Pizzaiolo Pilla Cooks Up New Ideas

Posted December 2, 2012 at 11:00pm

Anthony Pilla, the pizzaiolo who manned the peel at Seventh Hill (327 Seventh St. SE), is back behind a wood-burning oven in Rockville, Md. But the ambitious pie-slinger has a long-range plan that could have him distributing gourmet slices across the DMV as early as next spring.

Pilla, who decamped from Seventh Hill earlier this summer, briefly flirted with posts at  pending Logan Circle spot Ghibellina (an Acqua Al 2 project) and newcomer H &pizza. He has since resurfaced at Pizza CS, where he is hard at work on perfecting an alternative to the Neapolitan constructs that have come to dominate the local dining landscape.

“It’s more or less like a big playground for me,” Pilla said of his new gig, stressing that the PCS team shares his passion for quality and his penchant for innovation.

Pilla is currently obsessed with bringing authentic pizza al taglio to market. He described the square shaped pies as being more focaccia-like, featuring a thicker but airy crust that’s traditionally parceled out according to weight and best enjoyed at room temperature. He’s also experimenting with a “neoclassical” creation designed to bridge the gap between what’s served in Naples and Rome.

Pilla also mapped out plans to launch a tricked-out food truck — one possible name, “Bunga Bunga” — replete with a wood-burning oven, flat-screen TVs fed by a hand-mounted video camera (so patrons can watch him work) and “a really good sound system.”

“I’m going to go all out,” he said of the prospective mobile eatery. “I want it to be an experience.”

If the truck does ever get rolling (Pilla said PCS has expressed interest in partnering on the venture), expect to feast on a variety of the aforementioned pizza styles. Till then, he’s excited to reconnect with old friends willing to trek across the Beltway to visit.

“It’s like being on cloud 9,” he said of having fans grant him carte blanche with their meal.