Artichokes. Fresh Pineapple. Olive tapenade. These are not the normal toppings that a child requests on their pizza, but my children were trying all of these at Vapiano! Vapiano at Reston Town Center is starting a Kids Pizza Making Class.
Walking into the closed restaurant at 9am on Saturday, the restaurant was spotlessly clean. The air smelled like basil and garlic. The few employees were quietly getting ready for the busy lunch hour. A large bowl of gummy bears was by the door with fresh flowers. We were greeted by a manager named Scott who directed us to a table set up with paper placemats, miniature glasses, and tall paper chef hats.
My children were asked to decorate their hats with their names while parents were offered soda or coffee. Scott gave a very brief overview of the restaurant, pointed out some fun facts on the place mat maps, and then asked all the kids to follow him. We were given a tour of the pasta room, the dishwashing area, the food preparation room, the dessert assembly line and the large walk-in refrigerator.
Scott then took us behind the long pizza counter. There, each child jumped on a leather ottoman and stood behind the pizza toppings and were given big balls of dough. Two employees assisted the class in making a flat pizza crust. The children added sauce themselves with a ladle. Then, the children could decorate and top their pizzas!
The toppings were fresh and high quality. There were colorful cut peppers, thick slices of pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, and more. There were also sauces including barbeque, pesto and mushroom cream.
The children were interacting with Luigi and a few other employees during the entire process. Luigi and his team were excellent with our children. He showed us how the pizzas were placed in the oven and then put on a plate with a large spatula. The children only had to wait about 5 minutes for their pizzas.
Each child made two pizzas. They were thin crust and approximately 10 inches in diameter. They were cut and brought out to the children at the tables. They were invited to have soft drinks and lemonade from the self-serve machine. Most children did not finish their pizzas and were given boxes to bring the leftovers home.
My children were very interested in the basil room next to our table. The basil room is a small enclosed area with over 100 basil plants that customers can help themselves to while eating. The smell is refreshing and new plants were being added while we were there.
The parents were very impressed with the organization of the event and class size (no more than 12 children.) Reston Town Center is very relaxed on Saturday morning and parking was very easy to find next to the restaurant.
We brought a 2 year old and an infant (in addition to our other 4 older children) and both were easy to manage because the restaurant is so large and open. No customers were in the restaurant during our entire visit which made it very relaxing for the children (and parents!)
The class is about 45 minutes long and $15/child. If you have more than 2 children, the price is capped at $30. The restaurant is an extremely easy place to dine with children. There are high chairs available in different heights depending on the size of your table. Both restrooms have changing tables. There is no kids menu but if you ask, the pizza maker will make your pizza shaped like a fish, bunny or heart. We plan to come back for weekend dinner soon.
Your best bet to find out when these classes occur is to email [email protected]. When I called the restaurant, I was referred to this email. I was then sent an invitation with the date and time of the next cooking class.
Photos by Andrea Verwys.