Heard on the Hill

&pizza, Au Bon Pain coming to the Capitol complex

The East Coast pizza company confirmed the move via text

More pizza options are heading to the Capitol with &pizza confirming it will set up shop in the Rayburn House Office Building. (Courtesy &pizza)

Update 5:58 p.m. | Heads up hungry Hill staffers: &pizza will set up shop on the House side of the Capitol this month, and an Au Bon Pain will open later this year.

House Chief Administrative Officer Philip Kiko, who oversees food service on the House side of the Capitol, confirmed the news Monday evening. Kiko told HOH that &pizza will be opening in the Rayburn Building, and Au Bon Pain will open in the Cannon Building in the spring. The "pop-ups" from restaurants like Mission BBQ and Hissho Shushi that began in 2018 will also continue.

“We surveyed the House community and found staff want a wider selection of food options on campus — both cafeteria and branded options,” Kiko said in a statement. “To that end, the CAO has worked to bring more branded options to the House.”

A congressional subcommittee that oversees the CAO’s budget recently directed the office to explore adding additional brand-name food options.

Kiko’s statement followed rumblings earlier Monday that the pizza chain was coming to the Capitol. After an HOH tipster spotted boxes with the name of the pizza chain in the Rayburn Building, HOH reached out to &pizza via its texting hotline, which promises that a “real person” responds to text inquiries.

Asked if the restaurant was coming to the House and which office building, HOH received an “eyes” emoji and the text “Rayburn!”

As for the timeline? “Soon, soon!” the &pizza texter responded.  The &pizza will be located in the Rayburn cafeteria in an area that used to house vending machines (the vending machines will be moved to another nearby location). 

The East Coast pizza company describes itself as a “counter-culture,” “anti-establishment establishment.” After parts of the federal government shuttered in December, it was one of several D.C.-area eateries to offer furloughed workers a free lunch for “the duration of the shutdown.”

As the funding impasse drags on, free lunch has become free dinner. Employees with a valid government-issued ID can now claim their no-cost pies between 6 and 8 p.m. (Don’t try this at DCA, though: Airport locations are excluded.)

“Embarking on this commitment to support furloughed govt employees has been encouraging + humbling,” the company tweeted Dec. 28. “The hours are changing, but our support isn’t.”

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