Maggie's New York Style Pizzeria

4150 Chain Bridge Rd., Fairfax


Hours: Daily 11 a.m to 2 a.m. All-you-can-eat pizza bar, daily 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Prices: Appetizers, soups and salads $1.95 to $6.95. Entrees, sandwiches and pizza $4.25 to $13.95.

Cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express.

Nonsmoking section available.

Let's get right to it: The pizza at Maggie's is a good middle-of-the-road variety with a nicely chewy, yeasty crust coated with an unobtrusive, made-from-scratch tomato sauce. Although there are other Italian dishes on the menu -- some of them pretty good -- it appears that on any given night, half or more of the diners are there for the pizza.

This eight-month-old endeavor, a branch of the long-established Maggie's in Northwest Washington, is a short walk from the complex of Fairfax County government buildings and minutes by car from the George Mason University campus.

The atmosphere is upbeat and pleasantly noisy, the multilevel rooms spacious and attractive with soft, indirect lighting, brass trim and tomato red carpet in the upstairs dining area.

There are a number of "deals" here worth knowing about, such as the half-price pizza on Monday and Wednesday from 3 p.m. to closing, and the all-you-can-eat pizza bar ($3.99 with the purchase of a beverage) daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Most all the portions are generous, such as the calzone, a folded pizza pie the size of a first baseman's glove.

As for the pizza, most of the toppings -- pepperoni, sausage, anchovies -- are decent, if ordinary, but I'd prefer them to the broccoli-and-ham special I tried recently, which only proved to me that "broccoli pizza" is a culinary oxymoron.

For starters, I liked the New York chicken wings drenched in a fiery sauce, but the shrimp scampi arrived tasteless and undercooked. Also below par were the soups, a vegetable-deprived minestrone and a pedestrian clam chowder.

Up a couple of notches were two satisfying pasta dishes -- stuffed jumbo shells with a mild filling of ricotta and the fettuccine Alfredo with cooked spinach.

There's a flavorful, nicely grilled New York strip steak ($13.95), although the touted Italian seasoning was not in evidence.

A special one evening was a decent veal Marsala over a bed of fettuccine.

The hefty Maggie burger is a winner, but I'd stick with the potato chips rather than the rubbery fries.

The best dessert is the cappuccino cake, a concoction of chocolate cake, coffee ice cream and hot fudge.