MOD Pizza to open two new tasty Boise restau­rants

The Idaho Statesman - - Food & Drink - BY MICHAEL DEEDS mdeeds@ida­hostates­man.com

With pizze­rias seem­ingly on every cor­ner, Boise some­times feels like it’s stuffed with ex­tra cheese and pep­per­oni.

That won’t stop a pop­u­lar Seattle-based chain from grab­bing its piece of the pie.

MOD Pizza, which has more than 390 lo­ca­tions in 28 states and the United King­dom, will open two new Boise restau­rants in 2019. It’s the com­pany’s first push into south­ern Idaho.

MOD will launch a 3,003-square-foot Down­town store at 390 S. Capitol Blvd., solv­ing the mys­tery of what’s go­ing into that va­cant lot next to Trader Joe’s. MOD also has signed a lease to open a restau­rant near Boise Towne Square. It will be on an out­par­cel ad­ja­cent to Cafe Zu­pas at Emer­ald and Mil­wau­kee streets, ac­cord­ing to MOD Pizza pub­lic re­la­tions di­rec­tor Char­lotte Wayte.

Both MOD Pizza restau­rants ten­ta­tively are slated to open in about a year.

MOD’s foray into Boise turns up the heat on cor­po­rate com­peti­tors such as Blaze Pizza, which op­er­ates in Ea­gle, Merid­ian and Nampa. It also of­fers a quick, mouth­wa­ter­ing al­ter­na­tive to de­liv­ery chains and higher-priced pizza par­lors. Founded in 2008, MOD helped launch the trend of Chipo­tle-style pizza des­ti­na­tions. “MOD Pizza crushed the com­pe­ti­tion” in a taste test of fast-ca­sual pizze­rias last year by In­sider, a life­style news web­site.

MOD — which stands for “made on de­mand” — cooks up “cus­tom, ar­ti­san-style piz­zas,” baked in an 800-de­gree oven and served “su­per­fast.” The menu in­cludes 10 clas­sic piz­zas or three clas­sic sal­ads. Or build your own. Just try not to be stag­gered by the more than 30 top­pings.

“Red sauce from scratch. House-roasted veg­eta­bles. Fresh in­gre­di­ents, all prepped daily to en­sure the most vi­brant fla­vors,” MOD ex­plains on its web­site. “We call it Af­ford­ably Ar­ti­san. And it costs one price no mat­ter what you pick.”

MOD’s most pop­u­lar pizza is the 11-inch MOD. It costs $7.97 at the MOD Pizza lo­ca­tions in Lewis­ton and Coeur d’Alene. There’s also a 6-inch Mini ($5.97) and Mega Dough ($9.97), an 11-inch, thick­crust pizza. MOD’s sal­ads are priced sim­i­larly: Choose from a Mini side salad ($5.97), MOD en­tree ($7.97) or Mega ($12.97), which serves two to four din­ers.

MOD of­fers a gluten­friendly pizza. There also are var­i­ous veg­e­tar­ian and ve­gan op­tions.

And no wor­ries, beer geeks. MOD un­doubt­edly will pour a few Boise beers. It’s all part of the restau­rant’s lo­cally driven phi­los­o­phy.

“Al­though we are grow­ing, we are fo­cused on cre­at­ing a se­ries of restau­rants, rather than a chain,” Wayte ex­plained. “In that vein, each store is de­signed with its lo­cal com­mu­nity in mind and has per­sonal touches such as art work and graph­ics cre­ated just for that store. When we open our doors, we choose a lo­cal char­ity that is do­ing great things in their com­mu­nity and we do­nate 100 per­cent of all pizza sales to that char­ity.”

The MOD Pizza lo­ca­tions in Boise will cre­ate dozens of jobs. In­ter­ested ap­pli­cants can check the MOD web­site or watch for job fairs, which nor­mally hap­pen about a month be­fore a store opens.

In Boise, MOD Pizza looks to be a pop­u­lar place to eat and to work.

“We’ve been rec­og­nized as the No. 1 mid­sized restau­rant chain in the U.S. in the Oc­to­ber 2017 Fish­bowl Buzz Brands Re­port,” Wayte said, “named as the most loved pizza brand by Food­able Net­work in its May 2017 Most Loved Brands Re­port .... ranked as Amer­ica’s fastest grow­ing chain restau­rant by Tech­nomic, earned a spot on the Inc. 500 list and ... rec­og­nized by For­tune as one of the ‘20 Best Work­places in Re­tail,’ a ‘Best Work­place for Women,’ a ‘Best Work­place for Mil­len­ni­als’ and a ‘Best Work­place for Di­ver­sity.’”

On­line: mod­pizza.com.

MOLLY PIPER Mod Pizza

The Caspian, one of MOD’s 10 clas­sic piz­zas, is topped with moz­zarella, gor­gonzola, bar­be­cue chicken, bar­be­cue sauce and sliced red onions.

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