As East Villagers prepare to rally against a Starbucks coming to the corner of St. Marks Place and Avenue A, yet another chain is on the way. Washington, DC-based &pizza is opening its second Manhattan pizzeria, on the heals of a $25 million cash investment footing its expansion into the NYC market.
The shop at 740 Broadway, off of Astor Place, will open in fall of 2017 with a promotion offering free ampersand tattoos for the first 23 customers, according to a press release. It’s opening just a couple of doors down from another DC-based, feel-good chain, Sweetgreen, which opened at 10 Astor last August.
If you aren’t familiar with &pizza, you might be a little worried. Yes, it hails from DC (it also has locations in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania), but it isn’t one of those “jumbo slice” joints that attract Adams Morgan frat bros. The brand bills itself as “counter-culture” and believes in “celebrating the individual” and employing “people who think differently… who live with passion.” Obviously, the location right off of Astor Place fits that aesthetic. In fact, the store’s wall art and programming will reflect “what makes downtown Manhattan so dynamic – from NYU to vintage shops to the giant cube,” according to the press release.
If nothing else, the place will give Pie By the Pound a run for its money. Like that longtime local, &pizza specializes in oblong pies, but it also lets customers craft their own from a choice of three organic doughs (including gluten-free) as well as various sauces and spreads; an array of vegetables that are locally sourced whenever possible; proteins that range from bacon to vegan beef; and “finishes” such as Mike’s Hot Honey and fig balsamic. Yelp reviews for the NoMad location, which opened last month, have been pretty positive.
No exact opening date has been set, so it remains to be seen whether &pizza beats Shake Shack to Astor Place.