Tuesday, July 28, 2015

MOD Pizza Food Review

Turns out, I am MOD too. The popular Seattle pizza chain's motto is straight-forward, and evidently contagious (in a good great way.) It didn't take long to fall in "heavy like" with MOD Pizza, which opened their first DMV location in downtown Silver Spring earlier this month. At first glance, it's just another in a long, long line of fast casual pizza makers; but as you add topping after delicious topping, completely void of disapproving glances... MOD starts to stand out from the rest, falling just behind &Pizza and Blaze Pizza for best-in area.

Whether it stays there, remains to be seen: Customer service is absolute key in this type of business, and it's easy to fall off the wagon. Lucky for this MOD, it operates under the very watchful eye of a manager/owner who sat just in front of me, engaging customers and following the movements of his employees. That takes a lot of energy to maintain, and it runs the risk of annoying said employees; but if he can find (then walk) the perfect line, MOD could potentially leap to the front of the pack.

How come? It's all in the pizza. $7.87 for any pizza with unlimited (seriously, pick each one if you're crazy/greedy enough to do it.) It's darn big too (11") with a crispy, light but sturdy crust that sets it apart from everyone else. That doesn't make it the best, mind you; but it's a great way to stand out in a crowded market. The toppings are tossed on with liberal ease. Even three meats (mild and spicy Italian sausage, pepperoni) didn't raise an eyebrow. I added sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, roasted red peppers and to-die-for jalapeƱos to the standard MADDY (MOD red sauce and shredded mozzarella) option. All the while, the assembly line of employees stood with smiles and encouragement... a very appealing view from where I (and all other customers) was standing.

View from my table in the back

The next step is paying (more smiles) and $10.43 later (including a fountain drink and sales tax) I was sitting in MOD's spacious back dining area, waiting for my name to be called. They don't deliver to your table like Pizza Studio, but that allows you a chance to apply finishing touches (don't forget chopped basil.) The restaurant itself looks small at first; but dig around, and it's deceivingly roomy with lots of tables (including a few on the sidewalk patio.)

As for the pizza... wow doesn't begin to cover it. The crust is very, very thin, yet holds a mountain of toppings without bending a bit. The toppings are plentiful and sublime... and the addition of jalapeƱos eliminates the need for crushed red peppers (or any spice for that matter.) Best of all, you're able to fold it NY-style if you like... or eat as is (a rare combo, especially with a paper-thin crust.) Said toppings stay hot, to the very last bite; and it's easy to devour it super-fast, so be careful (and slow down, if necessary.) It took me all of five minutes (I'm an enigma.)

The negatives are few: I'd prefer to see housemade mozzarella (not shredded) there's no Wi-Fi and the bathroom was quite messy. Then again, MOD uses crushed ice for their soda pops, so... it seems to balance out, right? Bottom line: Few places make as good a first impression, especially in Silver Spring (BurgerFi leaps to mind, but that's about it.) I'm excited and hopeful (again, sustaining customer service is paramount) about MOD's future; but rest assured, if they keep this up... I'll be back again and again and again.

Atmosphere: B- (Industrial chic? Lots of seating)
Crust: A (Best thin crust around.)
Toppings: B+ (chorizo, pineapples... the list is endless, not to mention delicious.)
Service: B+ (Fast and efficient, with plenty of smiles to boot.)
Value: B+ (Did I mention unlimited toppings?)
Overall: B+ (This close to an A-, but it's only a few weeks old. Looking forward to next month.)