Food Porn with James Chang: Armand’s Pizza

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Armand’s Pizza: love at first bite.

Chicago style pizza is renowned for its deep “upside-down” style pizza; the toppings are placed under the cheese and topped with sauce. Armand’s take isn’t an exact replica to the classic Chicago style, however. The toppings are stacked in the traditional style, but the pizza is baked in a deep dish and has a tall tower-like crust in order to fill the pizza up with toppings as well as cheese.

Founded by Lew Newmyer, the current recipe used by Armand’s Pizza was developed decades ago through months of trial and error after Newmyer traveled to Chicago and experienced their unique style of Pizza. Today, Armand’s Chicago Pizzeria is a small chain with 11 restaurants scattered across DC, Maryland, and Delaware.

Armand’s menu ranges from subs and pizza to pasta and desserts. Nevertheless, the most popular dishes are the Chicago style deep dish pizza and the New York style cheesecake. The order style is like any other pizza joint. Customers line up and order whole pies or they can choose to order per slice.

The pizza has a notably large crust, larger than those found on a traditional pizza. However, the extra crust complements the extra cheese and sauce that is on the pizza. The cheese is melted to perfection and stretches to extreme lengths, so it would be wise to grab a knife before diving into the pizza.

The pizza is a dense dish and it will probably begin filling you up within the first two slices. The mozzarella cheese is sweet and savory, which compliments the slightly tangy tomato sauce that sits under it. The pepperonis are surprisingly plain. They taste like the standard pepperoni found on almost all pizzas. It is spicy with a mildly sweet taste that slowly spreads throughout your mouth.

Armand’s is a very unique take on the classic Chicago style pizza pie. Most people describe the original as a pie that forces you to have a sit down session with it. Normally it is filled with sauce and cheese making it impossible to hold without you spilling it all over yourself, but Armand’s is slightly easier to handle.

Perhaps it is Newmyers’s point to take the flavor and style of Chicago and put it in the palm of your hand like a regular slice. Whether this was Newmyer’s intended goal or not, Armand’s Chicago Pizzeria is most definitely a place to drop by if you are looking for a delicious pizza pie. Eat in or get it delivered, either way you might find yourself falling in love at first bite.

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The other popular option, the New York style cheesecake, has a very dense appearance that matches its amazingly dense flavor. Its consistency is rich and smooth with a sweet creamy flavor from the heavy cream and a hint of sourness from the cream cheese, sour cream, or lime juice. The graham cracker crust is sweet and crunchy which complements the cheesecake’s smooth texture.

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Armand’s resides in two areas within driving distance of the MC Rockville and Germantown campuses.

The one near the Rockville branch is on 190 Hapline Rd, Rockville, 20852. The one on the Gaithersburg branch is on 18208 Contour Rd, Gaithersburg, 20877. The Rockville branch has a simple beige exterior with plain white text while the Gaithersburg branch has red text and an interesting red, green, and yellow colored awning.

CORRECTION: The Gaithersburg location is closed. The original family owned restaurant is 1909 Seminary Road in Silver Spring, MD.