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Armand’s Pizzeria Closing in Tenleytown June 30th

by Prince Of Petworth May 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm 50 Comments

4231 Wisconsin Ave, NW

NBC Washington reports:

“The original location of a longtime D.C. fave, Armand’s Pizzeria, will close its doors June 30, News4’s Shomari Stone first reported.

At this point, the six other locations will stay open, but it would cost $200,000 to keep the historic flagship location running.”

Armand’s Web site says:

Welcome to Lew Newmyer’s original Armand’s Chicago Pizzeria. Back in 1969 Lew Newmyer, inspired by his youth spent in Atlantic City, opened a sub and sandwich shop in Washington DC. In 1975, Lew, after traveling to Chicago experienced deep dish pizza. At that time no one in the DC area offered deep dish Chicago style pizza. Lew and his sons spent months working closely with many people in developing their own dough and sauce recipe.

Today, over twenty five years later, that recipe and Armand’s expanded menu offerings are famous and still growing. A perennial Washingtonian Magazine award winner for “Best Pizza”.

With eleven area locations including full service restaurants, party rooms and Express Delivery stores, Armand’s continues to be a Washington area favorite. Our unique recipes and friendly staff are what truly make the Armand’s experience great!

Any fans of Armand’s?

  • Anonymous

    my childhood just keeps slipping away

    • Johnny

      +1. Not much left to slip away at this point.

    • My exact sentiments.

  • DK

    Back in the 90s they used to offer an all you can eat dinner buffet. No idea if they still do it, but we used to eat an astonishing amount of free pizza on Tuesday nights. (college years–not a lot of cash but sure did love pizza).

    • dpz

      they stopped the buffet about 5 years ago. sad to see armand’s go.

  • as the rain

    Wowers. When I moved to DC, I worked at the Ruby Tuesday across the street, which is now closed, and drank at Armand’s after shift. Sad to see them both closing. Not surprised about RT, as it was always dead (much to my wallet’s chagrin), but Armand’s always seemed to be doing reasonably well.

  • Armands was a staple of my childhood. I worked a couple summers during college at the delivery location that used to be at Wisconsin and Fessenden. That was before Dominos and Armands had a monopoly on delivery pizza, which was still a new concept. We drove pickups with a propane oven on the back to keep the pizzas warm. Today insulated bags perform the same task for a fraction of the cost! It was a silly concept but when you have a monopoly, who cares?!

    I used to eat tons of pizza in those days. We’d get the leftover pies at the end of the shift. It was cheap food but I could never eat at Armands again.

    When they opened, Armands was the only deep-dish pizza joint in town. They enjoyed the novelty for a while. In some ways, they remind me of the Brickskeller. They were unique for a while and then just stayed the same. I’m not surprised they’re finally closing.

    • d

      i love these sorts of nostalgic comments from locals :)

      • AngryParakeet

        Late 80’s, walking to pick up a carryout order my girlfriend and I encountered Tom Sherwood there doing the same. At that moment heavy rain began falling and he gave us a ride to our friend’s house.

        • Anon

          Tom Sherwood picked up a carryout order with your girlfriend?

    • I remember the Chef with the spinning legs on top of those Armand’s trucks.

  • Anonymous

    The quality had slipped a little over the past few years, and I don’t think it was ever much like real Chicago-style deep dish, but it used to be my favorite pizza in DC.

    Does anyone know if their other locations are staying open?

    • ET

      I think the news said they were. At least for now.

  • When I first moved to Columbia Heights, there no restaurants, and we couldn’t even get a pizza delivered. I’ll never forget calling Armand’s (I forget which location), and even though we were within their stated delivery radius, they refused to cross 16th Street. I’ve never quite forgiven them for that.

    • Anonymous

      yeah cuz who cares about the safety of a delivery driver, right?

      • Columbia Heights was no more dangerous then than now. My point was that we were in their published delivery radius, and if they they wanted to redline, they should have been honest in their advertisements. But, printing “We don’t deliver east of 16th Street” would not have gone over well, and they knew it.

        • Come to think of it, CH is probably more dangerous now because all the rich white kids are a magnet for criminals. No problem getting food delivered now though.

          • Anonymous

            you should ask delivery people about that. i doubt your perspective includes their experiences.

  • If some other locals are going to get in their way-back machine I’ll chime in too – I always thought Maggie’s was better, but I’ll miss Armands.

    • 2theRhythm

      I agree maggies was a little better. My favorite was luigi’s before they changed the recipe in the mid-80’s.

    • Johnny

      The story is the same for many a native. Leave Jellefs after some indoor soccer and mom asks “alright where do you guys want to eat? Maggies? Armands?” I would vote for Zebra Room cause I liked the big hammerhead shark on the wall. Always out voted, but I liked the steak and cheeses at Armands and still do. I wish I had the money to buy this location out and turn it around. A couple obvious upgrades would do the trick without compromising the nostalgia.

      • Anonymous

        The Zebra Room’s shark was great but the food was awful. Even as a kid I knew it was bad.

      • Anon20009

        My walk down memory lane is a little different – we used to hang out there in high school in the very late ’70s cause they were most likely to serve us beer without carding. And the pizza was good too. (Didn’t realize that it must have been pretty new then.)

  • What else do people like for non-Northeast style delivered pizza? We get and like Radius (well, 4 pies out of 5) and Pete’s, but I’m talking about something that’s more than a quarter inch thick. It’s like hamburgers vs. steak – you can like both, but they’re just different foods.

    • anonymous

      Pi Pizza is really good for deep dish. Keep an eye out for the food truck!

      • I’m a big fan of District of Pi (Pi is the place over in AM, but I know what you mean and I’m on board – just didn’t want anyone reading this and getting disappointed), going back to the St Louis original. I just wish they’d bring it to me.

  • I’m not terribly fond of Chicago style pizza, but when I first arrived in DC 20 years ago, the crew I worked with at Fannie Mae would go there once or twice a month for lunch. Other than my not liking that style, I do have to say it was satisfying. I live a few blocks from the Armand’s on 19th but have only had from there a few times when friends who love CDDP had a jones for it. I usually get pizza from Luigi’s (a few doors down from Aarmand’s), the Italian Store or Pete’s Apizza.

    OT: Anyone remember the name of that Chinese restaurant/lounge that was in 4000 Wisconsin back in the early 1990s? We always called it the “1 North Conference Room” (“Team meeting, 5PM, 1 North” was our code for “Happy Hour!!!”)

    • Anonymous

      The Blue Diamond?

  • Beckster

    I remember lines around the block to get into Armand’s in the early days. I was a student at Georgetown and it was the place to go. That was 1978, 79. Yeah, I’m old.

  • anon

    Armand’s used to fuel the Pizza Nights we’d have at St. Ann’s in Tenleytown in the 80s. We’d brag about eating 4 slices. Were we ever so young?

  • Stop The World

    If we could only keep the good things from the past along with all the new stuff. Armands was the place for a very long time, lines out the door and lots of us really liked the pizza, not to mention a really fun place. Last time I was there it felt like a haunted house and no one there seemed to have any memory of the old days, in fact the I’d have felt better about ordering masala there vs pizza given the waiters puzzeled looks. I’m guessing the crowd moved up a few blocks when the subway opened.

    Bye Armands, Thanks for the Memories

  • Anonymous

    Armands used to deliver daily to my high school, set up a table and sell pizza by the slice to students… how’s that for school lunches?

  • saf

    Wow. I worked for them when they had franchise locations in Mt Pleasant and in Adams Morgan. It was a pretty good job.

  • NoLongerNew2CH

    While not a DC native, I spent four weeks of my Junior year in high school summer at American University, and I remember loving / repeatedly patronizing Armand’s that summer (and being from a boring chain-infested suburb, thinking it was super cool). While a more recent visit to an Armand’s was not too stellar, I too am sad to see it go.

  • I’ve never been to the Tenleytown location, but I go to the one on 3rd and Mass NE on Capitol Hill all the time for the lunch buffet.

    Armand’s is not fashionable trendy yuppy pizza like Matchbox, etc. No wood fires, no Neopolatin style. It’s just good honest fill you up pizza. But I guess they’re being gentrified out.

    • John M

      Gentrified out? We’re talking about Tenleytown here, gleaming capital of Upper Caucasia!

      • As the city grows more affluent, $8 pizza buffets are replaced by wood-fired pizza places. It’s gentrification of businesses.

      • Gentrification is often used to describe the redevelopment processes taking place in NE and less affluent parts of NW, but it also has been taking place in upper NW as well. Newcomers may not realize it but as recently as the late 90’s, rowhouses in Glover Park sold for $250k. Single families is upper NW went for $400-500k. So yes, upper NW has been going through gentrification just as much as the rest of the city. But in the case of upper NW, it’s middle class being replaced by upper class.

        As it applies to Armand’s, Armand’s was started at a time when upper NW was pretty much the only middle class place left in DC. The rest of the city was impoverished mostly. Armand’s is middle class pizza. While I like the pizza, all the (more affluent) newcomers I know that I’ve taken to Armand’s think it’s mediocre (middle class) pizza. Which, admitedly, it is. I still like it though because I generally like unpretentious food. So as upper NW has become more affluent, it makes sense that old standbys like Armand’s are getting priced out of the neighborhood.

  • when I was a kid we had our end of season soccer parties here for years. I always remember the big tomatoes they had on their pizza and the really stretchy cheese. as a kid it was definitely satisfying. sorry to see them go but it has looked pretty empty the last few years

  • pizza

    GEORGE: Just as she was. Hey, Mario! Remember us?
    MARIO: No.
    JERRY: We used to come in every day.
    MARIO: So where ya been? We’re tanking here.
    GEORGE: We’ll have 2 slices and 2 grape sodas.
    MARIO: Oh, thanks. That’ll save us.
    JERRY: All right, make it the large sodas.

  • KR

    The best pizza. I heard Chelsea Clinton went here for one of her birthdays in the 90’s.

  • Joe Bllow

    I’m not a fan of Chicago style pizza to begin with, and found the Tenley Armand’s a mediocre version of it. As an ex-New Yorker I can rely on one thing in D.C. pizza: if the place is described as a D. C. favorite” or “regional favorite,” fugheddaboutit. Between this place and inexplicably popular Ledos… (shudder). Faccia Luna makes a decent pie and there are some good places in the ‘burbs, like Squisitos on the MD side. Otherwise, I try to stick to D.C.’s native foods, Thai and El Salvadoran.

    • anon

      Well, for one, it’s not Chicago style deep dish pizza. It’s just pizza with a thick crust. Chicago deep dish is a completely different animal.

    • Anonymous

      Take your pretention elsewhere. Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Transplants…..

    • The closest to real NYC pizza here is The Italian Store over in Arlington, Luigi’s in 19th between L&M, and Pete’s Apizza (Tenley & CH; New Haven style, but satisfies a pizza jones).

  • Anonymous

    Get a grip people, there are six other locations. While you may have a certain nostalgia for this location at least you can still get Armand’s pizza elsewhere.

  • Anonymous

    I still miss the Irish Pizza Pub in Laurel. :(

  • The amount of cheese Armands uses per pizza will send you straight to heaven/food coma

  • Rod Varner

    Lots of great memories from Armand’s in the 70’s. Glad it was within walking distance of A.U. Best pizza ever!!

  • Class of 68

    I hate to see this place go too. I remember an “Armand’s Sub Way” further down Wisconsin Ave at or near where the Mexican restaurant is down the block from the Giant. But I really like Armand’s pizza, and ordered from there all the time since the Uno’s in Bethesda closed.

    I kind of resent comments about how affluent, white, etc., upper NW is. I have been a resident of AU park since 1952, and Glover Park before that. My neighborhood was full of retired government workers, school teachers and tradesmen. I played with the milkman’s (anybody know what that is?) kids. Across the street lived an electrician. My father was a carpenter and my mother a waitress. Real upper class, right? Guess what, Tenleytown/AU Park is NOT Spring Valley. It was middle class then. It’s middle class now.


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