There’s a new place to go for a fill-up on K Street, provided your engine runs on pizza and buffalo wings. It’s Fuel, a service station-themed North Carolina chain, which opened its first D.C. location last week in storefront space formerly occupied by a Burger King.
The thoroughly redesigned two-level venue is draped floor-to-ceiling in all manner of automobile regalia: metal signs that look salvaged from a shuttered Exxon on the Jersey Turnpike hang on the walls; spent drums of Castrol and Quaker State hang from the rafters; a vintage Sinclair Dino fuel pump is tucked into a corner; and the stairway leading to the upstairs dining area is lined with various auto filters and cylinders. The point made to diners seems (perhaps unintentionally) to be: We’re here to pump you full of oil!
And so it goes with the menu. Fuel’s pizza menu is geared toward full pies, up to and including the 19-inch “Super Large” size, though K Street crowds are more likely to go for one of eight pizza/wing/stromboli/salad combos. I opted for the No. 4: five buffalo wings and a slice of cheese pizza, with a 22-ounce soda, for $8.49. I splurged and added a trio of garlic knots for $1.49.
The pizza itself was agreeable, though unspectacular to anyone that has become accustomed to the wood-fired artisanal pies being tossed at just about every D.C. pizzeria this side of Naples. Think Pizza Autentica, but with a crust that tastes like actual pizza dough, not fiberboard (multi-grain and gluten-free crusts are also available).
The wings, I was happy to learn, are tossed to order. Among the flavor options: Three types of barbecue, salt and pepper, lemon pepper, Asian chili and Old Bay, which is what I opted for. Unfortunately, the seasoning was almost undetectable on the smallish drumsticks and wings, and while the exteriors were pleasantly crisp and offered a nice snap, I was alarmed by the pool of residue left at the bottom of the paper tray that looked suspiciously like ... motor oil.
The K Street location will remain open until 3 a.m. on weekends, and a second location is soon to open at Sixth and F streets NW in Penn Quarter.
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