Pizza is a no-brainer when it comes to kids, but it takes a big heart (and a good set of ear plugs) to bring the family to a sensory-overload pizzeria-fun-center geared specifically toward the younger set—especially when the pizza is sure to disappoint. Luckily, the Washington, D.C. region has some amazing pizza parlors that both kids and parents will love.
Pizza “with an edge” is the name of the game at this popular pizza joint, with offerings such as the Bad and Bluezy (grilled onion, pepperoni and blue cheese) and the 3Peat (pepperoni, Italian sausage and bacon). Rest assured there are basic kid-friendly options as well.
But the reason little ones love this place is because they can watch their pizza go through the oven’s conveyer belt. The flagship location, established in 2012, is on H Street, with 10 other outposts in D.C., 10 in Maryland and 13 in Virginia.
Comet Ping Pong
The kids may not appreciate some of the pies at this hipster Northwest D.C. pizza parlor, which are, admittedly, a little wacko. There’s the pepperoni-and jalapeño “Hottie” and the clam-packed “Yalie,” for starters. But don’t worry: kids can build their own, with a slew of familiar ingredients. They’ll also be plenty content playing ping-pong—and dreaming about a yummy sundae for dessert.
Parents like the fact the ingredients are farmed and harvested in a sustainable manner, including housemade tomato sauce. The backroom is a popular spot for birthday parties.
5037 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008
You can play it safe at DC Pizza with age-old favorites, or you can get adventurous and try the Bacon Jam pizza (spinach, pepperoni, Italian sausage and chicken drizzled with bacon jam), the BTR (bacon, tomatoes and ranch dressing) and the Honey Sriracha (bacon, chicken, onions and honey sriracha).
If the kids turn up their nose at those, they can choose their own toppings, some of which are rather interesting: wing sauce, pineapple and apples, to name a few.
1103 19th St. NW
Washington DC 20036
Its large dining area and playful menu make Matchbox a favorite for birthday parties, family get-togethers and end-of-sports-season celebrations. And what kid would not enjoy the colorable kids’ menu with its fun brain games and yummy choices, such as cheese pizza, quesadillas and mini burgers?
There’s also a “Captain Healthy to the Rescue” plate full of apples, bananas, celery, peanut butter and the like that no kid in their right mind would order — but their parents might!
Eleven locations in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia
This buzzy neighborhood eatery produces gourmet brick-oven pies, including the Toscana, with pepperoni, ham, salami and sausage; and the Frutti di Mare, topped with “no shell” clams, shrimp, fingerling potatoes, grana and ricotta.
There’s also a good selection of pastas, such as gnocchi with sausage and lobster fettuccine, and sandwiches. Kids can order from their own (colorable) menu, featuring cheese pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, grilled chicken salad and more.
400 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church, VA 22046
This local fave for wood-fired pizzas boasts a large menu of 9- or 12-inch pies, including unexpected flavor combinations like the pepperoni-and-pork-topped Macellaio, the salami-olive-and-hot-pepper-flake Atomica and the Paesana, piled high with spicy garlic pesto, chicken sausage, escarole and broccoli rabe.
There’s even a supervised children’s room, where kids can eat, play and watch movies while parents covertly keep track of them through a one-way mirror.
Locations in Georgetown, Dupont Circle and Spring Valley in Washington, D.C., and Hyattsville, Maryland
Serving up pies since 1978, Potomac Pizza has firmly established itself as a beloved family restaurant — and a favorite birthday party venue. As far as pizzas go, most kids will love Amanda’s Original cheese and tomato pizza, though there are plenty of more daring options, including the Ultimate Potomac, with anchovies, Canadian bacon, peppers, ground beef, mushrooms and Italian sausage. Whew!
Ask the kids over dinner if they know the restaurant’s founder, Adam Greenberg — aka the “Pizza Man.” He gives pizza demonstrations at elementary schools throughout the region, showing kids how to make pizza while teaching them about cleanliness in the kitchen.
Locations in Chevy Chase, College Park, Middle River, Potomac Promenade and Traville Village Center