Pizza is cool, &pizza is cooler. The DC-based chain of pizza shops is fairly new to the fast-casual scene, but it's making some major waves. With a focus on brand and local culture, &pizza is a major player in the DMV area. With plans to expand across the East Coast in the works, it's set to make a splash in even more cities in 2017.

Oh, and did I mention that the pizza is dope? Because it's dope, and 100% customizable. Want to know what makes &pizza the coolest shop to hit up for a slice? Here are a few:

The Pizza


It might seem obvious, but bear with me: this pizza is legit. It's shaped like an oval, has dozens of choices for toppings and sauce, and it's ready in minutes. Bonus: with a pie-per-person model, there's no awkward no-you-have-the-last-piece game of chicken with your dining partner

&pizza is all about creating an elevated pizza experience, so a pizza topped with mushroom truffle sauce, grilled onion, Italian sausage, and fig balsamic is nothing out of the ordinary here. Choose your toppings (as many as you want, without extra charges—seriously) and watch it go through the brand's unique conveyor-belt oven for the ultimate DIY pie in just minutes.

Spoon Tip: &pizza's housemade sodas are just as customizable as the pies. Mix and match for a combo as unique as your pizza. Even better? At their Chinatown shop, you can get your buzz on with their soda-based cocktails.

The Shops

&pizza is the neighbor you've always wanted (i.e. the one that cranks out pizzas until 4 am on a Saturday night). It's also the neighbor who fits right into the 'hood, who knows the area like no other, and who has some pretty sick decor that perfectly fits the community vibe (JFK pop-art installation, I'm looking at you). 

Local artists are behind each shop's design. From street art-inspired murals to curated art installations, each work is completed by a local to give the shop its unique feel.

The Culture

Want a tattoo of the signature &pizza ampersand? Get in line. Besides the 60+ employees and fans already inked with the brand's logo, there's a waiting list for fans who want to get inked (paid for by &pizza, and redeemable for a year of free pizza post-tattoo).

It takes a lot to get your employees to love the brand enough to have it permanently inked, but &pizza has what it takes. A self-proclaimed "anti-establishment establishment," &pizza has crossed the line from pizza shop to lifestyle brand. How many pizza places host weddings in shops or secret concerts in their corporate office?

If you're the kind of person who wants a side of social justice with your slice, this is the brand for you. With a significant "&charity" component and other community involvement (like the Fight for 15 movement in DC), &pizza makes it a point to be a force for change in society.

I could go on about all the reasons to hit up your closest &pizza shop (or to get hyped if one is coming to you soon). From pizza to purpose, the brand is completely different from any other place serving up slices, and its cool factor is unparalleled at any other fast-casual or pizza place like it.