These 10 Bethesda-area pizzerias have captured our attention
“I just wanted to do pinball,” says VÜK owner Scott Nash, who’s also the CEO of the grocery chain MOM’s Organic Market and a collector of pinball machines, “but the broker showed me a former pizzeria [Pizza Pass] with a great kitchen with a Bakers Pride deck oven.” Local restaurateur Mark Bucher, co-owner of Medium Rare, signed on to help once Nash agreed that VÜK would serve the thin-crust, New York-style pizza Bucher grew up with in New Jersey. Bucher brought an expert from New York to train VÜK’s cooks.
The aroma of the pies at VÜK (which stands for vertical up kicker, the spring-loaded pinball launcher) takes you back to the pizza joints of your youth. The pizza menu here is brief: plain, pepperoni, sausage, veggie or white. (Another option is Sicilian crust.) A perfect afternoon is playing pinball, listening to rock music, drinking a beer and putting back a few slices of plain pizza swiped with oregano-specked tomato sauce, loaded with cheese and built for the one-handed fold familiar to New York pizza aficionados. VÜK precooks and blots sausage and slices of pepperoni before putting them on pizzas for baking, Nash says, to get rid of the orange grease found on inferior pies.
VÜK, 4924 St. Elmo Ave., Bethesda; 301-652-8000; facebook.com/vukpinball