Washington, D.C.-based &pizza opened at 1335 Wisconsin Ave. NW Nov. 18 in the former Five Guys hamburger joint, and the anticipation had lines running out the door. Their unique way of doing business and logo-tattooed workers opened up their 10th store in Washington, with one more on the way. In total, they have 19 open shops.
The first 119 guests in line at 11 a.m. were able to get a free pizza pie of their choice, and the first five in line to request an ampersand in ink will receive free pizza for the entire year. The brand makes the same offer of free ampersand tattoos to its employees, dubbed “The &pizza Tribe.” To date, more than 60 tribe members have signed their allegiance on skin.
“We stress being different,” said cofounder Michael Lastoria. “It’s what sets us apart from the others. We like being that company.”
The &pizza group was very welcoming to its new Georgetown audience, primarily Georgetown University students. The workers made conversation with those in line, getting to know their audience, which has spread to parts of Virginia and Maryland. There’s even one &pizza in Philadelphia. The company will open a store in New York next year, but Lastoria has no plans to move west.
“I have no intentions of moving anywhere else. We’ve made ourselves known here,” said Lastoria. &pizza looks to keep themselves in the Washington area, similar to how In-N-Out Burger has become a West Coast delicacy. “It just wouldn’t make sense for us to do so, just yet.”
The all-natural ingredients that go into the pizza add to the brands uniqueness and ability to stand out and make their own path. With only nine pizzas on the menu, customers can also build their own with no cost for extra toppings — another thing that sets &pizza apart from the rest of the pack.
Lastoria was very pleased with the turnout early in the day, snapping photos and talking to customers in the store. It’s safe to say that &pizza is going to be a Georgetown favorite for quite some time.
“We’re very excited to open up, and we can’t wait to see what Georgetown brings us.”