GROWING UP IN DANBURY, Connecticut, in the
1960s, Friday night dinner almost always meant
takeout pizza from ;e Pizza Shop, which was next
to the railroad tracks and shook mightily whenever a
train rumbled by.
;e Pizza Shop was no-frills and, truth be told,
kind of grungy. But more than 50 years later I can
recall the wonderful smell of the place and the taste
and consistency of the “plain” pizza we ordered.
Apparently I’m not alone in my nostalgia: A recent
post on ;e Pizza Shop in a Facebook group called
“You know you lived/live in Danbury, Ct if...” elicited
more than 200 comments.
Danbury is just a 90-minute drive from Manhattan,
and is very much subject to the city’s gravitational pull.
When I lived in Danbury, people watched New York
television news shows and rooted for New York sports
teams. Every morning, hundreds of people would take
the two-hour train ride to their jobs in the city.
Not surprisingly, the pizza at ;e Pizza Shop—
and virtually every other pizza joint in Danbury—was
New York style, with a thin crust and a light layer of
tomato sauce. We weren’t aware at the time that the
pizza was New York style or, in fact, that there were
di;erent styles. Pizza was pizza.
My pizza awakening occurred while I was a student
at the University of Connecticut, when friends from
southern Connecticut introduced me to New Haven-style pizza, which is drier and thinner than New York
style, but not all that di;erent. (For reasons I will
never understand, New Haven-style enthusiasts think
it’s a good idea to put clams on pizza. It’s not.)
When I moved to D.C. after graduating from college,
I ate Chicago-style deep-dish pizza for the first time
and then discovered the wonders of Neapolitan pizza
when Mia’s Pizzas opened in Bethesda in 2006.
Today, there are dozens of styles of pizza (mostly
regional) and an incredible array of toppings that pizza
22 MAY/JUNE 2019 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
to our readers
Editor & Publisher
SLICE OF LIFE
lovers can choose from. And pizza is more popular than
ever. On average, Americans eat 23 pounds of pizza a
year, according to the website thepizzajoint.com.
Once a pizza backwater, the Bethesda area is now
home to many excellent pizza restaurants. In this,
our 15th annual Food and Drink issue, we asked our
restaurant critic, David Hagedorn, to write about the
10 best pizza restaurants in Montgomery County and
Upper Northwest D.C. Hagedorn and our editorial
team came up with a list of candidates, and then (with
di;culty) narrowed the list to the top 10.
Hagedorn’s choices are dominated by Neapolitan
and Neapolitan-influenced places, including Inferno
Pizzeria Napoletana in Darnestown, which many
people, including Hagedorn, believe is one of the
best overall restaurants in the area. Our picks also
include VÜK in Bethesda, a New York-style pizzeria
where slices are served on white paper plates (as New
York-style pizza should be); Pete’s New Haven Style
Apizza in Upper Northwest; and Comet Ping Pong in
Upper Northwest, which, according to owner James
Alefantis, serves “American East Coast style,” whatever
that may be.
Our story on the best pizza restaurants begins on
page 128 and is followed by features on local eateries
that have stood the test of time and Maryland wineries
that are worth visiting.
I hope you enjoy our Food and Drink stories and
the rest of the issue.
;anks for reading Bethesda Magazine.