Restaurant News & Reviews

First Impressions: A new pizza place in midtown Sacramento

Customers line up to choose the toppings for their personalized pizzas at Pieology on 16th Street.
Customers line up to choose the toppings for their personalized pizzas at Pieology on 16th Street. Bee staff

First Impressions visits dining spots in the region that are new or have undergone recent transitions. Have a candidate for First Impressions? Email us at taste@sacbee.com.

You’re broke. You’re famished. You’re a picky eater. You love thin-crust pizza but are not really into all that hoity-toity ridiculousness, like artisan quality and minimalist toppings.

If that’s you, you’re probably Pieology’s target audience.

Indeed, in this age of Neapolitan pizza in which the dough takes two days to ferment at Masullo and of the more-is-better-crowd that goes ballistic when encountering a mere smattering of pepperoni or prosciutto, Pieology has come to the rescue. You line up, and you can customize your pizzas all you want – and the price never goes up. You choose your crust, your sauce and your toppings – lean, mean or massive.

The Pieology experience feels very much like what you encounter at Chipotle, the taco and burrito chain where you select your ingredients. Pieology makes things as simple as can be. Chiopotle seems to have better-quality ingredients, however.

The new Pieology has been drawing solid crowds since it opened on the grid Nov. 18. There’s plenty of excitement and anticipation, but these pies are not for everyone.

Menu: There are seven pizzas available with predetermined toppings, including a basic cheese pie, one with a variety of meat and another with plenty of pop, featuring cayenne-seasoned chicken. But the real star of the show is customization. If you’ve ever felt like pizzerias add things you don’t like or nickel-and-dime you to death when you ask for extras, Pieology has you covered. One friendly employee let it slip that you can get all of the toppings – all, as in dump the whole thing on the dough – and not pay a nickel extra. There are two salads available.

Price point: $8 to $10 for an 11.5-inch pizza. This is the most impressive feature of Pieology. It’s hard to find a decent pizza under $10. The premium quality pizzas in this category in Sacramento are in the $13-$17 range.

Ambiance: Very bright and open. Plenty of seating. The overall feel can be a little sterile.

Drinks: When we visited, the beer and wine license was still pending.

First impressions: If you’re a pizza snob, turn around and walk away. This is not for you. Pieology is less about the pizza and more about marketing, They’ve dialed in the price point and have created an experience that puts the power in the hands of of the consumer. Go ahead and make your own pizza. They’ll bring it to your table pretty quickly.

The eating experience, however, was ho-hum at best. The pizzas are made within minutes in a high-heat oven. The crust is thin and crisp and has little to no character. The red sauce is middling and a touch sweet. There was plenty of sweetness on the two in-house pies we ordered. The cayenne chicken pie was spicy-hot but surprisingly bland. The toppings are ample in variety but the quality is mediocre at best. If you like things that are too salty, too sweet or too bland, there is something available for you. Throw them all on one pie and it could be fun, might be tasty but, more likely, might make you appreciate Hot Italian, Masullo, OneSpeed, Zelda’s, Trick Pony, Hook & Ladder and more, but those very good pizzas are all significantly more expensive than the $7.95 customized pies at Pieology.

Service: Friendly and efficient.

Try it if: You want pizza at a great price point, and you like to take charge of what toppings go on your pie.

Forget it if: You are a student of quality pizza and appreciate the many pizza places nearby that serve significantly better pizza, and you’re willing to pay for it.

Call The Bee’s Blair Anthony Robertson, (916) 321-1099. Follow him on Twitter @Blarob.

PIEOLOGY

Where: 1020 16th St., Sacramento

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

Information: (916) 447-1695

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