According to an oft-cited academic study, more than a quarter of all restaurants fail within their first year of business, and about 60 percent of restaurants never make it to their third anniversary. It's understandable, then, that Pizzeria Paradiso is more than a little excited about celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Paradiso, which began as a cramped restaurant in Dupont Circle and now includes outposts in Georgetown and Old Town Alexandria, is turning back the clock to 1991, featuring items from the original menu at their original prices through Nov. 20 at all three locations. This means, for example, that the basic Paradiso Pizza (mozzarella and tomato sauce) costs $6.95, a roasted vegetable panino costs $4.95 and a herb and garlic-roasted lamb panino costs $5.95.
The biggest addition to the menu is a new beer called Maslow, created in collaboration between Paradiso beer director Josh Fernands and Right Proper Brewing Company head brewer Nathan Zeender. It's a natural fit: Right Proper founder Thor Cheston was the original beer director at Birreria Paradiso, the craft beer bar in the Georgetown restaurant's basement that quickly became a destination for local beer lovers, including Zeender.
When kicking around ideas for the collaboration, Zeender said, “I was thinking about beers that go back to the early days at [Birreria] Paradiso, where I got my better beer education: [Jolly Pumpkin] Bam Bier, [De La Senne] Taras Boulba, Allagash Wit,” he explained. “Something in that tradition, with a sturdy amount of hopping.”
Maslow, named after the psychologist who created the Hierarchy of Needs, is an approachable but delicious farmhouse ale, with lemon grass aromas, a sturdy amount of spicy hops and a lingering minerality in the finish. While it was brewed especially for the anniversary, Fernands said he'd like to keep it on tap as regularly as possible at all locations, where it will cost between $5 and $6 per glass.
To tie in the anniversary and beer themes more directly, the Birreria is hosting a five-course beer dinner on Nov. 17 featuring pizzas, salad and gnocchi paired with Trappist ales from Belgium and Austria, including Westmalle and Orval. It's a recreation of the restaurant's first-ever beer dinner, held in Georgetown in 2007, and Cheston will be one of the guest speakers. Tickets are $70 in advance.
Pizzeria Paradiso, 3282 M St. NW. 2003 P St. NW. 124 King St., Alexandria. eatyourpizza.com.