Philly Pizza begins construction, aims to reopen
Philly Pizza & Grill, which D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles once compared to a brothel, recently filed a demolition permit with the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) for its Potomac Street location. However, don’t start dreaming of late-night, ranch-drenched pizza just yet.
According to the recently-approved permit, the building is zoned as a “prepared food shop.” Philly Pizza originally closed because it violated zoning laws about prepared food shops; even if owner Mehmet Kocak reopens the eatery, it can’t be the late-night pizza peddler it once was.
The permit allows for “limited interior demolition” that focuses on equipment that would be needed to make food on the premises. The building’s “kitchen hood, ductwork and exhaust system” are all being removed.
Shortly after Philly Pizza was closed via court order in March, owner Matt Kocak filed papers with the DCRA for a new certificate of occupancy. While the DCRA has yet to approve the application, the renovations suggest that Kocak is angling to reopen his restaurant.
However, those who fought to close the restaurant, such as ANC Commissioner Bill Starrels, are disappointed with the new developments.
“I don’t think [Kocak] has earned any credibility,” Starrels said. “I hope that Peter Nickles will do everything in the law and his power to protect my constituents from having to suffer under these people again and from this place reopening.”
Even if Philly Pizza does reopen, neighbors shouldn’t expect large crowds of customers—the permit lists the proposed maximum occupancy at 18 persons.