Paisano’s is unstoppable. In the 40 years since opening its first Virginia pizzeria, the chain has grown to more than 15 Virginia and Maryland locations, with more cropping up each year. The pizza mecca was voted 2012 Best Pizza by WTOP Virginia listeners and credits its success to freshness of ingredients, pizza dough, and its universal motto: "We have something for everyone." The Washington Post reports that the owners drew on their Lebanese and Italian parentage in creating the expansive menu, which includes hearty calzones, subs, and stuffed wraps, and of course, Paisano’s signature pizzas with more than 30 available toppings.
Every pizza at zpizza is freshly prepared, hand thrown, gently coaxed into the oven using soft birdcalls and pheromone trails, and fire-baked to crispy perfection. The dough is prepared fresh daily from 100% certified-organic wheat, and z is also happy to offer certified organic and gluten-free crusts, sating the pizza desire of the allergic, dieters, and wheat sympathizers. Toppings include award-winning Wisconsin skim mozzarella, MSG-free pepperoni, certified-organic tomato sauce, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce. Try a large ZBQ pizza (with barbecue sauce, mozzarella, barbecue chicken, roasted pepper, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and sweet corn; $20.95 for a large) or a chicken curry and yam rustica (with mozzarella, curry chicken, yam, mango chutney, raisin, and cilantro; $8.95). Vegans can delight in the Berkeley vegan, a faux-cheese veggie pizza (with marinara, veggie burger crumbles, zucchini, tomato, mushroom, red onion, and bell pepper; $10.50 for a small), and traveling tongues can sate their wanderlust with a mouthwatering Moroccan rustica (with pesto, mozzarella, roasted eggplant, feta cheese, caramelized onion, and pine nut; $8.95).
During a massive late ’70s blizzard, then-waiter Generous George opened his namesake eatery with the guidance of his mentor and friend, Nick Latsios. Dishes here live up to their promise, and diners should arrive prepared to gorge. Indulgent cheese-filled pockets become even more of a guilty pleasure when breaded, fried, and sided with a marinara dipping sauce and sprinkling of parmesan cheese ($6). Sea-meat fans will also appreciate the mammoth mountain of shrimp, scallops, sausage, tomatoes, and peppers sautéed in garlic white-wine sauce atop toasty wedges of pizza bread in the seafood Georgie ($13). Those looking for a lighter bite can order one of George's salads, like the veggie-packed tossed ($8) or the Greek farmer's salad ($10). Create your own pizza ($7 for personal, $12 for regular, and $15 for a large), or order one of George's specialty pies ($10–$26). And for those who can't ever get enough carbs, the gluttonous pasta pies ($13–$18) combine the best of both worlds with layers of noodles loaded up on a pizza shell.
Joe set sail from Agrigento, Italy with his family in 1970 to land in New York, eventually leaving for Virginia to seek his version of the American dream and opening Joe’s Place. The eatery has been family-run for 34 years, which is long enough to see the art of fashion transform countless times and the art of reading a book stay suspiciously the same. Ovens spill out piles of crispy, thin-crust pizzas adorned with fresh toppings and cheeses—such as the white pizza with fontina and garlic and the seafood pizza with fresh shrimp and clams—and thick layers of dough support sicilian deep-dish pies. Cooks prepare pots of steaming pastas and build specialty subs with stacks of prosciutto, provolone, and capicollo. Members of Joe’s family work in both his restaurants, keeping the authentic Italian recipes in constant use, like the sun, a small percentage of which is also pasta sauce.
American Flatbread makes its game-changing flatbread foundation using organic flour, which is topped with a fresh, locally grown assortment of veggies, meats, and cheeses. Each one is generally big enough for two moderate eaters or one hungry hippo. The tasty flatbread pizzas are born and blazed inside a primitive, wood-fired oven, giving them a delicious crunch and primal taste signature.
When researchers began excavations of the archeological site at Pompeii, they found well-preserved brick ovens in the ash. It is believed that with a little tune up, they could work again today. Emilio’s Brick Oven Pizza brings this time-tested Italian cooking technique to the current day with their homemade brick oven pizzas. Fresh ingredients add flavors to their pies, such as “the Dorian” topped with fresh mozzarella, spinach, squash, portabella mushrooms and feta cheese. But pizza isn’t their only specialty. The menu is stocked with Italian mainstays such as cheesy calzones, fresh mozzarella salads drizzled in balsamic dressing, and tiramisu.
Each hand-tossed mound of house-made dough travels one of two paths at Sal's NY Pizza. Either it's packed into a square-shaped Sicilian pan or fastidiously kneaded into a Neapolitan-style thin crust. The latter can measure up to 18 inches, which cooks top with nearly 30 ingredients, including marinated artichoke hearts and Philly-style steak. Pies aren't the only customizable item at Sal's—the culinary team also whips up personalized pastas with fixings such linguini, sausage, and carbonara sauce. Sal's pizzas and pastas stem from generations-old recipes, though cooks also craft more contemporary dishes, including orders of up to 50 buffalo wings doused in hot sauce.