Blame the pandemic. It started with baking sourdough during lockdown. Continued working from home meant looser waistlines. And the trauma of the epoch translated to letting our ids do most of the talking. The result was a rash of new restaurants serving what we really wanted: pizza, biscuits, and sandwiches. As we emerge from our COVID cocoons, it may not be everyday food anymore, but on the occasions that we need some carbs, these are the places to get them.
Cathead biscuits are so-named for their size—comparable to a feline cranium. The extra-large, extra-fluffy biscuits here are best served with locavore fillings. The signature Buford’s Biscuit is stacked with one of the best fried chicken thighs in the region, thanks to its sweet-tea brine and crisp jacket that withstands its ample juices. Collard greens and a grainy mustard velouté complete the outsize Southern picture. Want your carbs simpler? Get your biscuit with a flight of gravies or seasonal jams. 15 Loudoun St. SE, Leesburg
At this purveyor of chewy New England–style bar pizzas, the ultra-thin-crusts are the only thing on the menu. Diners need only choose their toppings and their accompanying beer. Whatever they select (we like pepperoni and “stingers,” spicy serrano chiles), it’s necessary to get the pie with a drizzle of hot oil to enliven the combination. Not into fiery food? The opposite exists in the form of balsamic-dressed salad pizza. 2800 Clarendon Blvd., Ste. 850, Arlington
Some wine with your pie? This wine shop and pizzeria is co-owned by Jarad Slipp, who has cooked at Michelin-starred restaurants. He’s also one of fewer than 270 master sommeliers in the world. You could say he knows a thing or two about cibo e vino. He also loves his rock gods, as evidenced by the monikers of his pizzas. We especially love the EvH (named for Eddie Van Halen), with its crisp pepperoni, pickled jalapeños, and chile-spiked honey on a blistered crust. 5 W. Washington St., Middleburg
A glass-like jacket of crunch surrounds the pillowy biscuits here. Southern hospitality comes in the form of sweet service and overstuffed dough. But to put some South in your mouth, get the PBC (loaded with fried chicken tenders, candied bacon, and pimiento cheese) or the fruity You’re a Peach, a take on peach cobbler with a towering mound of whipped cream on top. If the South you love the most is in Korea, try the Korean BBQ Biscuit, with its bulgogi-marinated flank steak. 102 E. Fairfax St., Falls Church
With dough that rises for 72 hours, the pizzas here are so light, it can seem as if it’s only their toppings that keep them moored to the table. The sweet pears and salty ham atop the Affumicata fit that bill, along with the smoky pecorino crema, smoked mozzarella, and smoked cherry tomatoes that give the slices their name. Not in the mood for pizza? Get a sandwich, made of equally buoyant bread and filled with everything from short ribs and potato croquettes to fried octopus. 2800 S. Randolph St., Ste. 130, Arlington