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.
Pie-ology516 N. State College Blvd. Fullerton, CA 92831 (map)
About the author: After nearly a decade in Brooklyn, Kelly Bone landed back in Los Angeles where she writes The Vegetarian Foodie. She spends the rest of her time designing office cubicles... you might be sitting in one right now! Follow her on Twitter at @TheVegFoodie