The latest addition to the mix is Pizza Studio, a Los Angeles-based create-your-own fast casual pizza concept. It's slated to open at 565 San Antonio Road in early June, and the team is also eyeing a space on California Avenue in Palo Alto (the deal has not officially been struck, so stay tuned for details).
Pizza Studio elevates pizza to the level of art; the restaurant's tagline is "Create your masterpiece."
"We utilize a Chipotle-like production method where, rather than tortillas sliding down the production line, it's a very thin crust pizza," said Jeff Burrill, the regional developer for Pizza Studio.
This means 'za lovers can choose from five pizza crusts (traditional, whole grain and flax seed, rosemary herb, "firecracker" and gluten-free), four sauces (tomato blend, basil pesto, tangy BBQ and extra virgin olive oil) and four cheeses (grated mozzarella, crumbled feta, shaved parmesan and crumbled goat).
When it comes to toppings, the sky is the limit ? they're unlimited for $7.99 and range from typical veggie and meat items to broccolini, banana peppers, genoa salami, turkey fennel sausage and more. Spice addicts can add chipotle or garlic powder, Jamaican jerk, Old Bay seasoning or truffle salt. View the full menu here.
Every 11-inch pizza (the only size offered) is finished with Italian herbs and brushed with garlic olive oil. Arugula, basil and balsamic glaze can also be added.
If custom isn't your thing, there's also pre-set "starving artists" pizzas for $5.99 (a margherita, pepperoni, veggie, white and "island").
Pizza Studio ovens bake from both the top and the bottom very quickly at 600 degrees, meaning the personal pizzas are ready within two minutes, Burrill said.
"They're much easier for us to install," he added. "We think that these provide us not only speed but consistency in baking. It'll come out equally baked, top to bottom, and just perfect every time."
And because Pizza Studio does, in fact, emulate an art studio, every outpost provides wall space for local artists to display and sell their work, commission-free.
Burrill was brought in by Pizza Studio co-founders Samit Varma and Ron Biskin to develop 25 new restaurants throughout the Bay Area. Burrill is also a managing member of Pangenera, LLC, a multi-unit developer of the Panera Bread chain.