Last month, I went on a pizza crawl around New York City that involved eight pies in five days. Almost half of those were tasted courtesy of a trek around Greenwich Village with Scott’s Pizza Tours. In other words, I take my pizza pretty seriously. And there are some very good ones in NoVA. But I’d yet to find a New York-style slice that could not only stand alongside the Joe’s Pizzas and John’s of Bleecker Streets of the world, but perhaps exceed them in sheer delectability.
Until I tried Andy’s Pizza, that is. “It can be done,” declared my other half, a pizza nerd himself, who immediately wanted to know what kind of tomatoes Andy’s uses and whether the pies are cooked in gas or electric ovens. (Answer: The tomatoes are grown and canned in Modesto, California, and though he now prefers cooking with electric, the stone ovens at the Tysons location use gas.)
According to founder Andy Brown, what makes his pies distinctive is that he is self-taught. “I think not working at a pizzeria was really beneficial in a sense that the learning kind of came without restrictions,” he says. “Whenever other pizzeria guys come in they say, ‘I’ve never seen anybody do it like that.'”
It was a cheese pizza that won Andy’s gold at the 2021 World Pizza Championships, but as soon as I saw the cupped pepperoni on a slice at the counter, I knew what I needed. Along with pepper, oregano, and grated Parmesan (not the powdered stuff), my pie was waiting for me at the counter in less than 15 minutes.
I admired the blistered crust with its bubbly cheese, but wasn’t prepared for my first bite. The slice was foldable. Check one. Grease dripped from the crispy pepperoni. Check two. An ideal amount of sauce (just salted, sweet-and-sour canned tomatoes, as the pizza gods intended) gushed forth as the Grande-brand cheese pulled like edible elastic. Check, check, check. When I got to the edge, I could truly taste the 72-hour-plus ferment, which leaves the dough with a flavor somewhere between sourdough and sharp cheddar. As Brown puts it, “Other pizzerias can buy our premium ingredients, they can buy the best mozzarella, but what they can’t do is our crust.” Checkmate.
As my dining companion said, this pie proves there is hope for NoVA pizza everywhere. Great pies are not isolated north of our borders. Even more auspiciously, Brown says he has hopes to expand to reach more corners of our region. Until then, I’ll be heading to Andy’s original home in Tysons Galleria whenever I’m craving a slice, which, of course, is right now.
2001 International Dr., McLean (Inside Urbanspace in Tysons Galleria)
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