Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Naked Pizza

One of the several combinations you can make at Naked Pizza because of their tons of toppings. (Photo: Drew Costley/News-Press)
One of the several combinations you can make at Naked Pizza because of their tons of toppings. (Photo: Drew Costley/News-Press)

Naked Pizza, founded in 2008 as a small New Orleans-based local business called World’s Healthiest Pizza, had a robust social media buzz and a promise of healthier pizza going for them when they came to suburban Washington, D.C. about four years ago.

Another thing the company had going for them – its pizza is pretty good. Naked Pizza advertises its product as a healthier version of the unhealthy, Ninja Turtle-approved comfort food, but caution that healthier doesn’t mean it’s diet food. It also doesn’t mean bad food in this instance.

The pies come in four sizes – 10, 12, 14 and 16 inches – which range in price from $6.99 – $9.99. Gluten-free crusts, which look and taste like Lunchables pizza crusts and not in a good way, are available for $12.99.

And among the pizza places in the area that serve vegan cheese (for an additional fee) it’s one of the best. Full disclosure: I worked at Naked Pizza from May 2012 until September 2013, right after they started serving vegan cheese. I’m not taking credit for that, but….

Let’s start from the top, or at least the bottom of the toppings. Naked Pizza offers four sauce options: red (a tomato-y sauce), white (garlic-infused olive oil), BBQ and pesto. BBQ sauce as an option can make for some interesting pies when combined with other toppings, but the white sauce is probably the least likely to leave diners with the “itis.”

Naked Pizza recently expanded their menu to include several more pizza topping options and side dishes. (Photo: Drew Costley/News-Press)
Naked Pizza recently expanded their menu to include several more pizza topping options and side dishes. (Photo: Drew Costley/News-Press)

After you choose your crust and sauce, there are three other topping categories dubbed Flora, Fauna and Cheese. The latter of three names isn’t unique, but it works. There is a per charge topping that goes up by the size. The prices range from $1.49 – $1.99 per topping.

Naked Pizza offered 15 plant-based toppings when it first came to this region but recently added options like green and kalamata olives and fresh sauteed portobello mushrooms. The company also added bacon to the meat options and blue, goat, fresh and smoked mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses to its cheese options on its menu.

Diners have the choice of building their own pizza or choosing from a list of “Favorites,” “Classics,” and “Chef-Inspired” pizzas, topping combos the company has already come up with, some of which have cute names like Farmvil, Greenhouse and Firepower.Those looking to maximize the healthiness of the their “healthy” pizza usually go with the Superbiotic, which is topped with artichokes, bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, red onions and cilantro, or the Greenhouse, which is topped with red onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, black olives and mushrooms.

Neither of these options is particularly satisfying in terms of comfort (read: unhealthy) food, but any of the preconceived topping combo pizzas can be modified to the diner’s liking, so its not hard to kick these up a notch.

Naked Pizza’s menu update also satisfied what a lot of fans of the restaurant were demanding: more menu items besides pizza, breadsticks (spelled breadstixx by the company) and salads. In roughly the past year, the company has expanded its menu to include chicken strips, chicken wings, calzones and cinnamon swirls.

A lot of these additions bring Naked Pizza closer to what you would typically find at a fast food pizza place. But the company still has enough that sets it apart from the big three pizza companies – Papa John’s, Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut – that it can slice out a niche – not only in markets like Washington, D.C., but nationwide.

Naked Pizza | 933 N. Quincy St., Arlington | 703-248-0990 | nakedpizza.biz

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