New Yorkers, prepare yourselves for an even more satisfying—and fast—pizza experience: The D.C. chain &pizza is will be arriving in the city this summer.
&pizza is already a hit in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, but according to Eater, the chain’s founder, Michael Lastoria, invented the idea for a “fast casual” restaurant that delivers slices to hungry customers on a conveyor belt, in New York City. After landing a $25 million investment back in 2016, he decided to expand to the place where the idea was born.
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Here’s how it works: Customers walk up to a counter and either build their own pie or choose from the menu options, and a couple minutes later, right before their eyes, a ready-to-eat pizza slides out in front them on a conveyor belt. A full pie costs about $11, 50 cents more than in D.C. Though it’s a new take on the traditional pizza New Yorkers are used to, there might be some benefits to converting to the conveyor belt pizza gospel.
Lastoria says that the New York City branches of &pizza have some very special collaborations on the horizon that will be similar to those already happening at the D.C. locations, where they’ve partnered with Milk Bar to create an original soda. To sweeten the deal, an accompanying cookie was released on Tuesday, April 18.
There are a few other &pizza differences as well: Their pies are long and skinny, the dough is organic, fresh produce is locally sourced, and none of their products contain high fructose corn syrup. In the D.C. locations, diners can even snag glass of wine with their meal, an option that hopefully migrates to New York. It's a decidedly hipster brand: They opened their location in the Chinatown neighborhood of D.C. with free tattoos.
As awesome as &pizza sounds, New York City might be a hard market to crack: Most people can pick up a slice in a few seconds for a just a couple dollars at spots on almost every corner. Not to mention there are some firmly entrenched pizza opinions all over the city. Lastoria isn’t that concerned though.
“In New York, you were always able to get a customizable salad in a bodega, but Sweetgreen did really well,” he said. “There are a lot of people in New York, and they’re always looking for something different and reflective of a real point of view that a brand or business has.”
The new location, which will be &pizza’s 22nd, will open at 15 W. 28th Street in June.