Feb 2015

Chain Reaction: Battle of Los Angeles’ Fast-Casual Margherita Pizzas

pizza collage

If there’s an empty storefront in your neighborhood strip mall, chances are that a fast-casual pizza joint will be occupying it shortly — that is, if one hasn’t already set up shop. In recent months, a parade of customizable pizza establishments has marched across the Southland, offering an assembly line of meats, cheeses, vegetables and herbs for pizza-goers to mix and match according to their individual palates.

PizzaRev - Pasadena

Southern California-based concepts — including Blaze, Pieology, 800 Degrees and PizzaRev — are going head-to-head with out-of-state contenders like Live Basil and MOD Pizza for market share and diners’ dollars. With so many brands entering the market, seemingly overnight, it can be nearly impossible to distinguish one build-your-own pizza place from the next.

Blaze - Pasadena

Examining the major players by assessing their basic margherita pizzas reveals the essential differences between them. Comprised of just tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil, set on a thin and blistered crust, this Neapolitan classic requires pristine ingredients, sound techniques, and a blazing hot oven. When it comes to pizza, it’s often the simplest ones that reveal the most about an establishment.

800 Degrees Margherita

I ate my way through seven local fast-causal pizza joints (so you don’t have to) in my latest piece for the Los Angeles Times. Read on to see which slice reigns supreme: “L.A.’s fast-casual pizza shops: A look at 7 margherita pizzas.”

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One thought on “Chain Reaction: Battle of Los Angeles’ Fast-Casual Margherita Pizzas

  1. Looks like there’s some Darwinism in store for this sector of food commerce – esp., given the market trends of fast pizza we are experiencing and how the curve is behaving. (I try to watch an Indie movie every week and I’m in disbelief of all the people in line at Blaze.)

    PS: Thanks for the beautiful pics!

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