A slice for lunch is a right, not a privilege, at We, the Pizza

With Spike Mendelsohn’s new fast-casual restaurant We, the Pizza, chances have increased that, if you’re on Capitol Hill during lunchtime, you’ll be eating his food. We, the Pizza recently opened next door to his hamburger joint, Good Stuff Eatery, at 305 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, giving congressional staffers and others with business in the area another midday meal choice outside the House cafeteria-Subway-Burrito Brothers triumvirate.

A recent visit to the restaurant during the height of lunch hour (12:30 p.m.) on a sunny and pleasant summer day revealed a line out the door. But it moved quickly, and it was only a matter of minutes before no fewer than 10 colorful pizzas sitting on cylindrical wooden blocks behind a glass case came into view. Two cashiers moved customers through the line and distributed the buzzers that free the hungry masses to scout for seating — or return to their BlackBerrys — while waiting for their orders.

The restaurant caters both to those who have just a few minutes to grab food before heading back to their desks and others who want to have a conversation with a friend or colleague over the meal. Guests can find tables and booths on the second floor, a bar at the back of the first floor and front-patio seating on seasonable days. The one hazard with indoor seating is the loud, club-like music. You will be shouting to your companion.

The pizza is hearty but not too heavy for a midday meal. Among the highlights are a Buffalo Chicken Pie that nicely balances its flavors. It has a hint of wing sauce and a touch of blue cheese without succumbing entirely to those two otherwise strong ingredients.

The Forest Shroomin Pie is notable for the amount of mushrooms it packs onto each slice. No light sprinkling of canned button mushrooms here. Julienne-cut wild forest mushrooms fill every bite of the pie, providing a meat-like effect. The crust of both slices has a heft and crunch to it that other by-the-slice pizzas in this city usually miss.

The soda fountain isn’t to be overlooked. Employees hand-mix unique flavors — sour cherry, coffee and sarsaparilla among them — that complement the pizzas’ saltiness. (The restaurant also has a regular soda fountain with Diet Coke and the other run-of-the-mill drinks.)

So if you’re having one of those days when you can’t decide whether you want pizza or a burger for lunch, head to Mendelsohn’s corner, where you can get both.