The Dollar-Wise Gourmet: Pizza by Assembly Line

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At first, the build-your-own pizza concept seemed counterintuitive to me. After all, haven’t you always been able to choose your own toppings? But after visiting three local venues at the forefront of this new trend, the light bulb went on, and in a big way. Unlike traditional pizzerias, which charge extra for every ingredient you add, BYOPs offer unlimited toppings at one low price. Really? Yup. Three toppings or 33, it doesn’t matter. You don’t pay an extra cent. It may just be the Dollar-Wise deal of the year. How does it work? Think Chipotle. You get in line, order the sauce of your choice, then stroll along topping lane, calling out “artichokes” or “sausage” or “Gorgonzola” while your behind-the-counter server dutifully decorates your personal pie and fires it fast. If you don’t feel like working that hard, you can order one of the “signature” pizzas and tweak it (or not). Sound fun? It is. 

BLAZE PIZZA

10325 Fairway Drive, Roseville; blazepizza.com

LOOK AND VIBE: Large-ish, modern, super-clean, friendly service

PIZZA SIZE: 11-inch

CRUST: Thin, crispy and perfectly golden

TOPPINGS: 7 sauces and finishes; 6 meats; 6 cheeses; 16 toppings 

SPEED: 180 seconds (it’s fast-fired)—the zippiest of the three I tried

COST: $7.75 for BYOP (unlimited toppings) and signature pizzas; $6.25 for one-topping pizzas; $5 for a simple pie (mozzarella, Parmesan, red sauce)​

 

PIEOLOGY

1020 16th St.; pieology.com

LOOK AND VIBE: Sleek, open, industrial feel; perfect for urban midtown

PIZZA SIZE: 11.5-inch

CRUST: Thin and perhaps cooked too long; mine was slightly blackened on the edges. But here’s a plus: There are 3 to choose from: housemade, whole wheat and gluten-free.

TOPPINGS: 7 sauces; 7 meats; 5 cheeses; 15 toppings 

SPEED: 5 minutes in a brick oven

COST: $7.95 for BYOPs and “Pieologist’s Favorites” (signature pizzas); $6.45 for the Easy Cheesy (red sauce, mozzarella and olive oil)

 

TRADEMARK PIZZA

1485 Eureka Road, Roseville; trademarkpizza.com

LOOK AND VIBE: Warm, cozy, packed with customers. (Good luck finding a table during the lunch rush.)

PIZZA SIZE: 9-inch, 10-inch (gluten-free), 11-inch 

CRUST: Slightly thicker than the others, with a chewier texture

TOPPINGS: 7 sauces; 9 meats; 9 cheeses; 23 toppings 

SPEED: 3–4 minutes (fast-fired)

COST: $7.99 for 11-inch (BYOP or Trademark Originals); $6.79 for 9-inch; $9.99 for gluten-free