D.C.-based fast-casual chain &pizza is plotting a major NYC expansion — the restaurant that sends customized pies through a conveyor belt plans to open four to six new locations here in 2018.
The company, which first entered New York earlier this year, is targeting Chelsea, Nolita, and Midtown West for new locations, according to a spokeswoman. It’s an expansion partly fueled by a new investment from firm RSE Ventures, the same people who bought a stake in Momofuku last year.
The restaurant originally opened in D.C. in 2012 and now has 23 locations up and down the East Coast, including New York, Baltimore, and Philly. Here, &pizza already has locations in Nomad and near Astor Place.
Diners can choose to custom-make their pizzas or pick options like the “moonstruck,” a pie with mushroom truffle, garlic ricotta, mozzarella, mushroom, grilled onion, goat cheese, and fig balsamic. The individual pies are long and skinny, with a semi-thin crust, and they come out in under two minutes. Each outpost has the capacity to churn out up to 320 pies per hour, making it a popular lunch option.
The food itself has gained traction as a worthy fast-casual competitor — a feat in the increasingly crowded market of fast-casual pizza. New York in particular has a busy pizza market, with slice joints, upscale pizzerias, and other fast-casual places like Martina and Oath.
But co-founder Michael Lastoria has said that despite the competition, he still thinks &pizza will do well — partly due to the company’s mantra of “people-first.” Lastoria is an advocate for the $15 minimum wage movement and aims to source locally.
“In New York, you were always able to get a customizable salad in a bodega, but Sweetgreen did really well,” he told Eater when he first opened here. “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.”
Stay tuned for more.