I know I am really late to the build-your-own personal pizza craze but yesterday Sidney and I finally got around to jumping in. We ate at the premiere player in the individual artisan-style pizza creation business, MOD Pizza, and I must say it was excellent.
Before I write about our experience, let me offer a quick story. At my mom’s family Italian restaurant, there was a personal pizza on the menu. Customers could choose one complimentary topping but then would have to pay $.75 per additional topping. My uncle on my dad’s side of the family would always order the pizza off the menu and wouldn’t let the extra topping charge deter him. He would order almost every topping the restaurant offered, easily paying double the menu price of the actual pizza. Because he loved the Pastime Cafe’s pizza pies so much, he just didn’t care about running up the tab.
But a lot of other people do. When ordering pizza, many people will opt for pepperoni when really they would prefer a five meat pie. Many people will order a regular veggie pizza when they really want to add a few gourmet toppings on it as well.
Hello MOD Pizza! The chain’s business model is simple: Customers pay $8 for an 11-inch pizza and have the pleasure of adding however many number of toppings they please.
Sidney and I ate lunch at MOD Pizza here in Myrtle Beach on Saturday. Right when we entered the restaurant we picked up on a vibe. It could just be the Myrtle Beach location, but MOD Pizza seems like a progressive, edgy business. As we stood in line, the wall to our left was covered in a collage of diverse employees and customers. The actual staff working at the restaurant also fit the bill of the photos on the wall. It seemed evident that Mod Pizza lets employees be themselves whether that means having green hair, lots of tattoos, or numerous piercings. The only thing more diverse than the people of Mod Pizza would be the food offered!
Customers can choose between a classic pizza that already has listed ingredients/toppings or they can go completely rogue and build their own. Sidney went with a classic pizza, opting for the Dominic (white sauce, asiago, fresh chopped basil, red onion, sliced tomatoes, mild sausage) while I decided to build mine from scratch!
MOD Pizza is set up like a mission burrito joint. You go up to the counter and all the ingredients and toppings are laid out between where you initially place your order and where you pay. The first employee asked me what I would be ordering. I told him I would be building my own MOD creation. He asked me what sauce I wanted and I told him pesto. He then asked if I wanted cheese (is that even a serious question?). After he layered my pie with mozzarella, a different employee asked me what types of meat I wanted. I opted for grilled chicken and spicy chicken sausage. Next came vegetables and I got corn (yes, corn is a pizza topping at MOD pizza). I was then asked if I wanted any of the more eclectic toppings. I requested roasted garlic.
After the ordering and topping selection is complete, you pay. For our two pizzas and a drink that we shared, we paid just under $20. More on if it was worth it or not later. Once the transaction was made, the pizzas were thrown into the oven.
Within five minutes, our names were called and we were handed our pizzas. They looked beautiful! They also looked really big too. We knew immediately that we wouldn’t be eating our whole pies during our lunch date. Presentation and size are important factors but nothing matters more than taste. What did we think of our pizza?…
It was absolutely delicious! Let me put it this way, MOD Pizza sure beats Pizza Hut or Domino’s. The flavors our taste buds immediately enjoyed from our first bites impressed us. Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that we didn’t burn our tongues upon digging in. Each bite was incredible and the wood fired thin crust was perfect. The cheese was a masterful consistency and the toppings were adequately cooked. The word “gourmet” really does characterize the pizza offered at this place.
When Sidney and I eat Chick-Fil-A or burritos, it seems that our bill always runs close to $20. With this comparison in mind, I would say the value of MOD Pizza is excellent. Like I said, the portions are huge. We both ate just half of our respective pizzas. When we eat at a burrito joint, we are never taking any leftovers home. More importantly, just the quality of the food at MOD Pizza is above average. Sidney and I both felt we were getting what we paid for. This was reinforced when we ate some of our leftovers for lunch today. The best food always tastes better the next day and this holds true for Mod Pizza.
I highly recommend MOD Pizza. The business model is sound and the food is great. Make sure to give it a try. Don’t Blink.