Fresh, natural ingredients are Zpizza‘s claim to its growing fame. Zpizza wasn’t “on my radar” until a company rep invited me to review items on the restaurant’s menu. Such reviews are rare here, but the availability of pizzas with organic, whole grain, or gluten-free ingredients at a fast-casual restaurant was too tempting to ignore.
The California-based restaurant chain opened in Maryland eight years ago. Outside of Maryland, Zpizza has restaurants in 15 other states and in Washington, D.C. All pizzas are made with “100% certified organic tomato sauce & flour,” and cheese from RBGH-free grass-fed cows. Although I don’t eat chicken or pork myself, omnivores can order preservative- and hormone-free meats on their pizzas. Also in ZPizza’s favor: whole-wheat or gluten-free pizza crusts. Z-pizza’s website includes a nutrition calculator to help diners build their pizza meals and determine the nutrition facts per pizza slice.
I visited the ZPizza in Silver Spring, Maryland–29 miles away from my home. I persuaded the manager to redeem both of my coupons during my visit: one for a large pizza and another for a salad. Peering overhead at Zpizza’s large, hanging menu, a description of the Berkeley Vegan Pizza caught my eye. Vegan cheese? Really? In my experience, vegan cheese either refuses to melt or “melts” in a weird way–and not like mozzarella cheese. I ordered the vegan pizza with a raised eyebrow and a smirk.
How’d They Do That?
My hot pizza arrived in about 15 minutes. The vegan cheese looked, felt, and tasted authentic, like low-fat mozzarella. The Berkeley Vegan pie was pretty tasty. Organic marinara sauce, uber-fresh zucchini slices, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions, and bell pepper rounded out the ingredients. Noticeably missing from my pizza were the “veggie burger crumbles” listed on the menu. But the Berkeley Vegan pizza was delicious on its own as a fresh vegetable pizza. I didn’t miss the crumbles much.
Zpizza’s salads are large enough to share. Aside from its freshness and deep green and ruby lettuces, the salad was unremarkable. For a “California” salad, I expected more avocado and fewer black olives (which I’m not too fond of). The salad is decent, and I loved the balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Whenever I’m tooling around Silver Spring or I’m in Washington, D.C., which is also close, I’ll check out Zpizza again. Overall, it was a good dinner, and I admire the company’s efforts to bring healthy, wholesome ingredients–at competitive prices–into the retail-pizza mainstream.
Here’s your chance to win a free Zpizza dinner the same as mine: any large pizza and a salad. The giveaway fun starts at 8 a.m. Monday, July 14, 2014. Follow the directions below and good luck!