Critic’s Special: MOD Pizza

With 200 locations around the U.S. and a fast growing presence in the Midwest, MOD Pizza brings the build-your-own pizza concept some refreshing perspective. As another new location opened in Columbus Saturday, Another Food Critic was invited to take a look inside.

This Seattle-based pizza chain is simple, almost minimalist. You  build your own individual-sized pie from a choice of 30 toppings, all clean ingredients from green peppers to artichoke hearts, bacon, ham, and plenty of other great ideas. Then, the pie is fired in a gas-powered oven until the crust is crisp and the toppings glistening.

“Patrons can quickly make custom personal pizzas to fit their unique preferences at an affordable price,” said Scott Womack, president of Womack Restaurants which owns the Columbus-area franchise locations. The spot has local art adorning the walls, and it’s the third such location with an Ohio flair in Capital City.

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I brought along the uber-healthy Journey of Life to see what kind of pie she might like. Our end results ended up pretty vastly different — I picked a simple, classic mish-mash of spicy sausage, roasted red pepper, garlic and tons of oregano, salt and pepper, while she opted for a veritable mountain of fresh veggies. Both ends of the spectrum, though, the result was pretty good!

The secret is in the ingredients themselves and how they’re placed on the pie. There’s a strong push for clean ingredients — for instance, the shop doesn’t offer banana peppers because they have dye in them — and its suppliers come from specialized small operations in Wisconsin, Chicago and some other places. The location is likely to have a few taps for local beers, as many other do in this Washington-based chain.

Better yet, the pizza is put together right — put things like Spinach on first to prevent them from becoming dried out. Then the chunkier veggies form a nice top barrier that keeps the pie from getting soggy. That crust really firms up well in the oven.

For $8 bucks a pop, you get a pretty filling meal, and you’re likely to have a few leftovers too. This place makes for a really great experience.

Recommendations

  • You don’t have to build a pizza out of scratch if you’re feeling a bit lazy. There are a series of pie suggestions on the menu that you can go off of — and of course build your own.
  • Veggie heavy pizzas are a special kind of treat in this concept, and if you like things healthier you will find plenty of things to put in the pizzas here that aren’t too greasy.
  • There are some great in-house iced teas and lemonades, too. But the local beers on tap are really very impressive too.
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