History with a side of pizza? Or pizza with a side of history?
Either way you look at it, you'll find pies and American trivia served at Declaration, opening Saturday in Shaw. The restaurant (1,776 square feet) is part of the PRG Hospitality group, which already operates the presidential-themed Lincoln near McPherson Square and Teddy & the Bully Bar in Dupont Circle.
This time, PRG co-founder Alan Popovsky decided he wanted to pay tribute to Thomas Jefferson, along with some of the other men who joined him in declaring American independence. So, there's a wall of nickels -- with Jefferson's portrait facing out, of course -- and artfully scripted quotes from our founding document on the walls and tables.
The largest part of PRG corporate executive chef Demetrio Zavala's menu is devoted to pizza, cooked in a Marra Forni oven. The theme? The 13 colonies -- a pie named for each colony and one of their signers of the Declaration of Independence. Oh, and the pies are priced according to the year the now-states were (more or less) founded as English colonies, which puts most in the $16 range. (Latecomer Georgia is the only pie above $17.) Zavala said the pies are topped according to what the states are now known for. "Hometown food for everybody," he said. Without further ado:
Delaware: Thomas McKean. Ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, sausage, Idiazabal cheese, Brussels sprouts ($16.38). Zavala said the state produces a lot of Brussels.
Pennsylvania: Benjamin Franklin. Cheesesteak, provolone, mozzarella, sweet onions, cheese sauce ($16.82). Duh, Philly cheesesteak.
New Jersey: Francis Hopkinson. Sliced tomatoes, basil pesto, Parmesan ($16.64). Straight-up Italian.
Georgia: Lyman Hall. Roasted celery, carrot, onions, chicken, mushrooms ($17.32). Zavala's riff on chicken and dumplings.
Connecticut: Roger Sherman. Meatballs, ricotta, San Marzano tomatoes, roasted peppers ($16.35). An homage to the meatball sub.
Massachusetts: John Adams. Shucked clams, potatoes, pork belly, thyme, fontina cheese ($16.20). Like a clam chowder.
Maryland: Samuel Chase. Winter butternut squash, brown butter ricotta, crispy sage, truffle honey ($16.34). Plenty of local winter squash to be had from here.
South Carolina: Thomas Heyward. Shrimp, sweet peppers, bacon, lemon confit, spinach, romesco ($16.63). Shrimp and grits, with semolina in the crust to represent the latter.
New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton. Turkey confit, Idiazabal cheese, cranberries, maple gravy ($16.23). Lots of turkeys in the Granite State.
Virginia: Thomas Jefferson. Smithfield ham, arugula, lemon, olive oil, oven-roasted tomatoes ($16.07). Virginia is for ham lovers.
New York: Lewis Morris. Chive creme fraiche, capers, house-cured salmon, onion, arugula, tomato confit ($16.64). A la lox and bagels.
North Carolina: Joseph Hewes. Braised pork, smoked mozzarella, smoked pears, North Carolina BBQ gastrique ($16.53). All about the barbecue.
Rhode Island: William Ellery. Roasted garlic, sauteed calamari, squid ink aioli, chili oil, oven-dried tomatoes ($16.36). Zavala is sourcing his calamari from the smallest state.
The rest of the menu includes custom pizzas, bar snacks, appetizers, salads and entrees such roasted chicken, clam chowder and a squash Parmesan.
Another nod to history: Jefferson's ice cream recipe on the dessert menu.
The drinks, designed by consultant John Hogan, also acknowledge the past, including the 1776 Swizzle, a Manhattan (aged for 776 hours, about 32 days) and the Clover Club, a famed cocktail from Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was signed. There will be cocktails, beer and cider on tap.
Declaration will seat about 50 diners, with room for around a dozen more outside come warmer weather.
Declaration, 804 V St. NW. 202-627-2277. declarationrestaurant.com. Opening Saturday. Hours 11 a.m. to at least midnight Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 2 .m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.