Stopped in an afternoon to check out Edith’s pizza recently opened in Bethesda, I ordered a meat lovers pizza (cheese, pepperoni, sausage, bacon, meatballs, chicken) to take home for dinner. To help me out during the preparation, I indulged in a slice of pizza from the garden (cheese, artichoke hearts, black olives, peppers, onions, spinach and arugula) which had just been cooked on a stone in one of the restaurant’s three electric ovens. deck ovens. The crust was thin and crispy on the bottom and pleasantly chewy around the circumference, the cheese plentiful and gooey. “We use four types of cheese – whole, skim and buffalo mozzarella and provolone – which we shred ourselves because the packaged shredded cheese is coated in cellulose to prevent it from clumping together,” says Jose Molina, a resident of Kensington, which opened Edith’s in March just a few doors down. downstairs from Breads Unlimited, her Bradley Mall bakery.
The pizzeria, named after Molina’s wife, Edith, seats 20 people inside and six outside. Unable to meet customer requests for cakes, especially birthday cakes, due to space constraints in his bakery, Molina had approached mall representatives to rent a closed Pilates studio to open a pastry shop. But, he says, the owner didn’t want two bakeries in the same center, so he offered a pizzeria with a cake shop in the back, and they agreed. “The idea for pizza came about because for years with my wife and two boys [now 26 and 20]we were renting a movie on Saturday nights and I was making pizza for the family,” Molina says.
Molina immigrated to the United States from El Salvador in 1990 and began working at Negril, a Jamaican restaurant in Silver Spring. In 1994, a friend told him about a job opening at Breads Unlimited, a fixture at Bethesda since 1981. Wanting to learn more about baking, he applied for the job and got it. His first task was to make bagels. “I didn’t even know what a bagel was. I started going to different places to see how they made bagels and started practicing. Within two months, we were named one of DC’s Top 10 Bagels by the Washington Post. We went from 10 dozen to 300 dozen a week,” he says.
Molina learned the baking trade like the back of her hand, becoming owner Steve Raab’s right-hand man at Breads Unlimited and its now-closed sister location, New Yorker Bakery, in Silver Spring. Along the way, he learned to repair equipment himself and became a licensed electrician in 2008. Eleven years later, Raab approached Molina to purchase Breads Unlimited, which he did in 2020. “Mr. Raab is like a family. Sometimes he still comes to make challahs for us,” says Molina, whose eldest son, Roberto, runs Breads Unlimited. His youngest son, Ricardo, is a business student at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and plans to start the family business.
Edith’s menu, currently in development, includes a small selection of appetizers and salads ($7.95 to $11.95), but the emphasis is on pizza. They offer eight 16-inch pies ($17.95 to $25.99): Cheese, Pepperoni, Garden, Meat Lovers, Margherita, Edith’s Paradise (Cheese, Onions, Pineapple, Capicola, Spicy Honey), Supreme ( cheese, peppers, onion, sausage, pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, and olives) and the works (supreme toppings plus bacon, spinach, and artichokes), or you can choose your own toppings. Individual slices of several pizzas are available, reheated on demand. There are also four calzones ($12.95 to $17.95): meat lovers, pepperoni, cheese and veggie. (The cakes, baked at Edith, are available for purchase at Breads Unlimited.)
Molina says the pizza isn’t New York style or any other style, it’s its own style. “It’s an ordinary dough, just flour, salt, sugar, yeast and water. We make it fresh every day,” he says. In the future, he plans to experiment with sourdough crust (using the 60-year-old sourdough he uses for bread in his bakery) and whole-wheat crust. He thinks changing a basic dough ingredient will be a game-changer: “I’ll get water from New York. Our water is filtered but still contains too much chlorine and fluoride. I found a company in New York that can mimic any water from any city in the United States by changing the pH level through filtration. It will be great for our product.
Edith’s Pizza, 6910 Arlington Road (Bradley Mall), Bethesda, 301-686-3224, edithspizzas.com