By on 12 September, 2016 in Food, Kate and Stephen, Restaurant Reviews with 0 Comments

IMG_2775We get a lot of media advisories here at MML, and we delete most of them. We make fun of some of them, because their embrace of PR-speak often approaches the level of incomprehensible word salad. So when we were invited to an exclusive media preview meal at the new Pieology Pizzaria out next to where the Whole Foods is (allegedly) going to open next month, we were a little skeptical. Did we really need a pizza that “reflects our unique personality” served in an “industrial-chic and friendly environment where inspirational quotes decorate the walls, menus and employee uniforms?”

Still, we do love pizza, and we always like to check out new places in town, so we signed up.

Turns out, the place has more of a relaxed vibe than we expected. The staff were extremely friendly and welcoming, and the concept (it’s a franchise) is actually kind of cool. It’s like a Moe’s or Chipotle, sort of, but for pizza and salad. You go down the row, customize your food, and they make it for you. For pizza, you pick a crust (they make them in house), move down the line choosing sauces, toppings and even “after sauces,” then they go into an insanely hot oven for just a few minutes, emerging surprisingly fast. The salad situation’s the same, with your choice of greens and such.

A few key things are worth noting about this relatively simple experience. There are no freezers in the kitchen. That means that all of the ingredients are fresh, and therefore full of their intended flavors. You have a wide variety of options, ranging from the typical (mushroom, green pepper, onion) to the slightly more exciting (artichoke hearts, which are already diced up for you so that you don’t struggle with the eternally important topping-to-slice size ratio). There are also better-than-normal beverage options, with a wide range of tea flavors on tap (and beer to come, pending liquor license).

We ordered two pizzas and split a salad, and noted that the prices are pretty reasonable for the amount of food you get. We could really imagine young children enjoying this place due to the fun of customization (and the availability of an astonishingly sweet dessert pizza option). The only potential drawback to the ordering experience is if you happen to get behind someone who is indecisive, paralyzed by all of the options. That didn’t happen to us on this trip, but it could be possible, especially if someone is staring at their phone instead of ordering efficiently.

In retrospect, we wished that we’d tried one of their preexisting templates for a pizza so that we could offer an opinion, for example, Alfredo’s Alfredo: olive oil, a three cheese Alfredo sauce, Parmesan, mozzarella, garlic, mushrooms, artichokes, basil, and grape tomatoes. But we were a pretty drawn in by the lure of customization. Jalapenos! We even threw a little Gorgonzola on one of our pies! We also probably should have tried something other than the marinara, but the tempting “white sauce” of the Alfredo pizza can wait for next time. One of us made the mistake of putting barbecue sauce on her pizza as an “after sauce, “which was not (as it turned out) to our taste. Pro-tip: Be careful with what you drizzle on an otherwise-perfect pizza.

Overall we thought the place was pretty great. The crusts were thin and crispy, but not too cracker-like (as with the reprehensible Domino’s thin crust, which is like eating junk mail), and the toppings were fresh and delicious. It’s clean, modern and inviting. We don’t go all the way out to the east side frequently, but we will absolutely hit this place next time we are out there.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with two cats, a dog, ten fish, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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