With &pizza, the local pizza parlor gets a social-impact makeover. The rapidly growing company, launched in 2012 in Washington, D.C., by Michael Lastoria, is by definition a chain—34 locations spread across D.C., New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Philadelphia—but no two stores are the same. Every time he opens a new shop, Lastoria confers closely with the surrounding neighborhood to make sure everything about the location—from its decor to food collaborations—reflects the community.
The thing that remains consistent across &pizza, though, is its commitment to equity. All employees, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds and haven’t been afforded good career opportunities, are paid a living wage and provided healthcare. Lastoria has been a vocal supporter of the $15 minimum wage movement, going so far as to campaign for it on Capitol Hill. The approach is good ethics, but it’s also good business: Many &pizza employees feel so loyal to the company that they get a tattoo of its signature ampersand.