you like the oversized, thin and chewy-crusted, pockmarked top, charred bottom, flat chested and slightly wilted characteristic that is unique to a New York pie, then that is what you shall find here.

Highlights include a fragrant margherita topped with basil ($3.79, pictured) and crusty garlicky garlic knots ($1.99) with a side of marinara. The restaurant just started offering bagels from A&S in Long Island. The only things missing are beef patties, chicken rolls and The Naked Cowboy to make you feel like you’re in the Big Apple.

Wiseguy NY Pizza
300 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
202.408.7800

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