Sunday, July 12, 2015

Comparing Fast Casual Pizzas

Ever since Chipotle's build-your-own fast casual concept became popular others have tried to copy the concept. Most popular has been the pizza version. Here in the Sacramento region I've now tried three different ones, Pieology, Blaze Pizza, and now Blast Pizza

The first out the gate was Pielogy, the only one that's managed to find a location in The Grid. Then Blaze launched in Gold River, Davis, and Roseville shortly after. Blast Pizza is out in Rocklin.  After having now tried all three, I'm ready to compare. 

Blast Pizza

Pieology's crust is made using a pressing machine to flatten out dough balls to make the crust. I found it a suitable crust for what the place is, fast processing of  customers' orders. Thing is, dough is tossed and stretched for a reason. Stretching pulls the gluten threads and makes the crust more tender. Rolling or pressing, then, obviously makes a tougher crust.

What I immediately thought about Blaze Pizza's crust was that it was like cardboard. My least favorite of the three. Both of these very thin crust versions made for quick cooking in the ovens. 

Blast Pizza's was the best. They use hand-stretched dough that is made daily and then set ready, much like Michael Johnson of The Pizza Company does for his mobile pizza oven. This crust is thicker, thus taking longer to cook in the oven than the other two. But it was definitely the best of the bunch because of its being thicker and stretched. 

All three do offer gluten-free crust, but none of them have "clean" situations to keep things away from the flour around the kitchen. Therefore, celiac disease sufferers probably shouldn't eat at any, while gluten intolerant people should be cautious. 



Pieology does not offer a spicy version of their red sauce, the other two do. They did have a fiery buffalo sauce, but that's not the same to me as I don't like buffalo sauce. I liked the chunkiness of the spicy sauce from Blast, it looked flavorful.  


Pieology and Blaze offered ricotta, which I really like on pizzas, while Pieology and Blast had feta. If you are a mozzarella fan, Blast wins out not only with the shredded mozzarella, but also smoked and fresh ball mozzarella. All three do offer vegan cheese.


All had an abundance of toppings, with less at Pieology and most at Blast. What was a big difference at Blast that I really enjoyed was the assortment of spices to sprinkle on top.  I actually tried a few, putting New York spice on a third, Blast seasoning on another, and Hot Spice on the last. They also had basil growing in pots in the restaurant and when I asked for fresh basil on my finished pizza, it was like they had just cut them off the plants.

Blast Pizza


As a personal preference of ranking, I definitely thought it was Blast as the best and Pieology and Blaze as being pretty much tied. Blast wins because of the better crust, the large assortment of cheese and toppings, and finally with the selection of spice blends to add at the end. Pieology had better crust than Blaze, but Blaze had more toppings and spicy sauce. 

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