Stopping in one afternoon to check out the recently opened Edith’s Pizza in Bethesda, I ordered a meat lovers pizza (cheese, pepperoni, sausage, bacon, meatballs, chicken) to take home for dinner. To tide me over while it was being made, I indulged in a slice of garden pizza (cheese, artichoke hearts, black olives, bell peppers, onions, spinach and arugula) that had just been baked on stone in one of the restaurant’s three electric deck ovens. The crust was thin and crispy on the bottom and pleasantly chewy on the circumference, the cheese abundant and gooey. “We use four types of cheese—whole, skim and buffalo mozzarella and provolone—that we shred ourselves because packaged shredded cheese is coated with cellulose to keep it from clumping,” says Kensington resident Jose Molina, who opened Edith’s in March a few doors down from Breads Unlimited, his Bradley Shopping Center bakery.
The pizzeria, named after Molina’s wife, Edith, seats 20 inside and six outside. Unable to fulfill requests from customers for cakes, especially birthday cakes, due to space constraints at his bakery, Molina had approached the shopping center’s reps about renting a closed Pilates studio to open a cake shop. But, he says, the landlord didn’t want two bakeries in the same center, so he proposed a pizzeria with a cake business in the back, and they agreed. “The pizza idea came because for years with my wife and two boys [now 26 and 20], we’d rent a movie on Saturday night and I’d make pizza for the family,” Molina says.
Molina immigrated to the States from El Salvador in 1990 and started working at Negril, a Jamaican restaurant in Silver Spring. In 1994, a friend told him about a job opening at Breads Unlimited, a fixture in Bethesda since 1981. Eager to learn about baking, he applied for the job and got it. His first task was to make bagels. “I didn’t even know what a bagel was. I started going to different places to see how they made bagels and started practicing. In two months, we were named one of the 10 best bagels in D.C. in The Washington Post. We went from making 10 dozen to 300 dozen a week,” he says.
Molina learned the baking business inside out, becoming owner Steve Raab’s right hand at Breads Unlimited and its sister spot, New Yorker Bakery, now closed, in Silver Spring. Along the way, he learned how to repair the equipment himself and became a licensed electrician in 2008. Eleven years later, Raab approached Molina about buying Breads Unlimited, which he did in 2020. “Mr. Raab is like family. Sometimes he still comes and makes challahs for us,” says Molina, whose older son, Roberto, manages Breads Unlimited. His younger son, Ricardo, is a business major at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and plans to go into the family business.
Edith’s menu, which is still being developed, includes a small selection of appetizers and salads ($7.95 to $11.95), but the focus is on pizza. They offer eight 16-inch pies ($17.95 to $25.99): cheese, pepperoni, garden, meat lovers, Margherita, Edith’s paradise (cheese, onions, pineapple, capicola, spicy honey), supreme (cheese, peppers, onion, sausage, pepperoni, ham, mushrooms and olives) and the works (supreme toppings plus bacon, spinach and artichoke), or you can choose your own toppings. Individual slices of several of the pizzas are available, reheated on request. There are also four calzones ($12.95 to $17.95): meat lovers, pepperoni, cheese and veggie. (Cakes, baked at Edith’s, are available for purchase at Breads Unlimited.)
Molina says the pizza isn’t New York style or any other style—it’s his own style. “It’s a plain dough—just flour, salt, sugar, yeast and water. We make it fresh every day,” he says. In the future, he plans to experiment with sourdough crust (using the 60-year-old starter he uses for bread at his bakery) and whole wheat crust. He believes altering a basic dough ingredient will be a gamechanger: “I will get New York water. Our water is filtered but still has too much chlorine and fluoride in it. I found a company in New York that can mimic any water from any city in the U.S.A. by changing the pH level through filtration. That will be great for our product.”
Edith’s Pizza, 6910 Arlington Road (Bradley Shopping Center), Bethesda, 301-686-3224, edithspizzas.com