UPDATE: This pizzeria has closed.
In my experience, resistance is futile when it comes to pizza – unless I’m told I am going to get Brussels sprouts on a thin crust! I have yet to find the magic of thin crusts – I like the pie crust to be thick, fluffy and pillow-like, and comforting all-around. As for the Brussels sprouts, I used to eat them when we lived in Britain, and I was not a fan (to put it mildly). We mainly ate Brussels sprouts as a side dish on Christmas Day, when they were boiled, seasoned, and paired with crispy bacon for extra flavor and texture. Disguised by the bacon, the Brussels sprouts failed to make culinary sense to me, and I found them pale, gloomy, and not charming in the slightest.
I had to revisit my opinions on Brussels sprouts and thin pizza crust last week, when I was invited to taste MOD Pizza’s seasonal offering: the Sienna pizza. Before this visit, I was unfamiliar with the MOD Pizza brand, and apprehensive about eating Brussels sprouts on a pizza. However, a quick Internet search made me uncover several positive reviews on the topic, and I became anxious to see what the enthusiastic buzz was all about. 🙂
For this review my family and I chose to visit the Elmhurst IL MOD Pizza restaurant, where we were welcomed by manager Bryant Keogh and his team. This place has been open for over a year now, and judging from the online reviews, it has managed to gain quite a loyal following.
MOD Pizza was founded in Seattle in 2008 and is a representative of the fast casual pizza trend. MOD artisan-style pizzas are made on demand using fresh-pressed dough and signature sauces, and customers can choose from over 30 toppings at no additional cost. All MOD pizza crusts are vegan, and there are also plenty of dairy- and gluten-free options available, to satisfy customers’ needs and preferences.
As you can see from these pics, the amount of toppings is nothing short of insane – in a good way, of course!
Available now through September 30, the Sienna features Brussels sprouts, red onions, mushrooms, mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheeses with a hint of rosemary and a dash of garlic rub. For my review I ordered two Siennas: the MOD, which had a thin crust, and the Mega, which had a double thin crust with sauce and cheese in-between.
Can Brussels sprouts on thin crust be delicious? Having tried the Sienna, the answer is a resounding yes! This pizza took me by surprise and shook my preconceptions. The roasting made the Brussels sprouts sweet and mild and provided them with an additional layer of flavor, which they usually lack when they are boiled. Moreover, their pairing with the mushrooms and the two cheeses was a perfect match, which helped the pie to stand out and deliver in new and satisfying ways. The artisan thin crust was baked to perfection in the MOD 800 degrees oven: slightly crunchy and not at all chewy, it made me reconsider my long-term allegiance to thick crust. It really was that good!
We tried a few other pizzas during our visit, and our number #2 favorite was the Tristan variety. As a big fan of roasted red peppers, I wanted to see how well they would work with the pesto – and I was not disappointed. This pizza was vibrant, luscious (thanks to the decadent melted mozzarella and the assertive asiago), and a winner overall!
MOD Pizza has locations in 17 states and has been commended for its community involvement and purpose-led culture. During my visit I was pleased to hear from manager Bryant Keogh about their ongoing collaboration with local educational institutions. With a community-driven mission that strong and a product that good, I’m sure my family and I will visit MOD Pizza again soon. 🙂
MOD Pizza is offering Chicago Loves Panini readers the chance to win two free pizza coupons to be used at one of their locations.
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and answer the following question: Thin or thick crust? Which one is your favorite, and why?
Giveaway open to US residents only. One entry per person. Deadline for entries is 6PM central time on September 30th, 2016. One winner will be chosen on or around October 1st, 2016 by using a random number generator and will have 72 hours to respond to the winner notification email. I reserve the right to pick an alternative winner if the original winner does not contact me 72 hours after receipt of winner notification email.
*Disclaimer: MOD Pizza offered me a complimentary tasting of their products to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed here are my own.