UPDATE: This pizzeria has closed.
With a baby at home and demanding jobs outside the home, who has time to dine out? Not me nor my husband, that’s for sure. We haven’t had the chance to go out in what seems like forever, and sometimes I do miss the free time I once used to enjoy. Thankfully, 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria has recently come to our rescue, when we were invited to the opening of its newest restaurant in Evanston, IL.
After opening its first California location in January 2012 to rave reviews, 800 Degrees has been turning out, on average, 800-1,200 pizzas per day, serving 300,000 pizzas in its first year from a single location (wow!). 800 Degrees is also credited with starting the “assembly-line” pizza phenomenon. I couldn’t wait to be a part of this phenomenon myself, so I gladly accepted the invitation to check out their new location. It was an offer I simply couldn’t refuse 🙂
One of West Coast’s hottest pizza concepts, 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria serves wood-fired pizza in elegant surroundings at an affordable price. Each build-your-own pizza is prepared to individual guest’s liking and baked in about 1 minute in an 800-degree wood-burning oven, right before their eyes.
One of the things I like about the 800 Degrees concept is that it allows guests to interact with the workers at every step of the pizza making process. As you can see, there was plenty of interaction when we were there, at the official opening.
As mentioned above, the 800 Degrees menu highlights a “create your own” assembly line concept, which allows the guest to choose their own crust (original Neapolitan, crispy, or gluten free), base (margherita, bianca, marinara, and verde), and toppings – a variety of 14 proteins, 9 cheeses, and no less than 21 vegetables.
The concept looks great – but how well does it deliver? Of course, I had to try the pizza to be able to answer this question. The first pizza my husband and I tried was the one whose name had caught my eye from the very beginning: Angry Bee. Bursting with soppressata, garlic, Calabrian chiles and honey, it was an interesting, albeit unusual combination for me.
I didn’t feel the heat at first, but when I did – oh wow, what a surprise! The chiles went really well with the honey, and the pizza was neither unbearably hot nor unreasonably sweet. Extra points for the heat element – as well as for the delicious cheese!
For the second pizza we tried, we decided to stick to a classic pie, so we picked quattro formaggi with smoked provolone, parmigiano reggiano, gorgonzola and fontina cheeses. I am not a fan of thin crusts, however the crust of this particular pizza was definitely to my liking. Soft and not too chewy, it almost melted in the mouth and constituted the perfect foundation for the moderately assertive cheese flavors.
I couldn’t leave without a visit to the gelato stand. Stracciatella, vanilla, pistachio, biscotti etc. – so much to try, so little time! In the end I chose dulce de leche, one of my all-time favorites. I enjoyed the velvety texture of the gelato and it scrumptious sweet flavor. Maybe it was not the lightest end to a meal, but it certainly was one of the yummiest.
We had a great time at the opening of the new 800 Degrees location and we intend to go back for another pizza night. As you know by now, I’m a big pizza fan and I think nothing beats a well-made pie. I will return to 800 Degrees because it offers me the perfect opportunity to satisfy my pizza cravings, to please the gourmet in me – and to enjoy life a little bit in the process 🙂
*Disclaimer: I was not compensated by 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria for writing this review. All opinions expressed here are my own.