Young and Hungry

RedRocks Pizzeria Opens on H Street NE

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Between the retractable roof, the suspended “catwalk,” and the indoor-outdoor rooftop bar, RedRocks’ fourth location on H Street NE is so tricked out that, when it soft-opens today, it will become the brand’s flagship location.

Though the grand opening isn't until Sept. 5, customers can trickle in for service starting today. (The pizzeria will, however, be closed for private events on Monday and Tuesday before the grand opening on Wednesday.)

RedRocks eatCo-owner James O’Brien—who's also behind the Neapolitan pizzeria’s locations in Columbia Heights, Alexandria, and Arlington—says he and business partner Doug Baj had been looking for a spot on H Street for a while when this one became available. They were considering a space across the street at the time, but couldn’t resist the building's architectural elements, including space for a bar on each of its three levels.

“I’ve never seen this collection in a building,” O’Brien says of the building's unique characteristics, which were mostly built in by a property management group. “The main theme throughout is a big open space with exposed elements like brick. There’s steel on certain walls.”

The space at 1348 H Street NE hadn’t been occupied since the '60s when RedRocks began work on it about a year ago. The 1968 riots devastated the H Street NE corridor, and several burned out buildings were not restored until recent years.

In its last life, RedRocks' building was a print shop, and has since had a middle section taken out to open up a total 7,000 square feet of open space.

RedRocks’ Neapolitan pizzas, made with simple, Italian ingredients fired in a brick oven, will still be the focus of the new new location. But the menu will also feature fresh pastas and small plates, like deep-fried risotto croquettes.

There will be happy hour specials and a late-night menu that keeps the restaurant open until 3 a.m. on the weekends. Lunch and dinner will be served daily and brunch, along with bottomless mimosas, will be served on the weekends.

Twenty beers will be on tap, including local offerings from Port City Brewery and DC Brau. And customers can drink them from a rooftop bar that overlooks the city (or from either of the other two bars inside).

The retractable glass roof makes for a “greenhouse effect” on the third floor, O'Brien says, warming the room during sunny days; it can be pulled back to make a patio in the warmer months. And seating is available on the “catwalk” walkway that’s suspended over the main eating space.

“I’ve always liked the idea of a New York-style downtown type of restaurant-and-bar feel,” O’Brien says. “We’re certainly making our name on our restaurant and our food, but this really has a ‘wow’ factor.”

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Photos courtesy RedRocks

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