(WIVB) – When Western New York native Joel Salamone moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 1999, he couldn’t find any pizza that stacked up to Buffalo’s pies.
“There’s a couple of places that are okay for wings, but I’ve never found any places I really thought were great quality,” Salamone, a Williamsville South High School and UB alum, said during a Monday phone call.
Salamone enlisted the help of his friend Steven Houck, who worked in Buffalo pizzerias for over 25 years, to help him open a Buffalo-style pizzeria in South Riding, Virginia. South Riding is located about 45 minutes outside of Washington D.C.
The restaurant, “Baddpizza”, gets its name from Houck’s longtime nickname, “Stevie Badd”. It opened in December.
Salamone said that the response to the restaurant has been very positive.
“The first group of people who have really looked forward to us are the Buffalo expatriates- people who grew up in Buffalo or have family in Buffalo, who grew up eating Bocce Club, Imperial, La Nova, Picasso, who are now in the D.C. area,” Salamone said.
Baddpizza’s 18-inch pies will look and taste familiar to any Western New Yorker- “not a thick crust, not a thin crust, a sweeter sauce, toppings to edge, cup-and-char pepperoni,” Salamone described.
The wings are also reminiscent of Duff’s wings, Salamone added.
“We have a wing that’s really crispy all the time,” Salamone said.
Over Super Bowl weekend, when Baddpizza had only been open for about six weeks, they sold over 19,000 wings.
Baddpizza is quickly expanding. Two new locations are opening soon in Falls Church and McLean, and Salamone says even more locations are in the cards.
“We’d like to get 30 to 50 of these restaurants in the next three to five years, and then ideally we’d like to franchise,” Salamone said.
He added that he wants Baddpizza to have a Buffalo-style “mom-and-pop” feel, but on a larger scale.
“We’re making our own dough, making our own sauce, shredding our own cheese, slicing our own pepperoni- those are things that are certainly different about baddpizza than most places in this area,” Salamone said.