I love it when a restaurant has outdoor seating.
The interior has a 'Panera' kind of feel, but much nicer. There are booths lining one side of the place and tables in the center.
What's cool about this place is that all of the preparation and cooking is done out in the open. There are stations for pizza, Labretti (their warm sandwiches), salads, and pastas.
The pizza station is the first one that you see when you walk through the door. They have a hot stone oven that cooks their 10" round pizzas in 4-6 minutes.
Note: These pics above are of uncooked pizzas. They're assembled before ordering, then plopped in the oven when you order so that they're still fresh and hot.
Pandini's signature sandwiches are called Labretti's. It is a folded pizza shell filled with different ingredients to create a sandwich. Some flavors include Chicken Caesar, Pesto Chicken and Handmade Meatball. They range in price between $5.99-6.99.
The next station is for Chopped Salads. They offer 7 different types of salad, including their signature Pizza salad, and best-selling Chef's Salad. They're all served with Focaccia bread and range in price from $3.29-7.89.
Next to the salad station is their Pasta station. 7 different types of pasta including their signature Thai Peanut Chicken and Chicken Parmesan. Their prices range from $6.99-7.99. Whole wheat pasta is available if you prefer being healthier. It's really cool to see them make the pastas because of the occasional flame from the burners. The guy in the white on the left is the head chef Robert D'Orsi, how cool!
Lastly is the register. All of the other stations are to help you decide what to order when you're actually at the register. They have a screen that's facing you to display what you're ordering and how much the total will be. If you've noticed, nothing on the menu is more than $7.99!
They offer fountain beverages, freshly brewed teas (sweet tea and unsweetened), coffees and a small selection of beer and wines.
This little contraption is very cool. After ordering, you are given an order number. Pick a table, stick the number into the device on the table, take it out and place the number in the holder on the side. The device tells the runners in the back which table you're sitting at. Once you stick the number into the device, your food should be brought to you in less than 7 minutes, otherwise the manager's pager will go off. You can even change tables, re-stick your order number and the timer won't be reset. Pretty awesome stuff.
I did get a chance to check out the back kitchen, and it's TINY. Some things like pounding and breading of the parmesean chicken are done in the back, but really eveything is done in full view of the restaurant.
Ok onto the food! The bf and I ordered sweet tea, which was really good. Nice tea flavor instead of it just tasting like sugar water. I'll prob get it everytime I'm there since you don't see it offered very often.
Next we tried their 'Pizza Salad- Romaine lettuce, shredded mozzarella, pepperoni and red onions, with our vinaigrette marinara dressing. Served with our pepperoni bread' for $7.89. It was a strange concept having a pizza flavored salad. I loved the pepperoni bread, however the salad itself with the marinara dressing wasn't the best thing they had to offer, in my opinion. I don't think I'd order it again.
The bf ordered the a Labretti sandwich - 'Peppercorn Steak- Roasted Philly steak and market fresh greens with mushrooms, red onions, shredded mozzarella, and a creamy peppercorn sauce' for $6.99. He loved it! I didn't get a chance to take a bite but I know he'd recommend it. He said all of the vegetables tasted really fresh.
I ordered a pizza - 'Spinach and Artichoke- Garlic infused spinach and artichoke, caramelized onions, melted mozzarella, parmesan and a velvety Alfredo sauce' for $6.99. It was so good! I'm a huge fan of artichoke, and they don't skimp on the toppings.
We were brought out two pastas to try. The 'Chicken Parmesan- Parmesan breaded chicken over linguine pasta in tomato sauce, finished with grated Parmesan, shredded mozzarella and fresh parsley' for $7.99. It was really good, big portion, nice portion of chicken and al dente pasta.
The 'Thai Peanut Chicken- Roasted chicken, linguine, red peppers, onions, carrots, mushrooms and spinach, tossed in our spicy Thai peanut sauce. Garnished with peanuts and scallions' for $7.29. This dish was interesting because our first bites had an overwhelming flavor of peanut butter, but the more you eat it, the better it tastes. Then the different levels of flavor come out like spiciness and coconut milk. It's actually really good if you're into fusion dishes.
Overall, I'm very pleased and excited about this place. It's very affordable, and the quality of the food is amazing. Of course I'm not going to love everything (Pizza Salad) but the freshness, quality, speed and price really get me. It's a casual place where kids can come eat (they have their own menu, items $3.99), or a cute place to take your significant other and get pasta with a glass of wine before a movie. They also offer their diners free Wifi. The 1st 100 people in the door at the grand opening this Thursday July 9th will receive a 'Free Meal once a month for a Year', so see ya there!!
13000 Middlebrook Rd
Germantown, MD 20874