I am a huge fan of Umami Burger and what they’ve done to elevate the common hamburger. So when I heard that Umami creator Adam Fleischman’s next venture would involve pizza, I was giddy with anticipation. 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria finally opened in Westwood Village last month. It’s a cool looking restaurant and I love the concept: assembly line pizzas that are custom made on the spot with high quality ingredients. It’s kind of like Subway, but nicer and with pizzas instead of sub sandwiches. After your pizza is assembled, it goes into a super-hot 800 degree oven where it fully cooks in about 60 seconds. You can also design your own burrata cheese appetizer or salad. Sounds great, right?
But here’s the problem: as much as I wanted to love 800 Degrees, I didn’t particularly care for the pizza. First of all, I didn’t like the crust. There’s a sign when you walk in advising that the crust is intentionally not crisp, but soft and chewy. I don’t mind soft and chewy, but the center of the crust was very soggy and I just didn’t like its flavor. Furthermore, I don’t recommend taking out unless you like cold pizza because apparently the quick cooking time results in a very quick cooling time. I did like the toppings, especially the freshly cut meats and the pappadew peppers, but I thought 800 Degrees was too stingy with their dispersement. If a pizzeria is going to charge you for a topping, it should make sure you’re getting at least a piece of such topping on each slice, which was not the case with some of the pizzas I got.
Nevertheless, I predict great success for this future chain due in great part to the fact that the food is priced very inexpensively. Pizzas are only $5 or $6 plus $1 per topping. The pizzeria is located right near UCLA and it’s already a big hit with the budget-minded students. Since it just opened, I’ll check it out again in a few months to see if I like it any better.
800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria is located at 10889 Lindbrook Ave., Los Angeles (in Westwood Village).