Philly Pizza & Grill, the popular late-night eatery that was forced to shut its doors last spring, will return, albeit in a different form.

On Sept. 22, the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs granted a new certificate of occupancy to Philly Pizza, according to Kathleen Beeton, DCRA’s deputy zoning administrator.

The DCRA revoked Philly Pizza’s previous certificate of occupancy last October amid a flurry of residents’ complaints of excessive late-night noise and trash. Philly Pizza was operating as a fast food restaurant on a residential street, which is against District zoning laws.

After months of court battles, the Board of Zoning Adjustment finally forced Philly Pizza to end operations on March 9. Mehmet Kocak, the owner of Philly Pizza, then applied for a new certificate of occupancy over the summer for a prepared food and sandwich shop.

According to Beeton, Kocak met with the DCRA, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E and neighbors in June to discuss the option of opening a prepared food shop. The DCRA decided to grant a new certificate of occupancy after reviewing the proposal and the steps Kocak had taken to meet zoning regulations.

“Since [June], the owners have had ongoing discussions with DCRA officials in an attempt to comply with the zoning regulations regarding prepared food shops,” Beeton wrote in an email. “Specifically, the owners have altered the interior of the property and replaced the cooking oven with a ventless oven to be used to warm sandwiches and other food. The owners have also removed the rooftop vent.”

Kocak said that while a new certificate had been granted, Philly Pizza was not yet reopened and he did not have further details.

Georgetown residents near the Potomac Street location are not pleased to see the return of the establishment. Last fall, residents complained that Philly Pizza’s late-night crowds were composed mostly of inebriated students and that excessive noise and trash violations disrupted life on a residential street. Several residents testified before the BZA during the court hearings in the spring.

“We’re not happy. Nobody understands this ruling. The timing of it … it’s strange. It makes no sense,” ANC2E Vice Chairman Bill Starrels told The Georgetown Dish.

Students were excited for Philly Pizza’s return, but expressed skepticism at the notion of a prepared food establishment, not a pizza joint.

“I’m a fan of Philly P’s, though not pre-prepared food,” Peter Roth (MSB ’13) said. “I want the pizza to be crispy in my hands. I also liked that it felt like a real pizza place.”

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