Most often, bars without access to a proper kitchen only have bags of chips or pretzels to pad guest’s stomachs in between rounds. A local entrepreneur who’s obsessed with pizza is hoping to change that by growing his company, Eat Pizza.
“Pizza became a hobby for me four years ago,” says Andy Brown. The Eat Pizza founder owns a DJ company that keeps music pumping in bars across town and he’s worked in management positions at restaurants like Mission and Hawthorne DC. “I actually bought a commercial pizza oven and put it on top of a speaker in my Dupont studio apartment,” he says. “There was no ventilation and it definitely was super unsafe, but I held pizza nights every Monday.”
He toyed with opening a pizza restaurant right around the time All-Purpose Pizzeria flung open its doors but tacked at the last second. Union Kitchen CEO Cullen Gilchrist advised Brown to try his hand at frozen pizza instead. “I thought, there’s no way it’s going to be better than DiGiorno,” Brown recounts. “But I tried it and it turns out it is.”
Eat Pizza comes in three flavors for now: three cheese, wild mushroom, and Margherita. To achieve the best possible results Brown uses a small, custom oven the latest model of which is being made for him in Montreal. The ovens make it possible to achieve that crispy bottom crust without a pizza stone. So does high moisture dough.
“Then you tackle the cheese and the sauce,” Brown says. “Everyone over sauces and over cheeses to the point where it falls apart and you can’t pick it up creating a soggy experience.” He uses less of both to get the ratios right. California tomatoes make the sauce tangy and he sprinkles on Grande Cheese, which is only available to restaurant operators. “The best pizza places in New York use Grande Cheese.”
Eat Pizza is already available at area Whole Foods, Glens Garden Market, Yes! Organic Market, Union Kitchen Grocery, many of the 7-11 stores in the area, and beyond. But Brown says it’s really expensive to sell something for $6.99 in Whole Foods as a business owner, so he’s hoping to tap into more bars. Black Whiskey and the Atlas Tap House are already customers. “They don’t need a hood, just a toaster over,” Brown explains. “It is a great item to run late night with just a bartender and bar back.”
Brown is also considering an arrangement where he’ll equip a bar with one of his specialized ovens if they agree to make Eat Pizza their exclusive food partner. “I’ll buy the oven, but I’ll be the only food service you’ll be able to have.”