Pizza by the Slice – Worth the Hype?
By The Gastronomes
We took a little bit different tack for this month’s Dining Out column and visited the – apparently long awaited – recently opened pizza joints offering said slices here in Old Town Alexandria. The fact that there are now seven places – these locations don’t include the eateries that serve Italian cuisine in general – that specialize in pizza in Old Town (between City Dock and the King Street metro within a block off either side of King) amazes us but I guess the slice hype is real. We both follow the local Alexandria Dining, Curbside, Inside and More Facebook page and the number of posts about pizza by the slice amazes us both.
Now, don’t think that we haven’t had our fair share of pizza by the slice in our combined 144 years (we are old), because we have. Neither of us, however, ever considered it anything more than that and never dreamed it would be the rage in Old Town in 2022. Something else that never donned on either of us is the fact that pizza by the slice evidently has to be New York style. Who made up that rule? We pretty much like all styles as long as the ingredients are fresh and the sauce tasty. Definite upside is no need to commit to a whole pie and if you want to eat it on the run, you can.
Handover by the Slice and Andy’s Pizza both opened to the public within a day or two of each other in mid-October. When we visited on a Saturday afternoon and subsequently evening (Andy’s doesn’t open until 5 pm) there wasn’t a shortage of customers at either place. In the big picture, they are pretty much serving the same thing and in our experience there wasn’t any real significant difference in the quality of their slices and in fairness, we ordered similar toppings on our slices at both places. All four slices we had were very good and we will no doubt patronize both places in the future. The price points at both places were within a 25 cent or less margin of each other and we think are reasonable for the area.
What does set these two “slice joints” apart are things that aren’t relative to the quality of their product.
Location, Location, Location
Handover is located on King Street (under Kings Ransom) half way between the metro and the water which gives them lots of drive and walk by traffic. They also benefit from Five Guys being across the street as well as an Old Town Icon, Murphy’s. Also on their block are Signature Thai, Village Brauhaus, Lighthorse, Michaels on King and Pita House – all popular spots!
Andy’s is located in the former Megg Rolls space on North Fayette putting them further up King by and off of the beaten path by a half block. Appealing location to the residents that live in the area but not in the eyesight of King. I imagine that some followers of their other 6 locations in the metro area will migrate to this new locale. They did win the 2021 World Pizza Championship in 2021!
Handover sells beer and wine along with soft drinks. They also have a couple of 70’s era arcade games – including one of our favorites, Pac Man! At the time of our visit it didn’t appear that they were completely set up since there wasn’t any place to return you tray nor was there a place to put garbage. There was only one warming oven “under” the counter where you pick up your order and there is no way one guy is going to be able to keep up on a parade or other special event day.
At the time of this writing, Andy’s didn’t have any beer or wine available but they do have a very cool neon sign and the interior is much larger. I am guessing that maybe they are waiting for liquor licensing. Some of you may remember that this was the first Old Town Five Guys location (neither of us were in Megg Rolls) and the set up looks almost the same. Their menu is more extensive and since they have 6 locations and have experience in this type of operation things were running much smoother here than at Handovers.
Our recommendation is….check out both joints and form your own opinion. Remember that they are both in the early stages at this point.
Handover by the Slice
728 King Street
“Handover by the Slice makes their dough and robust sauce in-house daily while
sourcing fresh, high-quality ingredients that customers taste with big flavors in
every slice. “The pizza has a very thin layer of crunch at the bottom of the slice
with a soft and airy crust,” prides Gregg Linzey. Besides offering traditional NY
style pizzas by the slice, 18” whole pies are also available along with appetizers,
beer and wine. The shop also features a daily specialty pizza until it sells out.”
Andy’s Pizza Old Town
107 North Fayette Street
“Located directly off of King Street, Andy’s Pizza Old Town is an all-in-one NY style pizzeria serving the Alexandria neighborhood. We use artisan baking methods and source the best ingredients in the world to make the best pizza we can. We offer the full dining experience as well as to go slices and cold refreshing beverages.”