Washington has become a hotbed for fast-casual chains, with homegrown brands like Sweetgreen and Cava Grill finding huge success; both the salad shop and Mediterranean eatery received multi-million dollar investments last year, and expanded to the West Coast (among other locations).
Now the DC-based &pizza chain is revving up for growth along the East Coast after receiving $25 million in funding, led by Avalt. The Boston investment firm has backed major restaurant chains such as Outback Steakhouse and Dunkin’ Donuts.
The first &pizza location opened on H Street, Northeast in 2012, offering customizable, oblong-shaped pizzas with unlimited toppings. CEO Michael Lastoria has since expanded with 16 shops in the greater Washington area, with more on the way; other locations include Philadelphia and Baltimore.
The investment boost coincides with &pizza’s first NYC eatery, which will debut in the NoMad neighborhood next year. Like with other recent openings, the first Manhattan customers may be able to get a year’s-worth of free pizza in return for having the brand’s ampersand logo tattooed on a body part of their choice—an offer 25 guests have already received, according to the company.