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