Flippin' Pizza

$$$$ ($14 and under)

Editorial Review

What is it with New Yorkers and their pizza? I asked that of a friend who once drove from Reston to Trenton, N.J., in search of the perfect pie. He went on and on about the special flour, the local water, the crisp crust, the perfect size, the foldability. Good lord.

So when Flippin' Pizza (a chain that boasts of its New Yorkness, even though it started in California) opened a place in the South Lakes Shopping Center in Reston, I certainly knew whom I was going to drag along to try it out. (To be fair, the man who started Flippin' in California is from Queens. But still.)

Flippin', which is in the former Seafoodie retail space, is small, dark and narrow. A few tables, some seating along the wall, a couple of black-and-white photos; in other words, it's not about the decor. The menu is pretty simple, too: All pies are 18 inches and cost $18. You also can pay $2.25 for a cheese slice, $2.75 for a slice with a topping.

The slice option is popular with the weekday lunch crowd, but trust me: A reheated slice is not the best example of what Flippin' offers. For that, you and some hungry friends or family members need to order a whole pie. Piping hot, right out of the oven, it has what my friend swears is that elusive, ambrosial "New York taste."

His take, after scarfing down three slices of a red pie topped with pepperoni, sliced meatballs, mushrooms and garlic, is this: "This is good, cheap suburban New York pizza. It's not artisan pizza. It's not pizza from the old coal oven pizzerias like Patsy's that have been around for 50 years. It's the pizza you ate and loved from the strip shopping center near your house."

My take, as a non-New Yorker: damn good pizza. The crust is thin and crisp, the slices big and foldable. I'm usually not a huge pepperoni fan, but I like the small, nickel-size slices used here. Plus, the crust is made from scratch.

Flippin' offers some sides, including a chopped salad and garlic knots. Don't bother with either. The chopped salad had lettuce that looked to be in worse shape than the New York Jets' offense, and the sliced black olives were downright nasty. The knots were doughy, oily and heavy on the dried herbs. Skip 'em. Just get a pie. You'll leave happy.

A second Virginia location is set to open on Little River Turnpike in Annandale around the end of the month, and more locations, including perhaps in the District, are being planned.

-- Candy Sagon (Good to Go, March 11, 2009)