ZACH C. COHEN / THE EAGLE
Update: June 30 at 2:49 p.m.
Armand’s lost power June 30, like much of Tenleytown. It will reopen July 1 if it regains power, according to a sign posted on the pizzeria’s front door.
After nearly 40 years in business, the original Armand’s Chicago Pizzeria is closing its Wisconsin Avenue location on June 30.
Increasing rent, food costs and local competition all played a role in the decision to close the restaurant, co-owner Ron Newmyer said.
Armand’s rent is around $12,000 a month, more than 45 times the original cost from when the pizzeria opened in 1975, according to Newmyer. However, the price of their pizzas, has not even doubled from $7.95 to $13.49 for a large cheese deep dish.
“It became kind of impossible to go on,” Newmyer said. “We are not in a financial condition to continue.”
The pizzeria became the first to introduce Chicago style, deep-dish pizza to the District in 1975. Since then, Armand’s also created Washington’s first pizza delivery service and food truck, and played host to prominent figures such as Barack Obama, Chelsea Clinton and Amy Carter.
Armand’s was previously located on AU’s campus for a decade, prior to the McDonald’s in the tunnel. After learning that the space is vacant once again, Newmyer added, “Who knows, maybe we’ll end up back at AU.”
The other Armand’s locations in Silver Spring and Rockville will remain open, along with Armand’s franchises and catering service. Newmyer said he hoped someone will buy and takeover the restaurant, or move it to a new location in Tenleytown. However, there are no set plans for the soon-to-be vacated space.
“It’s the original one, so it’s very emotional,” Newmyer said. “Very difficult to lose.”
Alexander Robinson, a recent graduate of Kogod Business School, worked at Armand’s as a delivery driver during his senior year.
“I enjoyed working there because I could always eat there. And it’s dedicated to a great customer experience,” he said. “I will definitely miss Armand’s a lot.”
However, not all are sad over the closing of the longstanding pizzeria. Junior in the School of Public Affairs Jen Holthaus said her Key Bank debit card information was stolen at the restaurant. Both she and her friend experienced numerous charges on their cards a couple days after visiting Armand’s, according to Holthaus.
“I had a terrible experience [at Armand’s],” she said. “More than anything, I don’t want other students to go out for pizza and end up losing hundreds of dollars.”
When asked about any fraudulent activity, Cal Everett, another owner, said Armand’s fell victim to hackers last fall. They were able to steal money by breaking into the restaurant’s Point of Sale system.
“As soon as we found out, we overhauled our whole system and operated manually for a while,” Everett said. “But unfortunately we were 10 days late.”
Everett said that they hired a professional tech company to eradicate any fraudulent systems. The cost of this repair, however, was expensive and did not help the restaurant’s financial condition.
Armand’s had insurance against this sort of criminal activity, and didn’t receive any fines or penalties for the incident, Everett said.
Key Bank did not respond in time for publication after multiple calls.
Staff writers Alex Greco and Zach C. Cohen contributed to this report.