If you walk the corners of any of D.C.’s most popular neighborhoods at lunchtime during the week, it’ll only take two minutes before you encounter someone cradling a &pizza box. The signature white, rectangular box is a coveted item – a symbol of fast, quality, mouth-watering pizza that you feel completely okay taking back to your office and finishing entirely by yourself. In fact, if you don’t do this, you should know that you have amazing self-control, because what’s coming out of their high tech ovens is nothing short of addicting…
It starts with the smell- the kind of smell that you pick up a block away. The kind of smell you would seriously consider making a fragrance out of. Before you know it, you’ll be in bloodhound mode, your nose unconsciously navigating you towards the source. And when you reach the doors and get a glimpse of bubbling cheese, glistening sauces and drippy eggs…. good luck turning away. There once was a time that it was impossible for the gluten-sensitive folk to make it beyond this point. Instead, we were just repeatedly tormented with the scent knowing that those gluten-bomb pizzas were completely off limits. But now…..
They have gluten-free dough! While this seems less than climactic among the dozens of pizza joints that have also adapted a gluten-free option of some sort, it’s a big deal for two reasons. First, it is not store-bought. They developed their own recipe, and it’s so damn good that you’ll probably have a panic attack and need to go confirm with the store manager that it is, in fact, gluten-free. It’s crunchy, buttery, doughy… words don’t do it justice. Feed it to a gluten hog – they may never get regular crust again. Second, and most importantly, we can finally be like everyone else happily toting our white, rectangular box down the sidewalk for everyone to see. Blessed.
The process is simple, but unique. At the start of the counter, you choose your dough: ancient grain, traditional, or gluten-free. Unlike a lot of other pizza joints with gluten-free crust, the limit does not exist at &pizza. You can get any of their traditional pizzas gluten-free, you can get a half & half, or you can create your own entirely. For the meat lovers, you’ll want to order the Maverick. One of their top-sellers, it has layers of salami, pepperoni, and local fennel Italian sausage (which is godly, by the way). If you want to try two at a time, aim for half Farmer’s Daughter and half Gnarlic. Combining the local farm eggs, spinach, and fresh mozz with heavy garlic flavor, salami and milky ricotta is never a bad move. That Gnarlic. WHEW. You’ve gotta love garlic, and if you do, this is your calling. If you see a little bit of good in all of the pizzas, go ahead and make your own – choose a sauce, cheese, as many veggies as you’d like, protein, and finishes. The only topping that is not gluten-free is the beef meatballs, which are bound with breadcrumbs. But hey, with 47 other ones to choose from, meatballs have never looked so insignificant.
If you’e looking for something lighter to pair with your pizza, they carry three salads that are definitely worth ordering. Unfortunately they can’t top it with gluten-free crust, but don’t worry, there will be plenty of that in your box. If you’re into goat cheese, order the Don Goat. Goat cheese in the salad, goat cheese in the dressing. Double whammy.
When you need something to guzzle down your meal with, skip the water, because they’ve got six housemade craft sodas that could easily put Coca Cola out of business. If you want something refreshingly tangy, the Ginger Berry Lemonade is a great choice. For something on the tropical side, the Mango + Passionfruit is a fave.
In pizza summary, &pizza is a crowd-pleaser. The next time you get hangry in the midst of a 3-hour meeting, shopping spree, or monument tour and you need something good and you need it NOW, do yourself some justice and head to &pizza. But be careful, once you take that first bite, it can and will become a weekly, daily, or even hourly ritual. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.