Must-Try

The 9 Hottest New Pizza Joints in DC

By Rina Rapuano  |  October 26, 2015
Credit: Scott Suchman

If you want great pizza in a hurry, 2015 was your year: It seemed as if fast-casual pizzeria joints were popping up all over the place, filling the need for satisfying, good-quality comfort food across the DC area from Dupont Circle to Ashburn. That's not to say there weren't any artisanal pie shops opening up as well. Several well-known chefs got into the game this year, and the end result is that our search for amazing pizza is easier than ever. Here are the area's hot newcomers:

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  • DC Pizza

    It’s tough not to compare this place to the other homegrown “Chipotle of pizzerias”: &pizza. Despite the competition, lunchers are loving the 8-by-12-inch rectangles that take two minutes to bake. Diners fill out a form with their choice of crust (or pasta, if you prefer), a sauce, a cheese and then up to four toppings for $8.86. There’s also a Crowd Favorites section of six specialty pizzas, including the BTR topped with diced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, bacon and ranch ($7.29). If two minutes is too long to wait, call ahead.

    1103 19th St. NW; 202-331-1800

  • Credit: Scott Suchman

    Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana

    Former Oval Room and 701 chef Tony Conte recently returned to his Italian roots to open this Neapolitan pizzeria near his suburban Maryland home. The chef-owner plans to source ingredients from Frederick County farms and the Chesapeake Bay for his tight menu of pizzas, pastas, appetizers, meat and fish dishes; look for an oven-roasted fish and meat special offered daily. The 40-seat restaurant won't take reservations or do takeout, and will open at 5 PM (closed Mondays).

    12207 Darnestown Rd., Gaithersburg; 301-963-0115

  • Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap

    Chef Mauro Molino, who hails from Italy and has worked at such places as Rustico Restaurant & Bar and The Hamilton, will infuse this newcomer's pies with traditional Neapolitan ingredients like Italian 00 flour, buffalo mozzarella and organic San Marzano tomatoes. The restaurant turns out 10- and 14-inch pizzas cooked in a 900-degree wood-fired oven. Aside from the classic margherita, there's a New England clam pizza (pictured) and one topped with Korean BBQ short ribs and gochujang.

    401 E. Braddock Rd., Alexandria; 703-683-5330

  • Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria e Bar

    As you might be able to guess from the length of the name, this ode to Naples is more than just a pizzeria — but, like the pizzas, the small plates, entrees and cocktails all honor the founder's birthplace. Pies here are made following the strict Neapolitan guidelines for pizza-making, including hand-kneaded dough baked in a high-temperature wood-burning oven. Go for the aperitivo happy hour — held daily from 4–6 PM — when select beers, wines and cocktails go for $4–$7.

    7101 Democracy Blvd., Potomac; 301-365-8300

  • Pizzeria Orso

    Okay, we admit that it's kind of cheating to include this place since it's been around for a while. But with a new chef in Bertrand Chemel, who also heads the kitchen at well-regarded sister restaurant 2941, and a brand-new VPN certification, it sure feels new over there. Aside from becoming an expert pizzaiolo, the France-born chef has also added some amazing appetizers — like the rosemary ricotta dip and the beet salad with goat cheese, pistachios and grapefruit. 

    400 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church; 703-226-3460

  • Pizza Studio

    This national chain opened its first DC spot in Dupont Circle this spring, bringing high-quality unlimited toppings (think nitrate-free pepperoni and seasonal veggies) and flavorful, very thin crusts to the table. This shop offers six crust options, including rosemary herb and Moroccan, and features a “starving artists wall” with local art for sale. It takes about two minutes for the 11-inch rounds ($7.99) to make it through the oven.

    1333 New Hampshire Ave. NW; 202-331-1895

  • SpinFire Pizza

    This spring, Washington NFL player Pierre Garçon and Fouad Qreitem opened a Rosslyn spin-off of their Ashburn original, which opened in October. The spot’s most popular combos are the Hawaiian, prosciutto-arugula and BBQ pizzas — but, of course, diners can also build their own. The 10-inch rounds ($6.99–$8.99) cook in 90 seconds, and the kitchen also serves salads, calzones, housemade gelato and local beer from Port City Brewing Co.

    1501 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-243-3000

  • Credit: Barbara L. Salisbury

    Stella Barra Pizzeria

    This mini-chain added to its stable of pizzerias with the North Bethesda opening in Pike & Rose earlier this year. The menu, which pulls heavily from its siblings, features both red-sauced and white personal pizzas, including a classic margherita and one topped with shaved mushrooms, Gruyère, truffles and herbs. Pizzas are cooked in custom-made electric ovens that chef and partner Jeff Mahin favors for their consistency and the ability to better control the temperatures.

    11825 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda; 301-770-8609

  • Veloce

    Pizzeria Paradiso chef-owner Ruth Gresser has been considered a pizza pioneer in DC since she introduced the city to Neapolitan-style pies with artisanal toppings 20 years ago. Gresser debuted her version of fast-casual pizza in May, lending a chef’s touch to this “fast-food” trend. The gas-lit brick oven holds up to 25 8-inch pies ($9 each) at a time, serving them for breakfast, lunch and dinner crowds.

    1828 L St. NW; 202-290-1910