Calling all pinball wizards

New Bethesda pizzeria offers tasty eats and old-school entertainment

Miriam Minsk, Editor-in-Chief

Since VÜK’s May opening in Bethesda, Md., authentic New Yorkstyle pizza and pinball are only a short drive away from the Upper School campus.

VÜK is located on St. Elmo Avenue, in the slightly older part of Bethesda. It’s a small restaurant, seating 64 people, and is filled with bright neon signs across the entire front window. The restaurant’s atmosphere is playful and mimics an arcade, with pinball machines lined up against the wall and seating both indoors and outdoors under an awning. The lighting is dark, but the restaurant has a very comfortable and casual environment.

VÜK offers counter service with a few pizza selections including plain cheese pizza, pepperoni, veggie and sausage. The pizza, which was already made by the time I ordered, took less than five minutes to heat up.

I found the staff at VÜK to be very welcoming. They explained that there were only a limited number of pizza selections because “less is more” and focusing on fewer options allows them to provide the best New York-style pizza experience. There were only two people working behind the counter when I visited, and one of them brought my food to my table when it was ready, even though it is a counter-service restaurant.

I got one slice of cheese pizza and one slice of veggie, both of which were outstanding. I savored the crunchy crust and thick sauce in my mouth. There was the perfect amount of cheese on each pizza slice, and the vegetables’ flavors were strong. Because the toppings were so well balanced and flavorful, it was definitely some of the best pizza I’ve eaten in the area.

Aside from pizza, soft serve ice cream is the only other food on VÜK’s menu, and it is mouthwatering. Their ice cream is organic, from Trickling Springs Creamery. I got the chocolate flavor, which was very rich, and a little salty as well. It, along with the two slices of pizza, made for a very filling meal.

But what really sets VÜK apart from other pizza joints are the pinball machines. They have everything from classics like “The Twilight Zone,” to newer machines like “Game of Thrones.” A few dollars worth of quarters will bring you entertainment after your meal. Don’t worry about bringing quarters; they have a change machine there.

When I went to VÜK it was not too crowded; a few people were eating and some were enjoying themselves at the pinball machines. While I did not find the noise from pinball to be overly loud, I believe it could be distracting to some. But if an arcade-like feel is what you’re looking for, VÜK is definitely the place to go.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience at VÜK, both their New York-style pizza and their polite staff members. I would recommend VÜK to anyone who’s looking for a few slices, or a pie, of delicious pizza in a casual atmosphere.