Pizza with an East African Twist at Minya’s

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Owner Yoseif Aradom named Minya’s Pizza in tribute to his mother. Photo courtesy of Minya’s Pizza.

When Yoseif Aradom arrived in the District from Eritrea, he had no plans to open a pizza shop. After working as a parking attendant, a janitorial housekeeper and a food delivery driver, Aradom founded a commercial cleaning company. While servicing a client in Shaw, he noticed a vacant storefront at 1932 Ninth St. NW. Years later, it became the venue for his next entrepreneurial venture: Minya’s Pizza.

Named after Aradom’s mother, the pies are as uniquely East African. Minya’s signature “spicy sauce” is crafted with Eritrean spices to create a savory flavor. Given his homeland’s colonial association with Italy, he decided to create a pizza with flavors from both countries resembling nothing else in the District. The pizzeria opened in September 2023.

Often asked how he classifies his cuisine, Aradom admits his pies are not traditional. “We want to do unique things,” he said. “The taste is spicy and other ingredients that we use are so healthy.” While he notes that his toppings and sauce are unusual, most New Yorkers will recognize the traditional crust.

Try the “Asmarino,” a white pizza with prosciutto, shaved cheese and arugula. More adventurous? Sample the “Amatere,” a pie topped with tilapia fish, mitmita spice, mozzarella and a honey buffalo sauce. Not in the mood for pizza? Order the fresh paninis, salads and wings. Get the order to go or have a quick bite at one of the establishment’s high tops.

Downstairs from the pizza shop is Aradom’s newest venture, a basement speakeasy called “Segreto DC” (“Secret DC” in Italian.) The bar opened in January 2024. Guests can enjoy specialty cocktails, wine and beer with items from the Minya’s menu.

Minya’s Pizza is open Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Fridays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Visit minyaspizza.com for more information. For information on Segreto DC, visit segretodc.com.

Sarah Payne is a reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at sarahp@hillrag.com