Food Review: &pizza

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(Photo Credit: James Chang)

&pizza: Friends, Family, and Pizza

 

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Just as the name entails, &Pizza is designed to be a part of something greater. Everything that the restaurant provides is upgraded when friends or family come together; at least that is what seems to be advertised.

 

&Pizza stands at the corner of Century Boulevard next to the Germantown Safeway and at the end of the busy street which is surrounded by many other restaurants. The black exterior stands out when compared to the rest of the street as the others don flashing lights and bright colors which bombard anybody walking by.

 

Once entering the restaurant you first notice the aroma of herbs, seasonings, and the sweet smell of melted cheese. The unique design of the exterior is maintained in the interior as well. The decor is black and white with aluminum chairs set across from each other along multiple tables alluding to the fact that & Pizza is a place for social interaction rather than just filling one’s stomach.

 

The restaurant is designed for a conveyor belt ordering style similar to Chipotle. There is only one size which is for a single serving, however it is large enough to share a few slices if you’re not very hungry.

 

The only style of pizza available is a thin crust pizza. A menu is provided for those who want to think about toppings before ordering, specialties are available and can be ordered from the register instead of going down the line. One such specialty is the Maverick, a traditional sauced pizza topped with fresh “in house” mozzarella, spicy sausage, aged pepperoni, and salami.

The Maverick pizza has fresh mozzarella which is not grated cheese but is actually a fresh mozzarella ball which is stored in whey, the remaining liquid after the cheese curdles. This most likely preserves the mozzarella’s freshness and keeps it moist for the best taste. The mozzarella is topped as it would on a Margherita style pizza however instead of slicing it they tear it into chunks which is then scattered on the pizza before the toppings are added. The pizza is then topped with sliced spicy sausage, salami, and aged pepperonis.

 

Once your pizza is ordered and assembled you proceed down the line to pay and wait for your order. The staff does a remarkably terrible job of remembering the chronology of their orders. When three of the same orders came for three separate customers all hell broke loose and society seemed to fall apart as anybody with the same order may claim the first pizza if they called out fast enough. It would be advised to remain at the register in fear of somebody else taking your order.

 

Service staff aside the pizza came out beautifully and with a choice of parmesan, reggiano and oregano finishes. The Maverick had enough oil on it without the oregano oil finish, so it would be recommended not to add this. The pizza had many notably large spots throughout that were left uncovered by neither cheese not toppings. It is cut into eight pieces and served on a long black dish for dine in customers.

 

The fragrance of the sauce is very noticeable and is very flavorful, the taste is sweet yet savory, similar to the sauce from Papa John’s or Vocelli’s Pizza. The Mozzarella cheese is creamy with a surprising yet appealing hint of sweetness. However the lack of cheese causes the sauce to overpower any bite of the pizza that does not have a melted chunk of cheese in it.

 

The spicy sausage has a kick to it but it is soft enough to taste the herbs and spices that were mixed into the filling. The “aged” pepperoni is surprisingly unremarkable as it lacked any unique flavors to make it stand out from the standard processed pepperoni of other pizzas. The salami is thin sliced and is sweet with a hint of spice that coats the mouth without overpowering the other flavors of the pizza. The parmesan finish is thin to say the least, but every few bites the trademark creamy yet tangy flavor of the parm kicks in. Despite this, the taste would be improved if they had added a more generous amount of parmesan to the pizza.
In the end & Pizza takes quality over quantity, it would not be recommended for one to come to this restaurant if you want a cheap and filling meal. & Pizza meets its name as a social restaurant. There is nothing more than tables and napkins for the customers as the entertainment comes from friends and meeting new people. If you are out for a night of drinking and want to grab a quick bite or if you’re a “foodie” that wants to try a new place then you should enjoy it with friends, family, & Pizza.