There’s something excruciatingly exciting about a pizza brunch. Maybe it’s the fact it’s an adequate excuse to eat pizza for breakfast, or maybe it’s that our brunch cocktails have graduated from mimosa to Aperol spritz. Either way, we love a (good) pizza brunch and we like it even more when it’s accompanied by bottomless beverages and antipasti. All-Purpose Shaw has created a safe space where pizza brunch is not only allowed, but enforced.
The pizza restaurant is near a plethora of trendsetting D.C. brunches, but All-Purpose Shaw can definitely compete. All-Purpose has all the bells and whistles of a slice joint, with octagonal, muted-toned tiles on the floors and brick accents on the walls.
The bottomless offerings don’t miss a beat. You can choose between a bloody Mary, a peach Bellini, a mimosa, or as we eluded an Aperol spritz. We were big fans of the pulpy mimosa, spicy, celery-forward bloody, sour peach Bellini, and neither overly sweet nor ice-filled Aperol spritz. Drinks were a hit all around, no matter your vice.
After dining at All-Purpose before, we decided one pizza per two people and some brunch dishes or appetizers to go around would help diversify our experience. We ordered two pizzas for four people and a few starters, including the tomato and smoked salmon sandwich, the ricotta crespelles, and the arancini verde. There are other appetizers we really love, like the prosciutto and the disco fries we first tasted at the waterfront location, but we wanted to try something new.
The smoked salmon sandwich is just as much the protagonist of this restaurant’s production as the pizzas are. The fluffiest, butteriest focaccia provides a sturdy grip to bury your face in this messy sandwich, but also acts as the sponge that soaks up the juices from the fresh yellow heirloom tomato and hand-pulled mozzarella. Even a smoked salmon skeptic was on board with the balance of brunch flavors happening on this sandwich.
The arancini verde is the perfect small bite with a ton of flavor. It’s a classic, cheesy, fried rice ball perched atop a mouthwatering puddle of blush tomato sauce but with a kick of basil pesto on the inside. The ricotta crespelles were cross between a blintz and a crepe. They were soft, thin pancakes filled with ricotta and topped with macerated blueberries. They weren’t overly sweet and were a nice, fresh palate cleanser from the salty savory, but we probably wouldn’t order them again.
The pizza strategy was to go with one classic and one brunch exclusive. The standard pie was everything we wanted it to be: well-seasoned, secured with a hearty cheese to sauce ratio, and thin, Neapolitan style, but with a little bit more of that thick, chewy crust with lots of those delicious air bubbles.
The specialty pie we wanted to investigate was the Burlington, a mix of mozzarella, white cheddar, pepperoncini, breakfast sausage, poached egg, and maple syrup. We’d be lying if we told you the main reason we wanted to try this was for the syrup. We found this pie slightly off. We think syrup, spice, and everything nice is a good move on a cheesy, charred pizza, but the acidity of the pepperoncini was too overpowering – and we like pepperoncini. We get the vibe this pizza is going for, it’s like a deconstructed McGriddle of sorts. That said, you’d probably spice up your breakfast sandwich with hot sauce before you added spicy Italian peppers, no?
The Bitches say: four Champagne flutes.
All-Purpose is an ideal brunch, lunch, pizza, and bottomless establishment. The space is welcoming to patrons who want a quick bite and those looking for a spot for a special occasion.
All-Purpose serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.