We tried a new fast-pizza chain that’s expanding across America — here’s what it’s like

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Hollis Johnson

  • &pizza is a popular fast-casual pizza chain with 23 stores in four states.
  • It just raised another round of funding to grow even more.
  • In a taste test, we found the pizzas lived up to the hype.

Chains like Blaze Pizza, MOD Pizza, and Pizza Studio are gaining a foothold in the US by offering almost entirely customizable personal pizzas at fast-casual speeds and prices.

Now, Washington, DC-based &pizza is entering the arena with a recent round of undisclosed funding from RSE Ventures – RSE’s co-founder, Stephen Ross, also has investments in SoulCycle and Equinox. The investment is aimed at cracking into the Northeast market with expansion plans targeting Boston and New York, as well as openings expected in Miami.

Tomorrow, &pizza will celebrate the opening of its 24th location, in Tysons – an upscale section of Northern Virginia, just outside the nation’s capital, known for luxury cars, couture clothing stores, and a litany of high-rise office buildings.
The opening will be marked by free pizzas for the chain’s fans, which the company calls “the tribe.”

We decided to visit this rapidly growing chain’s New York City location.


We visited the &pizza location at 28th Street and Broadway, one of two in NYC. The chain has locations in four states and Washington, DC — a total of 23 stores, with three more opening soon. This recent funding round is meant to fuel its expansion into the Northeast.

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Hollis Johnson

The chain offers online ordering both on its website and through its app. Choose what pizza you want, and show up to pay and pick it up.

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Hollis Johnson

The store is incredibly stylized — crisp, graphic, black-and-white decor is front and center. It’s clean and stark, almost to the point of sterility.

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Hollis Johnson

The menu has both ready-made pizza options and a custom, make-your-own pizza list. Both options are $10 flat, apart from a few special extras that cost $0.50. Almost everything is customizable, from the crust — traditional, gluten-free, or ancient grain — to the toppings.

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Hollis Johnson

The set-up is instantly familiar to any fast-casual, Chipotle-style restaurant regular: you start at one end and go down the assembly line, adding what you will.

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Hollis Johnson

The pizzas — lozenge-shaped, like doughy little skateboards — are constructed in front of you. And even if you order a pre-planned pizza, you can still tweak it to your whim.

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Hollis Johnson

Then the pizza is slipped into a special oven that flash bakes it within three minutes. After it emerges, you can add any finishing touches on top: feta cheese, herbs, olives, sauces, and the like.

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Hollis Johnson

The system and staff are efficient. The entire process took roughly seven to eight minutes from order to payment.

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Hollis Johnson

We ordered two pre-planned pizzas — “The OG” and the “Farmer’s Daughter” — and one custom construction of our own.

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Hollis Johnson

The OG is a simple spin on the Margherita pizza: basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella, with a drizzle of olive oil.

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Hollis Johnson

The ingredients are remarkably fresh, with vibrant red tomatoes and wonderfully aromatic basil leaves. Our only complaint is with the tomato sauce, which seems a tad watery — “ketchupy,” as one taster quipped.

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Hollis Johnson

A more complex option is the Farmer’s Daughter — Italian sausage, mozzarella, spinach, eggs, and spicy tomato sauce, plus red pepper chili oil for some kick. This pizza is rich, spicy, and in our humble opinion, the best of the bunch.

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Hollis Johnson

The runny egg adds a layer of smoothness and fattiness that perfectly balances the spicy oil and sauce. It’s satisfying without being overwhelming. The chain’s crust is somewhere between thin and crispy, and thick and doughy. It’s nothing special, but it does the job well.

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Hollis Johnson

The custom pizza option is a perfect example of the dangers of having too much freedom. It requires deep thought and knowledge of flavor and texture pairings — this is no casual undertaking. With so many options, it’s all too easy to go wrong.

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Hollis Johnson

We crafted a pizza of spicy chickpeas, grilled onion, goat cheese, ricotta, garlic sauce, and a drizzle of fig balsamic vinegar. It was … fine. Perhaps less is more with custom pizzas.

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Hollis Johnson

The pizzas are of fairly large size, somewhere between one and 1.5 feet in length. They’re definitely enough for a substantial lunch.

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Hollis Johnson

Also gracing the menu is a dessert pizza called the Lori Lane, which turns out to be quite a challenge to tackle. It’s the same size as their regular pizza — don’t expect to eat it all on your own, especially if it’s after another pizza.

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Hollis Johnson

It’s dolloped with scoops of sweet ricotta, strawberries, and blueberries, dusted with powdered sugar, and drizzled with a berry reduction.

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Hollis Johnson

It’s absolutely delicious, especially the sweet ricotta. The berry sauce pushes the treat over the edge to the very sweet side of things. With less drizzle, it would be a more sane and balanced dessert.

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Hollis Johnson

But don’t worry — if you can’t finish it or any other pizza, you can always ask for a box to take it back home.

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Hollis Johnson

Considering we visited around 2 p.m., well after the lunch rush, there was a fairly steady stream of diners moving through, and they were all served in a timely manner.

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Hollis Johnson

There’s even a merchandise display — if for some reason you truly want an &pizza t-shirt or onesie for yourself or your infant child, they have you covered. It’s definitely a 21st-century, brand-centric approach to restaurants.

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Hollis Johnson

Is &pizza ready to launch a Northeast invasion? I’d say yes. There’s no outstanding “crave” factor, but the chain does well enough.

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Hollis Johnson

While it doesn’t reach mind-blowing levels of deliciousness or experience, the food is of good quality and fairly priced for urban areas. Its branding has millennials squarely in its crosshairs with its trendy graphic simplicity, ease of ordering, and ethos of fair wages and community partnerships.

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Hollis Johnson