Good Food & Brew on Tap at Brixx Wood Fired Pizza

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By Paul Keily | Photos by Linda Hughes

The first Brixx Wood Fired Pizza opened in Charlotte, N.C., in 1998. Since its inception, the company has been
committed to serving fresh pizzas and a large selection of local and national craft beers. Fresh, local ingredients in everything they serve and a commitment to their communities are the cornerstones of their operations, said Charlie Bokemeier, general manager of Brixx in Woodbridge, which opened in Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center three-and-a-half years ago.Prince William Living Jan 2015012015_Local Flavor_toasting

Bokemeier said that the location was chosen because “Woodbridge is growing up. There are a lot of new things in the area, along with lots of good energy.” Brixx has about 20 restaurants in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, along with three locations in Virginia. The company has plans to expand into a few Midwest markets soon as well.

Brixx is a very energetic, yet casual dining restaurant. Bokemeier said that the enthusiasm of his staff carries over to the guests they serve, creating an enjoyable meal and lively experience. The eatery’s size and popularity also contribute to the feeling that something is always going on there.

“Brixx Pizza is an ideal place to have a quiet, but not too quiet, lunch or dinner,” said frequent diner Evan Frolov of
Lake Ridge. “The exception being weekend nights, where eating [on their patio]outside is your best option if you’re
interested in what your dining companion is saying. Since Brixx is small, and popular, it’s no surprise that it gets so loud on weekend nights.”

Another customer echoed this sentiment. “Brixx has quite a laidback, casual atmosphere. The acoustics are at about the right level where you can easily carry on conversations with your friends, but still know the restaurant is kickin’. They are a very convenient restaurant to take a break in while doing some shopping,” said Tony Morrell, also of Lake Ridge.

"We want people to try something new every time they come in," said Charlie Bokemeier, general manager of the Brixx Wood Fired Pizza in Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center.

“We want people to try something new every time they come in,” said
Charlie Bokemeier, general manager of the Brixx Wood Fired Pizza in
Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center.

Bokemeier said that Brixx prides itself on the fact that everything is handmade, and that there’s “something for everyone” on the menu. Meals are made to order, from scratch. From the dining room, you can see through to the kitchen and watch pizzas cooking in the wood-fired brick ovens. These are the stars of the menu.

There are nearly 20 kinds of pizza available, served as 10-inch pies. Daily specials include Quattro Formaggio, Bronx Bomber (with spicy Italian sausage) and the Friday special of Cheeseburger Pizza. Some of the more creative choices include Pear & Gorgonzola and the Spicy BLT; in addition to the bacon, lettuce and tomatoes, it comes with shaved jalapeños, red onions and romaine lettuce tossed in caesar dressing. If you’re torn between two pies, half-and-half pizzas are available too.

In addition to the pizzas, Brixx serves appetizers, salads, sandwiches and pasta, and offers vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. There is also a kids menu – and be sure to save room for one of the many flavors of tiramisu or an Old-Fashioned Root Beer Float, crafted with the restaurant’s handmade draft root beer and two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

The commitment to freshness does not stop with the food. Brixx makes its lemonade in-house from fresh lemons, every day. Arnold Palmers (half iced tea and half lemonade) are one of the most popular drinks because of this, said Bokemeier. Fresh lemons also make an appearance in the margaritas.

Another selling point is reasonable prices, with only a few items on the menu exceeding $12.00. There are also daily and meal drink specials. These run all day long, rather than being confined to lunchtime or happy hour. On Mondays, domestic drafts are $1.95 a pint. There is, however, a late-night food happy hour starting at 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and at 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, when appetizers and pizzas are buy one, get one free. On Sundays, wine is half price.

This is also a restaurant that takes its brews seriously. The Woodbridge location boasts 23 craft beers on tap from many of the more popular, nationally distributed craft breweries such as Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams and New Belgium as well as Virginia craft breweries Devil’s Backbone, Port City and Lickinghole Creek Brewery.Prince William Living Jan 2015012015_Local Flavor_pepperoni pizza

Brixx holds a Pint Night every month, offering a discounted price on beers from the brewery of the month, chosen from local breweries. Tap takeovers are another popular event at Brixx, in which a brewery features their beers by “taking over” many of the taps on site.

Brixx is planning several new additions to its lineup including: a rotating local beer tap, a “metro” (metropolitan) rotator showcasing beers from farther-away, but still nearby, locales in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and, finally, a nitrogen-poured tap. Adding nitrogen gives beer a thicker mouthfeel and a more complex flavor. Bokemeier said his goal is “to have an always changing, dynamic beer selection. We want people to try something new every time they come in.”

“Probably the best feature about the Woodbridge Brixx is that the manager coordinates a lot of events revolving around beer, beer tasting, and beer trips to local breweries,” said Morrell.

Beer enthusiasts are also encouraged to earn their MBA (Masters of Beer Appreciation) at Brixx. MBA participants earn prizes for drinking different craft beers. After they drink 32 distinct brews (consumed responsibly over an extended period of time), participants earn a graduation party with $50 worth of pizza and appetizers. The program is a way to encourage patrons to break free from their comfort zone and try new flavors and brewers.

One thing you won’t find on the menu: beer in bottles and cans. All beers are served on tap, reducing the level of waste created at the footprint. Employees also try to recycle as much as possible. This fits into the company’s wider corporate citizenship, said Bokemeier, who noted that Brixx also gets involved in the communities it serves. Each location works with “local schools, churches, nonprofits and other charitable organizations to host ‘Brixx Buxx’ fundraising events,” according to the website. To learn how to organize a fundraiser visit brixx.com/fundraising or
stop by and talk to the staff for details.

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza is located at 14900 Potomac Town Place in Woodbridge. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. daily and closes at 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday. Closing time Friday-Saturday varies, but is typically 1 a.m. Call 703-878-3152 for day-of schedule information.

Paul Keily holds a degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Mary Washington. He is a freelance writer and serves as Prince William Living’s Online Submissions Manager. He can be reached at pkeily@princewilliamliving.com.

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