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Custom Fuel
Photo: Official

Mapping D.C.'s Impending Fast Casual Pizza Invasion

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Custom Fuel
| Photo: Official

Four minutes is how long it took Justin Timberlake and Madonna to save the world. But two minutes is fast becoming the standard length of time for piping hot pizza — and this is restaurant pizza, not microwaved or reheated pizza.

Fast-casual pizzerias, particularly those with a quick-heating, conveyor-belt customized format, are beginning to dominate the D.C. region. It's a new take on grab-and-go, pizza by the slice options. Consider it pizza, Chipotle-style.

At most spinoffs, customers rattle off their preferred dough, sauce, cheese and toppings and then wait a matter of minutes for a piping hot pie straight out of the oven. Chipotle itself is now even in the pizza game, with a burgeoning concept called Pizzeria Locale, open in Colorado presently. A spokesman for the company told Eater there are no planned D.C. locations for Pizzeria Locale as of yet.

This map gives the current and near-future landscape of fast-casual, quick-cooking pizza options. And there are more to come. Dallas-based Pie Five has signed a deal for franchising in Washington, though no locations have yet been revealed.


—Adele Chapin contributed to this report

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

The &Pizza brand had humble beginnings on H Street and now seems to be spreading as fast as, well, it takes for its chefs to prepare a pie. The handful of locations now open span N.E. and N.W. Washington neighborhoods not to mention Bethesda, with locales opening soon in Germantown, Gaithersburg and in the heart of K Street. No matter the spot, diners have an option of a signature pizza, a basic one they can create with just a sauce and cheese or a deluxe pie to create using unlimited toppings. Ingredients include falafel crumbles, salami, shrimp and a local mushroom blend.

Another branch of the ampersand-friendly chain.

Another branch of the ampersand-friendly chain.

Another branch of the ampersand-friendly chain.

Another branch of the ampersand-friendly chain.

Location coming soon.

Location coming soon.

Location coming soon.

Custom Fuel Pizza and Salads

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Fuel Pizza has been around D.C. for a decade plus as a proprietor of wings and pizza -- only of the slice variety. The company entered the made-to-order pizza business a year ago in order to get in on the fast casual bandwagon too. To date, the assembly-line concept expansion is in play at three area locations: along Pennsylvania Avenue, near Howard University and, the most recent addition, in Dupont. Custom Fuel, like many of its peers, has both signature pies and those completely open to the whim of the diner. Toppings include chicken sausage, cipollini onions and scallions.

Custom Fuel Pizza and Salads

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Another location of the Fuel spinoff.

Custom Fuel Pizza and Salads

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Another location of the Fuel spinoff.

Pizzanese

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Out in the suburbs, Pizzanese sells its pizza as a global uniter. Pizzanese also sells ingredients that have a global spin. Diners go through a four-step pie assembly process: Sauce it, cheese it, top it, season it. As they do, they can choose from three kinds of crust, six kinds of sauce (BBQ, pesto, tandoori, spicy chipotle, classic red and classic white), seven kinds of cheese, eight kinds of meat and 15 vegetables. One unique aspect is the internationally-themed “seasonings” that can go on top of the pie, post-cooking, including shredded nori, kimchi and japanese mayo.

Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint

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The newest addition to the map just opened last weekend and bills its fast casual pizza-making business as a next-generation pizza shop. Overall, pizza eaters can pick between 48 different toppings. Some of the funkier ones are jerk chicken, mandarin oranges, grilled tofu, and jalapenos that are pickled. Along with create-your-own pizzas, there’s also create-your-own-salads.

Bergami's

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The man behind this pizza shop in northeast D.C., Mark Bergami, hails from New Haven, Conn. and is out to make pizza-scarfing healthy. Bergami’s opened in late spring and much of the talk since then has been about the no-carb cauliflower crust available as a nontraditional base. There’s also a traditional, whole wheat and gluten free crust for the less daring. Simple pizzas consisting of merely a cheese and sauce go for just $6.50, while the topped pizzas are $2 more. Along with standard meat and vegetarian toppings, pies can include “finishes” like a balsamic glaze.

SpinFire Pizza

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Come fall, Rosslyn will get a fast casual pizzeria to call its own too. Spin Fire will, appropriately, sit next to fast casual Mediterranean joint Roti. The pizza is cooked in 90 seconds in the revolving surface oven, the establishment says on its website. The full menu isn’t yet available but homemade gelato, wine and beer will be accompaniments to the culinary star item. A Spin Fire location in Ashburn is also expected soon.

D.C. Pizza

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So it’s not the most original name. D.C. Pizza doesn’t care. The personal pies are cooked up in two minutes, and that’s the priority at this centrally-located, no-frills eatery. D.C. Pizza proprietors refer to their process in three steps: build a pizza, bake it and then add cold toppings to finish it up. For instance, there’s gorgonzola or rosemary olive oil to drizzle and spread on top of the cooked pie. As far as toppings that go on prior to the oven, choices skewing slightly out of the norm are porcini mushrooms and stoplight peppers (a combination of yellow, green and red).

Blaze Pizza

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One’s open locally and three more are on the way, for this Los Angeles-based fast casual pizza chain. The first in the area resides in Bethesda at Montgomery Mall. There, the lion’s share of toppings are classic, and meats, a definite focal point of the menu, include crumbled meatballs, smoked ham and grilled chicken. The magic time for a pizza to get to “perfectly crisp perfection” is 180 seconds, the chain’s website touts. Additional locations for Blaze are set to open later this year in College Park adjacent to the University of Maryland campus and in Laurel at the Town Center Shopping Center.

Pizza Studio

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Washington Business Journal just reported this place, which incorporates work from local artists into its decor, is headed to Washington and hopes to open in November.

&pizza

The &Pizza brand had humble beginnings on H Street and now seems to be spreading as fast as, well, it takes for its chefs to prepare a pie. The handful of locations now open span N.E. and N.W. Washington neighborhoods not to mention Bethesda, with locales opening soon in Germantown, Gaithersburg and in the heart of K Street. No matter the spot, diners have an option of a signature pizza, a basic one they can create with just a sauce and cheese or a deluxe pie to create using unlimited toppings. Ingredients include falafel crumbles, salami, shrimp and a local mushroom blend.

&pizza

Another branch of the ampersand-friendly chain.

&pizza

Another branch of the ampersand-friendly chain.

&pizza

Another branch of the ampersand-friendly chain.

&pizza

Another branch of the ampersand-friendly chain.

&pizza

Location coming soon.

&Pizza

Location coming soon.

&Pizza

Location coming soon.

Custom Fuel Pizza and Salads

Fuel Pizza has been around D.C. for a decade plus as a proprietor of wings and pizza -- only of the slice variety. The company entered the made-to-order pizza business a year ago in order to get in on the fast casual bandwagon too. To date, the assembly-line concept expansion is in play at three area locations: along Pennsylvania Avenue, near Howard University and, the most recent addition, in Dupont. Custom Fuel, like many of its peers, has both signature pies and those completely open to the whim of the diner. Toppings include chicken sausage, cipollini onions and scallions.

Custom Fuel Pizza and Salads

Another location of the Fuel spinoff.

Custom Fuel Pizza and Salads

Another location of the Fuel spinoff.

Pizzanese

Out in the suburbs, Pizzanese sells its pizza as a global uniter. Pizzanese also sells ingredients that have a global spin. Diners go through a four-step pie assembly process: Sauce it, cheese it, top it, season it. As they do, they can choose from three kinds of crust, six kinds of sauce (BBQ, pesto, tandoori, spicy chipotle, classic red and classic white), seven kinds of cheese, eight kinds of meat and 15 vegetables. One unique aspect is the internationally-themed “seasonings” that can go on top of the pie, post-cooking, including shredded nori, kimchi and japanese mayo.

Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint

The newest addition to the map just opened last weekend and bills its fast casual pizza-making business as a next-generation pizza shop. Overall, pizza eaters can pick between 48 different toppings. Some of the funkier ones are jerk chicken, mandarin oranges, grilled tofu, and jalapenos that are pickled. Along with create-your-own pizzas, there’s also create-your-own-salads.

Bergami's

The man behind this pizza shop in northeast D.C., Mark Bergami, hails from New Haven, Conn. and is out to make pizza-scarfing healthy. Bergami’s opened in late spring and much of the talk since then has been about the no-carb cauliflower crust available as a nontraditional base. There’s also a traditional, whole wheat and gluten free crust for the less daring. Simple pizzas consisting of merely a cheese and sauce go for just $6.50, while the topped pizzas are $2 more. Along with standard meat and vegetarian toppings, pies can include “finishes” like a balsamic glaze.

SpinFire Pizza