Vace Italian Delicatessen in Bethesda was one of three Montgomery County pizzerias chosen by Washington Post food writer Tim Carman as one of the 10 best in the greater Washington, D.C., region. Credit: Google Street View

This story was updated at 5:40 p.m. Jan. 29, 2020, to correct a reference to the location of Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana.

It isn’t every day that The Washington Post ranks a Bethesda pizzeria as one of best in the greater Washington, D.C., region. This year, Vace Italian Delicatessen, a Bethesda staple since 1982, made the cut.

What’s more is that three of the 10 best pizzas in the DMV that made the list for Post food writer Tim Carman are in Montgomery County.

Carman wrote that he set out to find the 10 best individual pizzas in the area, taking into account factors such as craft, novelty and “a pizza that said something about Washington.”

Here are Carman’s Montgomery County pizzas of choice:

Vace Italian Delicatessen, Bethesda 


Vace, at 4705 Miller Ave., made Carman’s list because of its thin crust and approach of layering the tomato sauce over the mozzarella cheese. This approach, he writes, “allows you to savor the sweetness and acidity of the sauce.”

General Manager Diana Calcagno, whose family owns the business, said in an interview Tuesday with Bethesda Beat that it was “a pretty great feeling” to make the list, although the Post has included them in past superlatives.

“The main thing that sets us apart is the fact that we put our cheese underneath the sauce. It helps maintain the crispiness of the pizza,” she said.


Calcagno said children often ask for the more conventional approach of putting the cheese on top of the pie, and the restaurant accommodates those requests.

“And you can still manage to get the same crispiness,” she said.

Vace opened its first location in D.C. in the 1970s, Calcagno said, then opened its Bethesda pizzeria in 1982.


Calcagno, 38, said multiple generations of families have frequented Vace through the years. Older customers now, she said, recall seeing her when she was 3 and spent time at the restaurant while her parents were in charge.

The restaurant has maintained its customer base, she said, through loyalty and word of mouth.

“We’ve never really paid for advertisement, except for schools to help out with fundraising,” she said.


Frankly Pizza, Kensington

Frankly Pizza, at 10417 Armory Ave., stole Carman’s heart with its spinach pizza, which he praises for its tasty blend of wilted leaves, multiple cheeses and fresh garlic, among other toppings. Owner Frank Linn, he wrote, “has concocted a spinach pizza for those who don’t care all that much for spinach.”

Linn’s pizzeria, which he opened in 2014, also was among Bethesda Magazine’s top 10 pizzerias included in food critic David Hagedorn’s list last year. Linn said in the story that he uses finely milled flour to make his dough, and tops his pizzas with cooked tomato sauce instead of uncooked tomatoes.


Linn’s goal, he told the magazine last year, is to make sure customers can pick up a pizza slice with minimal mess.

Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, Gaithersburg

Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, at 12207 Darnestown Road, received praise from Carman for its soft, puffy and flavorful crust. For this restaurant, he chose the Marinara Rustica pizza, which features fresh tomatoes, roasted garlic, basil and parmesan cheese.


Hagedorn also included this pizzeria in his top 10 list last year, writing that owner Tony Conte opened the restaurant in 2015. Three years later, Conte was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award for best chef in the mid-Atlantic region.

Dan Schere can be reached at