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Pizza in Silver Spring

I've recently moved to Silver Spring from Arlington, and while I'm quite happy about some of the changes --and similarities -- in culinary availability (walking distance to the General Store, yay! I can still get my Pollo Rico fix, and now with yummy plantains, yay!), there is one critical food item that remains fully out of my grasp: pizza.

And yes, I am a food snob. I lived in NYC for a while and was totally spoiled. My fiance grew up in Queens and is similarly spoiled. I'm not looking for the Best Pizza in the Western Hemisphere, I just want to be able to pick up a pizza every now and then and not feel like I'm wasting calories on it.

In the past I would have agreed with the notion that there is no bad pizza, that even the worst pizza is still OK. But I have not yet eaten a pizza in the greater Silver Spring area that I would volunteer to eat again. And with the rich diversity of food options in the area I cannot, I WILL NOT believe that there is no good pizza.

Here's what we've tried:
Armands (thin with pepperoni): Don't care for Chicago style, sauce on the thin crust is unpleasantly acrid.
ZPizza (pepperoni & mushroom): Bland and wan, sauce too sweet.
Dominic's (meatball and cheese): Absolutely the most disgusting thing I've ever had -- I threw it out and ordered Chinese food, it was so bad. Tombstone would be better.
Manny & Olga's (pepperoni): Not great, not awful, but Domino's would be better (ugh).
Mamma Lucia's: (See Manny & Olga's).
Some Pub thing up by Kensington: Yucky.

At this point I'm willing to drive 15-20 minutes or so... I've seen a NutHouse Pizza, is that any good?

Any and all suggestions would be welcome... I prefer NY-style pizza but I'm willing to try just about anything at this point. I refuse to have Domino's or Pizza Hut be the best option.

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  1. Pizza Stop on Bel Pre Road in Plaza Del Mercado is very acceptable to this ex-Brooklynite.

    2 Replies
    1. re: skipper

      It really is pretty good pizza. Whenever we take one of the dogs to the vet--Norbeck Animal Clinic--we stop and pick up a pie on the way home. It's much better than anything else Silver Spring has to offer and the prices are good.

    2. IF you're willing to go to Rockville, Giuseppi's and the Federal Plaza Mamma Lucia's are quite respectable NY-style pies.

      The ML in Rockville has little in common with the SS location.

      NutHouse is kosher, and really not good. Two unconnected, but true, statements.

      1. We also live within walking distance of the General Store--I'm addicted to the chicken and the lemon chess pie, but that's for another thread....

        Mia's in Bethesda has excellent pizza and it's only a 10-15 minute drive from our house. When we want something really good and don't want to fight the drive into DC and the parking situation around Two Amy's, that's our choice.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JeffCraddock

          I really like Mia's as an "upscale" pie, but it's too expensive to be a regular neighborhood pizza joint, and it's really nothing like NY style.

          1. re: JeffCraddock

            If you are willing to go to Bethesda, then Corner Slice is decent NY-style (not particularly special, but respectable). (Not sure what Whitchef means by saying it's never open-- I've never had a problem with that.)

          2. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. I will add these both to the list. Chowhounds rock.

            1. I saw that a "Flippin' Pizza" is going to be opening soon in SS. I just had lunch at the Falls Church branch, and while it wouldn't survive 5 minutes in Brooklyn, it's a reasonable facsimile.

              2 Replies
              1. re: DanielK

                Where exactly? There wasn't any info on the website.

                1. re: shellymck

                  I remember reading a reference to it, I think on this board, so maybe do a search here or on teh Google.

              2. I was fooled by an empty storefront (at first glance it looked active) near the New York Bakery (WHY don't they sell to the public??), proclaiming Alberto's brick oven pizza. How long gone is that? Was it any good?

                1 Reply
                1. re: divinemsk

                  It never opened. Sign went up 2 summers ago, and then down last summer.

                2. There is a new brick oven pizza place called Roscoe's in old town Takoma Park.

                  There's also another pizza place aside from Flippin' Pizza on the way in Silver Spring, I heard from a local blogger who keeps track of such things. But after that Alberto's sign was up for two years and then never came to pass, I'll believe both of them when I see them. But for what it's worth here's the post on both places:

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: wombat

                    Early reports on Roscoe's have been atrocious, so I'd wait for things to settle in before trying.

                    1. re: DanielK

                      I had a pizza at Roscoe's a few days after they opened--I was so hoping to like it, as Takoma Park needs good restaurants. It wasn't good at all....so I've decided to give them some time to get things together. All is not lost--if people are honest in their initial assessments, maybe they will make some adjustments--especially with the crust--and produce a good pie. This is a place I really want to like.

                      1. re: JeffCraddock

                        You're not the first to give a similar review, Jeff, which is why I said "wait and see" rather than "avoid at all costs"!

                  2. Believe it. There is no good pizza.

                    I've lived in Bethesda and Wheaton for the past ten years and have been on a quest to find this mythical "good pizza" that for sure has to exist somewhere in the DC area but have had almost no success. The pizza is so terrible I had to start building a brick oven in our backyard. On the plus side I've learned to make some pretty great pizza from scratch.

                    I'm originally from northern NJ and have a passion for pizza. The only pie around here that even comes close to a tasty pie is Mamma Lucia's so if you didn't like that then you're stuck. Corner Slice in Bethesda is almost ok but they're never open. The pies that DC people (who clearly don't know pizza) praise are somewhat tasty but they're not pizza as it should be (Pizzeria Paradiso, Mia's).

                    I'll say it since apparently no one else will, Two Amy's and Comet Ping Pong stink. Maybe they could make a good pie if Peter Pastan and Carole Greenwood were manning their kitchens at all times but they're not and whoever handled the pizzaiolo duties the times I've been there must not have ever made a pizza before.

                    I can't imagine how awful it must be to move from Brooklyn to the Italian food desert that is the DC food scene.

                    Nuthouse pizza is like cheese and ketchup smeared on cardboard. For more disappointment try Ledo's, Corner Pub, Kensington Pizza, Stained Glass Pub, 7-11, and Stouffer's Frozen French Bread Pizza. Unfortunately they're about as good as you can get around here.

                    Patsy Lancieri would be spinning in his grave if he knew what passed for "good" pizza around here.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: WhitChef

                      Every margherita pizza I've ever had at 2 Amys has been stellar. The last time I was there, mid-summer, was the best of the lot.

                      Ed Levine, a NYer who runs the preeminent pizza website in the US had this to say:


                      Sorry you didn't like it, but the strength of your opinion ("stinks") leaves me to believe that more is at play here than the reality of the pizza.

                      My top three pizzas in the DC area:
                      2 Amys margherita
                      Vace (order a whole pie, preferably with onions, olives, and red peppers)
                      Pizzeria Paradiso, the Atomica

                    2. I have to agree that there is no great pizza in this area. Mamma Luccia on the Pike (not the other outlets) is probably as close as you get. I too think that 2 Amy's and Pizzaria Paradison are way over-reated and inconsistent. Most of the other "boutique"/wood-fired pizza places Ive tried in DC basically stink. The Italian Store in Arlington is pretty good as is Piola's in Rosslyn (but neither are close).

                      1. If you are willing to make your trip a little more than 20 minutes, there is a very nice pizza joint in Kings Contrivance shopping center in Columbia/Guilford .
                        Tratorria de Enrique, or something to that effect. It has been discussed on this board many times.
                        I seldom eat pizza anymore for health reasons, but on the rare occasion I do, I load up a "New york style"Tratorria pie with Mushrooms, Green Pepper, & Onions. It is absolutely delish!

                        29 north to 32 east, first exit & go south into the shopping center with a Harris Teeter.

                        1. The Flippin' Pizza in Silver Spring opened recently and I was just there for the first time earlier tonight. The pizza (which is just about the only thing they make) was very good, probably not quite as good as pizza I've had at a few places in Manhattan but at least it's in the same ballpark. The Silver Spring Flippin' Pizza currently has a deal where you can get 2 slices (any type) and a soda for $5, a really good deal for DC.

                          The only other place in the DC area that I've tried that I thought was good was Mama Lucia's in Silver Spring, but you already said you didn't like Mama Lucia's. Like Flippin' Pizza, I don't think Mama Lucia's is as good as the New York-style pizzas that are available in New York, but at least it's in the same ballpark.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: CHIP1972

                            I'll second your recommendation for Flippin' Pizza. We got an 18" mushroom pie at the SS location for just over $11 with a coupon we clipped from a magazine. It was very good, to these taste buds just a cut above Mama Lucia's. We've also had two pies from the Bethesda location and they were just as good.

                            1. re: CHIP1972

                              Thanks! We're looking forward to trying the new Flippin' Pizza.

                              We have tried a few more places since last I wrote...Manny's Subs & Pizza (not Manny & Olgas) in Kensington, Pizza Tempo (also Kensington, in some gas station?), both meh.

                              Nothing better enough than Domino's (which I don't really consider pizza!) to warrant leaving the house for.

                            2. A pub by Kensington? Don't think there are any places that fit that bill. Savannah's is probably the closest, but I don't know if they even have pizza. More of a bar and grill.

                              Any idea where or what it was?

                              Most of the locals here either love or hate Continental's rectangles.Other than that, there's Manny's (without Olga) and Kensington Pizza and Kabob (neither are very good).

                              1. Flippin' Pizza in Silver Spring, MD pulled me in with their promise of a "New York pizza". A New Yorker for 20+ years I am constantly on the lookout for a little slice of home. Flippin' Pizza in Silver Spring was NOT the place to find it! This is hands down the WORST pizza I have ever had in my life. I ordered one "whitestone pizza" (pizza without tomato sauce in NY) which though it folded like NY pizza, tasted like the cardboard box it usually comes in, with a bottle of garlic salt on top, horrible! My "four cheese pizza" was even worse, I think one of the cheeses was bad, or at least I hope it was because that would at least justify the taste, and there were so many garlic cloves hidden under the cheese, that when I bit into a slice the sheer flavor burned my tongue. After swishing a glass of milk around my mouth to numb the taste, I tossed the remaining pizza in the garbage, fed my kids peanut butter sandwiches instead, and sat down at the computer to warn the rest of the world... save yourself! Oh wait, there was ONE positive. They offered a significant military discount that day when I showed in uniform. While I do very much appreciate the support local businesses give to the military in our area. For Flippin' Pizza, I have to say thank you, but for how awful this food was, I wouldn't eat it again if it was free.

                                1. Ledo's pizza (many locations including Seabrook Md and Adelphi MD) is hands down the best! great toppings, great dough and worth the price. Also, Three Brothers locations. I perfer to go to the orginal one on Kenilworth Ave MD or the one in Greenbelt in the beltway plaza mall. Both have one of the original "Brothers" working in it.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: MC in DC


                                    Welcome to the board, and thanks for your input. This is perhaps one of the most argued and discussed recurring topics. If you'd like a little "light" reading, search only the board for Ledo's!

                                    It is interesting to hear that one of the non-original locations may be similar to the original. Can you fill in more? Menu offerings the same? General quality and approach the same?

                                    1. re: Dennis S

                                      The two locations for Three Brothers that I mentioned were opened by original 3 brothers themselves, Mario, Michael and Peter Repole, originally from Brooklyn (I would imagine they would know about a good pizza). Thus providing the customer with a high quality product that they have envision from the start. With them being there, the quality of food and service is present still today.The greenbelt location was the original and Kenilworth Ave followed suit. The other locations are franchises, nothing like the originals.
                                      I mentioined Ledo's because this is a pizza board and no where on the original board post did it say "Please don't mention Ledo's Pizza".....althought it did say no pizza hut or Dominos. Thank you for your "constructive criticism" to my post which is very reminiscing to 9th grade English teacher reviewing a rough draft book report.....

                                      1. re: MC in DC

                                        Dennis S made no criticism of your post; You clearly misunderstood.

                                        What do you object to?

                                        1. re: MC in DC

                                          Well, it's actually a food board for DC, but Ledo's (and pizza in general) is easily one of the three most debated topics over many years.

                                          You 1) brought old info in general and 2) brought new info to the debate about the owners of other locations - which COMPLETELY baffles me that this new info wasn't known by others. If true - it's great, and that is what this board is for. I'm just trying to follow up while also reducing the flame posts always brought on by pizza posts - especially those including Ledos.

                                          Okay - so, Does Anyone else have verification? MC - can you provide any other info to support the claim?

                                          MC - if you look at the search I provide below there is wide support for the original location, but general lack of interest in any others (or disdain), and a definite agreement that all of the franchises differ in quality (which I know first hand btwn Col. Pike in Arlington and Hunters Woods in Reston). Please give us more info to 1) guide us and 2) ensure that you're not financially interested in those outposts you mention.

                                          http://bit.ly/6SobEf - the overall results set to search through.

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/599657 - one hot recent post

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/175482 - another

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/370459 - another

                                          You can search through the other 148 results. More info please.

                                          1. re: MC in DC

                                            Dennis S. meant no harm. I love Ledo's, but it may the single most polarizing topic on the DC/Balto boards.

                                      2. http://www.vaceitaliandeli.com/
                                        Vace in Bethesda (and in DC) is an amazing find. Hands down best. It's totally authentic, affordable and beats about anything out there in the area. They also have frozen pasta to go and fresh pasta to go. They have italian sandwiches also. The frozen spinach lasagna when cooked in the oven is top notch. The tri-fecta is going in and picking up a hot pie, an italian sub, and a frozen spinach lasagna. Grand slam would be adding one of their home made sauces (a little pricey) and a bag of fresh pasta go to. Totally worth it. It's a little side street off of Wisconsin. Look up the directions carefully, I missed it the first 2 times driving by.

                                        Pizza Tempo is actually in a gas station. I found it on this board and didn't believe it myself. It's not new york style but it's fresh and unique and worth the trip. Nowhere near Vace above but good pizza. the kensington one closed down. the chicken marsala pizza is great. the flat spicey pizza doesn't measure up and isn't worth the risk.....