Ella’s Pizza Updates Décor and Menu
Ella’s Wood Fired Pizza, 610 Ninth St. NW, recently renovated its interior as well as its menu, adding new dishes and a weekend brunch.
Owner and chef Ed Hanson opened Ella’s in June 2003. Prior to that he was the opening chef at Jaleo. When he opened Ella’s, which is named after his daughter, he envisioned it as a neighborhood destination.
Interior gets a redo
In September, Erica Riggio, of Green Owl Design in Hyattsville refreshed and updated Ella’s décor, adding modern, graphic interpretations of urban streetscapes reflecting the bustling Penn Quarter neighborhood that have replaced the cartoon mural of D.C. Bold graphics are contrasted with a dark black and red color scheme, reflecting the vibrant red found in Ella’s logo replacing the cream and turquoise walls and white ceilings. All new lighting unifies the design elements.
Hanson chose Green Owl because of the emphasis on sourcing products and materials locally, while incorporating the work of area artists and craftspeople. “Having a strong local identity for Ella’s has always been important to me,” said Hanson. “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 from reclaimed materials, greet guests in the bar. The new graphics were designed by Ric Garcia, a Cuban-American artist living in the DMV. His designs reflect the cityscape in stylized panels and canvases.
Bicycle reflectors influenced lighting pendants, which hang over the booths near the pizza oven and illuminate the tables and cast a mosaic pattern on the wall beside them. The back room features a color blocking paint scheme of red, white and yellow lighted by wall-mounted Nanoleaf Bloom Black LED bulbs that cast a warm glow while creating a dramatic visual effect.
New seasonal menu unveiled
To complement the fresh design, a new seasonal menu was introduced including appetizers like roasted butternut squash risotto with grilled shrimp and pancetta; Tuscan-style beans with spinach, garlic, tomatoes and grilled Italian sausage; house-made meatballs with creamy polenta; and white bean soup with Applewood smoked bacon and parmesan. New fall salads include baby kale with apples, dried cranberries, parmesan and sesame dressing; orange and beet salad with arugula, crumbled goat cheese and orange-balsamic vinaigrette; oven roasted Portobello with arugula, smoked mozzarella, poached pear, spiced walnuts and balsamic dressing; and steak salad with romaine, tomatoes, grilled onions, potatoes and parmesan dressing. Starters range from $7-$9, while small salads are $7 and entrée salads are priced from $13-$15.
A fall calzone, the Zucca ($15), includes butternut squash and roasted chicken with mushrooms, mozzarella and parmesan, and there are weekly Neapolitan-style handcrafted thin crust pizza specials, baked in a 700-degree, wood-fired oven, such as the Sicilian-style braised chicken with roasted bell peppers, black olives and mozzarella ($15).
All Ella’s desserts are made in-house daily and include the biscotti trio with chocolate, anise and lemon pistachio classic Italian cookies ($2.50); and the Italian-style cheesecake made with cream cheese, goat cheese, mascarpone, amaretti crust and a limoncello reduction ($6).
New seasonal cocktails include a pumpkin martini made with pumpkin infused vanilla vodka, cinnamon and nutmeg and the Fall Back Margarita with 1800 Tequila and apple cider (both $9).
Weekend brunch added
In mid-November, Ella’s also launched a new weekend brunch. From 11 a.m-3 p.m. Saturdays and from noon-3 p.m. on Sundays, brunch dishes are offered in addition to the regular menu. The dishes blend Italian influences with traditional favorites such as eggs Benedict with prosciutto, poached eggs, English muffins, hollandaise and house potatoes ($12); lemon and ricotta pancakes served with strawberries and maple syrup ($12); creamy polenta with prosciutto wrapped shrimp and bell peppers ($12); and a breakfast pizza with white bean puree, bacon, tomato, relish, Fontina cheese and fried egg ($14). There are also classics, like steak and eggs with peppers, onions and house potatoes ($15); the Owen omelette with bacon, peppers, onions, tomatoes, spinach, Fontina cheese and house potatoes ($12); and waffles topped with strawberries, almonds, whipped cream and maple syrup ($12).
During brunch, bottomless mimosas and Bloody Mary’s are $18. Diners can also choose a peach bellini with vodka and peach pureé topped with prosecco ($9); mango or peach margaritas ($6) as well as signature riffs on brunch cocktails such as a coconut basil mimosa with coconut rum, basil and sparkling wine ($9); the bloody polpotini with meatball tomato sauce, vodka and house-made Bloody Mary mix ($8); the Spicy Maria with vodka, lime, caper juice, house-made Bloody Mary mix, jalapeño and a salted rim ($8) and Yared’s cilantro Bloody Mary with house-infused cilantro vodka, house-made and Bloody Mary mix ($8). Non-alcoholic mocktails include the gingerapple with ginger beer and pineapple juice; the pineapple basil with pineapple juice and muddled fresh basil; or a virgin Bloody Mary for $4 each. Also during brunch, eight draft beers are offered in both half and full sized pours.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.