Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar: Pizza with a Different Hue

Marc Hembach spoke with Inside Loudoun about Sterling’s new Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar offering effusive and precise insight into every detail: the menu, the craft beers and cocktails, the size, shape and operation of the ovens, top of the line pasta maker, the restaurant’s rooftop view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the table side panoramic sunsets through the restaurant’s giant windows. Marc is the General Manager of this third Malone family Fire Works enterprise, the first of which has been in Leesburg for about 14 years followed by a second in Arlington. The Malone family also owns Tuscarora Mill and South Street Under Restaurants and Birkby House in Leesburg and Magnolias at the Mill Restaurant in Purcellville.

Marc was a customer at the Leesburg Fire Works when, struck by the “ambience of the place and the happy staff”, he decided to apply for a job. Three years in, he realized he was still the new guy working with a fiercely loyal staff, some with 30 years tenure, in an industry with notoriously high turnover. Five years in, having moved from Host/Server to Assistant General Manager in Leesburg, he was offered General Manager in Sterling. Marc had grown up in Sterling wishing there had been a place that could please everyone, where folks could sit down to family style pasta on Sundays. ”There’s nothing more communal than pasta in an age lacking interaction,” Marc says. People wanted a new Fire Works with the same pizza, service and setting they were used to but with a “different hue”.

The menu is similar to Leesburg’s Fire Works with the same pizzas and toppings but all prepared in a bigger and different shaped oven. The flavor comes from the fire – white oak, kiln dried. Marc says pizza shouldn’t flop, the toppings shouldn’t overwhelm the crust, there should be balance. The dough at Fireworks sits for 24 hrs while it matures so it rises better than with a shorter rest. The pizza is spread right as you make the crust. They care about a synchronized consistency which he called a “ballet”. Both the pastas (semolina and water) and the pizza dough are vegan.

Marc’s tried and true favorites are the Macaroni Casio & Pepe. Butter and Italian cheeses make the sauce like an adult macaroni and cheese. The Beer Braised Pork Pappardelle is another. The pork is braised in IPA beer overnight then lathered in a white wine and butter sauce with fresh basil from their own garden beside their patio seating. The Lasagne Bolognese is hand cut beef bolognese, Italian fonduta and parmesan all in layers. Favorite pizzas are the Sweet Heat Pizza with house blended cheese, chorizo, pepperoni, jalapeños and Mike’s hot honey drizzle and the Tartufo Pizza with white sauce, house blend cheeses, brie, grana padano fontina, a mushroom blend, oregano, white truffle oil and optional added bacon.

There are about 20 craft beers on the menu, as well as wine and cocktails. Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 3pm to 6pm, and do stay to check out those expansive table side sunsets.

Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar; 21475 Epicerie Plaza Suite 100, Sterling, VA 20164;; 571-313-0020

Category: Eat, Featured