Extreme Pizza: 3444 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201; (571) 777-1088; http://extremepizza.com.
This is our first pizza review, and our second review of a restaurant at Virginia Square (following the newish Badaro). It will be hasty, because we just noticed Extreme Pizza in the neighborhood yesterday, and it opens “for real” tomorrow (5/18/18). It had a soft open last Friday (5/11) and, as you can see, they are finishing up some light construction. But they are slinging pies.
They offer regular, wheat and gluten-free crusts. I don’t see any thin-crust option on the menu, but request that and am happily obliged. The pie is ready in about ten minutes, during which I speak with the manager, John.
Extreme Pizza has about 40 locations nationwide, the franchise having launched in 1980. It’s mostly a West Coast phenomenon, but this is the second location in the Beltway area. The other one is at Pentagon City, and you can also find them in Richmond and Charlottesville. John expects to get the ABC license soon; I think they’ll offer beer and wine (rather than fuss around with Sidecars and whatnot).
There’s seating at a small bar area near the entrance, total seating for about 50, and three TVs. That means this joint will need to get hopping (and possibly loud) at lunchtime, because there’s not a whole lot of foot traffic in this area despite it being between two Metro stops (Virginia Square and Clarendon). That said, there is two-hour paid parking up and down the streets around here, and also some free places that may not have the time or inclination to have you towed (stress “may”).
Now for the pizza. It comes loaded with toppings — mushrooms, green peppers and red onions. These are our staple toppings, though a couple dozen others are also available. (See the menu.) Oh, and cheese. Lottsa cheese. The pie is so loaded with it that I experience a twinge of structural-engineering anxiety, especially having requested thin crust. But no worries, at least for the medium 12-incher. (They also offer 8-inch individual or “Indee” and 14-, 16- and 18-inch sizes. With so many toppings, a “HUGE” 18-inch thin-crust might droop, but we think it’s worth the risk.)
The pizza is good — fresh ingredients and the crust baked just right, crispy at the edges. The red pepper flakes are genuinely spicy — as you would expect at a place just opening — unlike the stale flakes we sometimes encounter, where you have to shake the shaker til your arm goes numb, then falls off, splattering sauce everywhere.
We might could go a little lighter on the cheese, though that will sound like sacrilege to some. Just our preference in terms of the cheese-to-everything else ratio. We can always adjust that manually, at least in the downward direction. If it’s a trade-off, we’d prefer more sauce in the exchange. There’s oregano, shredded Parmesan and the as-mentioned pepper flakes available — the latter being the salt and pepper of the pizzaverse, and available here to-go. We hear the calzones are good too, and there are also subs, wings — the typical sports-bar fare.
We look forward to our next visit — maybe pizza for a late breakfast (it’s open everyday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.). In case you’re wondering, the “Extreme” in the name comes from the franchise’s affinity for extreme sports, which also explains the so-called “X Factors” menu selections (and much of the content on the TVs).
So that’s our quick review: Friendly staff, welcome to the neighborhood, and good luck at the new location!
Did we mention the cheese?