A cult-favorite DC pizza chain with a brand-new NYC outpost is banking on stubborn, dollar slice-loving New Yorker’s receptiveness to an entirely new kind of concept -- and offering up free pizza as incentive.
&pizza -- which has 21 locations across DC, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and as of June 20, one just north of Madison Square Park -- is famous for its make-your-own, oblong-shaped pies, ordered in an assembly line style, à la Chipotle and Sweetgreen. After selecting your unlimited toppings from a spread of accoutrements behind the counter (we’re talking fig balsamic, mushroom truffle, and Italian sausage), your pizza creation makes its way to the oven on a conveyor belt, and 90 seconds later, emerges on the other side, ready to eat. Each pizza clocks in at around $11, and you also have the option of choosing from one of nine signature pies.
The process is incomparably efficient, but are New Yorkers really ready to sacrifice their re-heated, cash-only triangular slice for the sake of convenience and customization?
&pizza seems to think so. In fact, it’s so confident in its goods that it’s offering free pizza to the first 212 customers in line when the shop opens at 11am, in addition to a full year of free pizza to the first 22 people who agree to get a tattoo (also for free) of the &pizza ampersand logo. Yes, a real tattoo.
The chain's employees famously refer to themselves as “Tribe Members,” and a vast majority of them have ampersand tattoos to prove it. Early NYC customers willing to get the tattoo (and thus join the tribe?) will be transported immediately from the restaurant to First Class Tattoos on Canal Street via a town car.
It remains to be seen whether or not New Yorkers will ever shift their devotions from grease-coated corner pizza shops to conveyor-belt pies, but 22 spontaneous, pizza-loving locals will certainly be eating a lot of free &pizza soon.