The pizza is hand-crafted with dough fermented for 72 hours, making it both chewy and crunchy, the savory tomato sauce is made with only natural ingredients, and fresh, rich cheese crowns each slice.
That is Andy’s Pizza and it’s that attention to detail that won it the title of world champion for best traditional cheese pizza at the 2021 International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas.
And now owner and Montgomery County native Andy Brown is bringing his namesake pizza home with a restaurant at 4600 East-West Highway in Bethesda opening this past weekend. The eatery will celebrate its grand opening on Friday and Saturday with deals and promotions.
“We’re just absolutely thrilled with the location we found,” Brown said in 2022 when details of the restaurant were first announced. “I’m really excited to be able to be a part of the community in a way that gets to work with the schools. We’re right across from [Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School] and it feels like we’ll be part of the neighborhood of Bethesda.”
Andy’s Pizza has six other locations in the DMV area. It first opened in 2018 in Tyson’s Galleria in McLean, Virginia.
Aída Pantoja, a manager, has worked with the chain since May 2022 and said that employees have been training for more than a month at other locations to be able to hit the ground running for the Bethesda opening.
The restaurant offers classic pizzas, like cheese and pepperoni, but they also have a variety of specialty pizzas, including the Miller Time, a planted-based, dairy-free pizza for those who are lactose intolerant or have dairy allergies, Pantoja said. But it is different from any other dairy-free pizza.
“We use a local [vegan] cheese from D.C.,” Pantoja said. “When it bakes, it gets kind of creamy. It’s good; it is nothing like a vegan cheese that gets chewy.”
Kirk Spare, the director of operations at Andy’s Pizza said that Vickey Ixcot has been the culinary manager for all Andy’s Pizza locations for four years. He said she has previously worked with renowned chefs like José Andrés, a Washington, D.C.-based, Spanish-American chef and restaurateur.
“She’s been here during training,” Spare said. “She’s here to support the opening, but she is also overseeing all the other locations as well.”
The eatery also offers a wide selection of wines and beers, including Landmade Beer, a family-run farm brewery in Montgomery County.
Pantoja said that Brown’s cousin, Emily Brown, helps provide all these drinks.
“They’ve been working together since day one at each location, and she worked for 10 years in New York managing bars,” Pantoja said.
On Wednesdays, if customers order a bottle of wine, they get two free slices, and on Thursdays, if they order a beer bucket, they can also get two complementary slices, Pantoja said.
Also, the restaurant features a bar offering an array of cocktails, including an aperol spritz, garden party, espresso martini, guava margarita, negroni, old fashioned and frosé.
A neon red “Andy’s Pizza” sign hangs above the bar and pizza artwork is scattered across the restaurant, reminiscent of a retro diner.
Spare said on Tuesday that the restaurant had a good turnout so far.
“We were very busy last night, and we think it’s only going to get better as the days and weeks go on,” Spare said.
He said that Andy’s Pizza is continuing to expand with other new locations in the area, including D.C., Fairfax and Arlington. He hopes that Andy’s Pizza continues to make a name for itself in the region.
“We’re trying to take over the Metro D.C. area,” Spare said. “We can’t wait to bring delicious pizza to the masses.”
Spare added that grand opening promotions will be shared on Instagram at @andyspizza and on the restaurant’s website.