Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana has been open in Gaithersburg (12207 Darnestown Rd.) for nearly 7.5 years. As of this past Saturday, there was still a line into the parking lot full of eager diners hoping to get a table before the dough ran out for the night– something that’s a common occurrence for Inferno (see our video below). For those unfamiliar with the restaurant, it was opened by Chef Tony Conte in October 2015 after he spent nine years in DC’s Oval Room. Inferno specializes in pizza, but regulars will tell you that the appetizers are often just as much of a draw.
The restaurant is currently open four days a week– Wednesday through Saturday, from 5pm-9pm…or until the dough runs out. Sometimes that can be pretty early, so if you’re interested in getting a seat we would highly recommend getting there before the restaurant opens and lining up outside. If you want to eat the pizza at home, you can call in your order earlier in the afternoon and pick it up when the restaurant opens at 5pm to take with you, but even carry-out orders are limited to ensure enough dough for customers dining in each day.
When the restaurant first opened, there was talk of Conte seeking the Verace Pizza Napoletana certification, which establishes the pies as “authentically Neapolitan.” He’s strayed in an effort to make a more modern product. According to the Inferno website, there is an updated style of pizza, called canotto, finding increasing favor from, amongst others, the younger generation of pizzaiolos in and around Naples. Canotto translates in Italian to ‘dinghy’ or ‘inflatable raft’ – alluding to the airy outer ring serving as crust. A higher water content allows this dough to puff up and in places, bubble and char, whereas a more traditional Neapolitan pizza produces a flatter, breadier, more evenly-colored crust.
The restaurant was recently ranked as having the 25th best pizza in the country by 50 Top Pizza, a pizza evaluation site in Paestum, Italy, not far from Naples. Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana was the only Montgomery County restaurant to make the list.