What I Ordered
- Stella Artois
- Matchbox Red Blend
- Chips + Dip
- Cheesy Garlic Pizza Sticks
- Matchbox Meat
In Short: This happy hour pizza dinner was exactly what I needed: affordable, filling, good wine, close to my office, in a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.
It can be hard to choose a pizza restaurant in D.C. – the market is saturated, so options seem endless. When I’m craving more than the delivery experience I usually decide where to go based on a couple criteria: Do they have happy hour deals? Are they close to my office? What’s their style – artisan hipster pizza? Traditional toppings? Both?
This week in the ongoing effort to combat post-work hanger, I prioritized proximity to my office, and then happy hour deals. I wanted pizza and wine in my stomach, stat, and thankfully my boyfriend, Sean agreed. Between a few nearby options, we chose Matchbox Vintage Pizza, because I had eaten there once before, knew they had good deals, and I liked the dining atmosphere.
After a much easier parking-hunt than I mentioned in my last review in the same neighborhood, we arrived at Matchbox before the happy hour/dinner rush and were seated right away. In D.C., I’m accustomed to jockeying for a “first-come, first-serve” table in the bar at popular happy hours, so I was pleasantly surprised that we could be seated anywhere in the restaurant to enjoy their drink and appetizer deals.
Because we were so hungry, Sean and I knew what we wanted to eat before our server arrived to take our drink orders – which is not to say that he was slow – we just again were attempting to keep our hanger at bay. Sean got a Stella Artois ($5) and I had a glass of the Matchbox Red Blend ($6). To stave off our appetites before pizza we ordered the housemade bistro chips with caramelized onion spread and the cheesy garlic pizza sticks with marinara dipping sauce ($5 each). For our pizza, we split a large Matchbox Meat – with pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, tomato sauce, and mozzarella.
Our drinks came right away, and our appetizers soon after. I was especially excited about the garlic pizza sticks, and was so hungry I ate half of them before paying much attention to their taste. The marinara dipping sauce was good, but the pizza sticks themselves were just okay. Very garlicky, which is fine, but I would have preferred more cheese and a softer, garlic-bread-like texture rather than pizza crust. So I’ll probably pick a different option next time, but for five dollars, I was content. The chips and onion dip were exactly what they sound like – a nice cheap option to fill you up a little before you eat real food. Nothing wrong with that.
Our pizza arrived at a good time – just as I was hungry for something more substantive. I usually opt for pizzas with at least one vegetable topping so I can tell myself it’s healthier than it is, but in this instance I think we both just needed protein to sustain us through the March Madness championship later that night (thank you Eastern Standard Time) – so the Matchbox Meat worked well. It wasn’t the highest quality pizza or the most innovative taste combination I’ve ever had, but I don’t think either of those are Matchbox’s intention with this pizza. The pepperoni slices were thick, the sausage was seasoned well, and the mozzarella was not too overbearing. All in all, it was a good, filling pizza at a good price, and we had enough leftovers for lunch the next day (arguably the most important part of ordering a pizza).
Overall, this dinner was exactly what I needed: affordable, filling food, a glass of good wine, located down the street from my office, in a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. (And, there are real, vintage matchboxes built into each table-ours were Betty Boop themed! Nice touch). It was an absolutely positive experience, and though I probably won’t take an artisan pizza snob here, I’m sure I’ll be back!