2011 | Dine

Update on Haven Pizzeria Napoletana

The 100,000-pound brick oven, Maker's Mark floor and historic bar are in

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If you’re wondering what ever happened to Haven Pizzeria Napoletana, the new pizza place that was supposed to open in late June in the former Hadji Oriental Rugs space next to Gaffney’s restaurant in Bethesda, it looks like the restaurant could be open in the next month.

The brainchild of Rockville resident and CPA Tiger Mullen, and his business partner, Mark Bergami, Haven is fashioned after New Haven’s Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, featuring simple pies fired by anthracite coal.

When I checked in on the construction today, Bergami said that a host of setbacks have delayed the opening, including his and Mullen’s insistence not to compromise on any of the striking custom details in the 5,000-square-foot eatery. (Plus, the 2200-degree, 100,000-pound oven gave Montgomery County inspectors a lot to scrutinize.)

Many of the details have been installed, and they give the place a rustic and handsome feel: that massive, 12-foot-deep brick oven to cook the pies (and 14-foot paddles to retrieve them); a floor made from reclaimed wood from an old Maker’s Mark whiskey barrel aging house in Kentucky; a white marble bar that was part of the floor of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall about 100 years ago; and cherry-wood booths that can seat eight people or more.

The partners are optimistic about a December opening. Watch this space.

7137 Wisconsin Ave. Bethesda. www.havenpizzeria.com