MOD Pizza is about to get some competition in Herndon.
The Tysons-based Crust Pizzeria Napoletana is adding a second location at 360 Elden Street in Herndon Centre, just across the parking lot from the fast-casual pizza chain’s Herndon franchise, which opened last year.
Construction on the space, which is listed as 2,400 square feet in size by the shopping center, has been underway for a couple of months now, Crust Pizzeria owner Kevin Ejitemai told Reston Now earlier this week.
Adjacent to a Popeyes, the new pizza eatery has taken over the site previously occupied by the family-owned restaurant Italian District, which was a casualty of the economic challenges introduced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to Ejitemai.
Italian District has been reported closed on Yelp, whose last review for the restaurant is dated July 14, 2020.
Crust Pizzeria Napoletana opened off of Old Courthouse Road on the Vienna side of Tysons in 2015. It prides itself on being “the only authentic Neapolitan pizzeria in the area” and features a wood-fired oven that was handcrafted in Naples, Italy, according to the website.
For the restaurant’s first expansion, Ejitemai says he wanted to stay within Northern Virginia to maintain some proximity to the existing location. Herndon seemed like an ideal place to attract both residential and commercial customers.
“Herndon is an up-and-coming area,” Ejitemai said. “There’s a lot of technology firms around that could give us good lunch [business], and then a lot of homes around for dinner.”
The Herndon location will have a menu identical to the one in Tysons, which offers small plates, salads, pasta, and sandwiches, along with the signature 12-inch-wide pizzas.
It will also boast a wood-burning oven imported from Italy. Ejitemai says the oven and the ingredients that Crust Pizzeria uses — including double zero flour for the dough, bufala mozzarella, and San Marzano tomatoes — are what distinguish it from other pizza makers.
“[The oven] will be showcased inside of the store burning wood, so it’s not just having food. It’s an experience in our restaurant,” he said, describing the softness of the pizza dough as “like silk cloth in your mouth.”
According to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Authority, Crust Pizzeria has applied for a retail license so it can sell wine and beer on the premises. The license has been pending since July 28.
Ejitemai says he hopes to open the Herndon pizzeria before Christmas, though the exact date is “a moving target” with work to revamp the site ongoing.
Photo via Google Maps
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