Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.
The question I keep hearing lately is "Who will be the Chipotle of pizza?" Fast-casual pizzerias all over the country are clamoring for the title. In Southern California, Carl Chang's Pie-ology has a promising formula: a super thin crust and a dash of theatre. All pizza—no matter how many toppings you select—cost $7.50. A plain cheese runs $6.00.
The process begins with a fresh ball of dough placed into an industrial press—specially modified Pie-ology—where it is flattened and par-baked into an 12" ultra-thin disk. From there you can choose one of seven pre-selected combinations or just pick whatever toppings you'd like. They offer classics like pepperoni and mushrooms or fancier stuff like ricotta and fennel sausage.
I've tried a handful of pies and the cheesy #7 is my favorite. The crust is brushed with olive oil and then topped with aged mozzarella, powdery Parmesan, and tender leaves of artichoke hearts. I also add mushrooms, because it's free! From there the pizza goes into the fiery mouth of a 500-650 degree gas Wood Stone oven for about 2 minutes. When it emerges, all charred and crisp, it's finished with dollops of tangy tomato sauce.
The crust is not nearly as cracker-like as you might think. It's crisp, but tender, with a few charred bubbles. Not everyone loves it, but I've yet to meet someone who hates it. Pie-ology isn't trying to be Neapolitan or New York-style; nor is it a dry biscuit crust for the sake of affordability. It's a well-crafted thin crust pizza, aimed at the general population, served in a sleek Chipotle-esque environment. Someone's going to win the title. I'm rooting for Pie-ology.