Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: &pizza

&pizza's Redvine may be the eatery's only vegan option of its Signature menu, but it's delicious – and spicy. (Photo: News-Press)
&pizza’s Redvine may be the eatery’s only vegan option of its Signature menu, but it’s delicious – and spicy. (Photo: News-Press)

One of the bigger trends over the past decade has been the rise of restaurants that take conventional foods and make them unconventional. Regionally, there are places like Spcbr for grilled cheese sandwiches, DC-3 for hot dogs and the multitude of cupcake shops that have sprung up around the area over the past five years. &pizza is a restaurant in that fashion, but for pizza.

&pizza opened its first restaurant on H Street in Northeast D.C. in 2012. Since then the pizza place has been expanding across the region and opened its first Virginia location in the new Springfield Town Center in early December. The unconventional, sometimes gourmet, ingredients are offset by the classic pizzeria look, which gives the place a casual feel.

The menu at &pizza is expansive and the restaurant has one set price for just cheese pizzas ($6.84) and another set price if diners want to get any combination of the menu’s 33 toppings ($8.96). And the restaurant‘s sauce selection, with options like mushroom truffle, red chickpea puree and the aforementioned tomato olive pesto, is sets it apart from other franchise pizza restaurants.

&pizza also has a selection of eight Signature pizzas ($8.96), which features selections like Kiss & Fire, Maverick and Redvine. And even though &pizza only has one vegan option, the Redvine, it has four vegetarian options and enough vegan ingredients that vegan diners can create several options for themselves. The Redvine, with tomato olive pesto, spinach, Daiya mozarella, roasted red peppers, fresh jalapenos, cherry tomatoes and red pepper chili oil,  is engaging, but not for the faint of heart. It’s sweet and spicy with notes of earthiness from the spinach.

Like a lot of other restaurants with huge menus, &pizza’s offerings might overwhelm the first-time diner, so here are a few unofficially-named combinations that might be a delight to try:

– The Mediterranean: red chickpea puree, artichoke hearts, spinach, falafel crumbles, spicy chickpeas, basil leaves, kalamata olives and fig marsala.

– The Grazer: basil spinach pesto, roasted wild mushroom blend, broccoli florets, spinach, vegan beef crumbles, arugula, picked red onions and sun-dried tomatoes.

– The Scorched Earth: spicy tomato sauce, spinach, fresh jalapenos, spicy chickpeas, arugula, basil leaves and strawberry balsamic.

&pizza also serves salads, none of which are naturally vegan, and house-made sodas ($2.36), which is another menu offering that sets the eatery apart. Personal favorites of the soda menu include Mango & Passion Fruit, Ginger Berry Lemonade and Burdock & Anise Root Beer.

Like Naked Pizza, which was featured in this space in mid-December last year, &pizza, with unique menu offerings, delicious, rectangle-shaped pizzas and, a laid-back feel, has the potential to compete with the big three pizza franchises.

&pizza | 6801 Springfield Mall, Springfield | 703-922-7470 | andpizza.com

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