Chain Reaction: We Try Subway's Flatizza

Chain Pizza

Reviews of pizza at chain restaurants.


[Photographs: Dennis Lee]

Flatizza. Just try to say that out loud. It looks easy, but it took me three tries to say it to the sandwich artist over at my neighborhood Subway. If you couldn't figure it out by the name, a "Flatizza" is Subway's version of a pizza, done their way. Er, your way. The recipe is simple: Take one of the flatbreads they use for flatbread sandwiches, swirl some pizza sauce on it, and top it with cheese, veggies, and/or meat. Pop that sucker in one of their quick toaster ovens, and voila, you've got some kind of pizza thing! thing.

Of course, as your adventurous culinary bullet sponge, I thought it'd be a terrific idea to order each one of them. There's plain cheese ($2.50), veggie ($2.50), pepperoni ($3.50), and spicy Italian ($3.50). If you're looking for a deal, you can get 2 for $5. And by the way, Subway is my new favorite fast food restaurant mostly because I can order a "yoga mat sandwich." But don't fret—Subway's making amends and is reformulating their bread recipe to make it more natural.


So far, so good. It looks more or less like a pizza. Crust, sauce, cheese. It's cut into square slices, just like many of the pizzas we eat here in Chicago.


Things start unraveling pretty quick. Here's your obligatory undercarriage (or as I like to call it, "pizza creeper") shot. The Flatizza is supposed to be crisp, but the bread is as flexible as kick-punch action star Jean-Claude Van Damme atop a pair of Volvo trucks.

The first thing you'll notice when you bite into it is the amount of sugar in the sauce. It's about as sweet as ketchup. I don't know about you, but I don't enjoy ketchup on my pizzas. The cheese is rubbery and dry, while the crust is chewy, gummy, and not crisp as advertised.


Would meat help the situation? I bit into the pepperoni Flatizza to find out. The fat and the salt from the pepperoni seems to help the candy sauce a bit, but not enough for my taste.


Would more meat help the situation? The spicy Italian version adds salami along with pepperoni in an attempt to put more flavor in every bite. The answer, sadly, is no. If you blindfolded me, and tried to get me to discern between the pepperoni and spicy Italian, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. But why are you blindfolding me and putting Subway-style pizza in my mouth, anyway? Life is full of mysteries.


If I had to pick, the veggie Flatizza is the one I'd go with. You're allowed to choose what you want, like green peppers, black olives, red onions, and giardinera. The veggies add fresh crisp texture, and spicy giardinera on a pizza is always a good thing. I briefly considered ordering all the vegetables on my Flatizza, but I decided the sandwich artist might not comply with my request. That, and baked iceberg lettuce and cucumbers seemed like a bad (read: awesome) idea.

My roommate and I decided that the Flatizzas taste kind of like the pizzas we would get in the dorms in college (over 10 years ago now, ugh), the ones that the dining halls made for drunk kids late at night. And have you guys ever made quick little pizzas at home on pita bread, you know, with jarred sauce, some Hormel pepperoni, and cheese? You could say that Flatizza is sort of like the even faster food version of those.

The Subway Flatizza box proudly advertises that their product is where "Cheesy & Delicious Meets Crispy & Square." And hey—it is definitely both cheesy and square.