All Words: Liz Rickles
All Photos: Jeff Martin
Local 16 is better known as a roof-deck shmooze spot than a place to sit down for a meal. But this Wednesday Local 16 will debut its new menu of small plates and Neopolitan-style pizzas, crafted by Edan MacQuaid and his good friend and colleague from his 2Amys days, Alex Vallcorba. We checked out the goods at a media tasting earlier this week.
Edan is known as a master pizzaiolo in the DC pizza biz, but he’s also a hot topic for his tumultuous employment history. Fired from 2Amys after six years in 2007, he’s since had a gig at Red Rocks Fire Brick Pizzeria, been fired from Pizzeria Orso earlier this year, and held a short-lived consulting stint for Ardeo + Bardeo in Cleveland Park.
Some restaurants might consider Edan a risky hire – but who doesn’t love a rebel, especially when they’re in the kitchen?
Unfortunately, Local 16’s new menu doesn’t rock the boat too hard – a seafood pizza with tomato shrimp sauce, seafood, capers and garlic is about as edgy as the pies get.
But I could take a nap on that luscious, pillowy crust. And the price is right, with pies that easily feed two for $10-$14.
Basic but satisfying small plates and snacks – like a prosciutto, rubbed tomato and manchego cheese grilled baguette and the sautéed mushroom small plate – were solid.
But lets talk about that crust again. A grilled vegetable sandwich on double-baked pizza dough with aioli cheese hit the spot.
While some DC restaurants sprinkle buzzwords like “local” and “sustainable” wherever possible, I give Local 16 props for genuinely making an effort to invest in our community. Their partnership with Whipple Farm in Virginia since 2005 (before farming got hip!) brings seasonal, fresh vegetables to the Local 16 kitchen every day, and chefs are also rockin’ their own **adorable** herb garden on New Hampshire Ave (which stocked the mint in my mojito). Furthermore, they’ll begin hosting a Farmers Market on their patio as an additional way to support the Whipple Farm on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings beginning Friday, July 8, and throwing a Pig Roast for Think Local First DC on Sunday, July 10.
Will Local 16’s new menu shock and awe you? No – but it’s not trying to. They’re aiming for comfortable, simple food that highlights their commitment to local produce.