Words & Deeds

MOD Pizza is coming! Tasty chain to open two new Boise restaurants, heat up competition

The Caspian, one of MOD’s 10 classic pizzas, is topped with mozzarella, gorgonzola, barbecue chicken, barbecue sauce and sliced red onions.
The Caspian, one of MOD’s 10 classic pizzas, is topped with mozzarella, gorgonzola, barbecue chicken, barbecue sauce and sliced red onions. Mod Pizza

With pizzerias seemingly on every corner, Boise sometimes feels like it’s stuffed with extra cheese and pepperoni.

That won’t stop a popular Seattle-based chain from grabbing its piece of the pie.

MOD Pizza, which has more than 390 locations in 28 states and the United Kingdom, will open two new Boise restaurants in 2019. It’s the company’s first push into southern Idaho.

MOD will launch a 3,003-square-foot Downtown store at 390 S. Capitol Blvd., solving the mystery of what’s going into that vacant lot next to Trader Joe’s. MOD also has signed a lease to open a restaurant near Boise Towne Square. It will be on an outparcel adjacent to Cafe Zupas at Emerald and Milwaukee streets, according to MOD Pizza public relations director Charlotte Wayte.

Both MOD Pizza restaurants tentatively are slated to open in about a year.

MOD’s foray into Boise turns up the heat on corporate competitors such as Blaze Pizza, which operates in Eagle, Meridian and Nampa. It also offers a quick, mouth-watering alternative to delivery chains and higher-priced pizza parlors. Founded in 2008, MOD helped launch the trend of Chipotle-style pizza destinations. “MOD Pizza crushed the competition” in a taste test of fast-casual pizzerias last year by Insider, a lifestyle news website.

MOD Pizza lot
MOD Pizza plans to open a restaurant in this vacant lot next to Trader Joe’s in Downtown Boise. Michael Deeds mdeeds@idahostatesman.com

MOD — which stands for “made on demand” — cooks up “custom, artisan-style pizzas,” baked in an 800-degree oven and served “superfast.” The menu includes 10 classic pizzas or three classic salads. Or build your own. Just try not to be staggered by the more than 30 toppings.

“Red sauce from scratch. House-roasted vegetables. Fresh ingredients, all prepped daily to ensure the most vibrant flavors,” MOD explains on its website. “We call it Affordably Artisan. And it costs one price no matter what you pick.”

MOD’s most popular pizza is the 11-inch MOD. It costs $7.97 at the MOD Pizza locations in Lewiston and Coeur d’Alene. There’s also a 6-inch Mini ($5.97) and Mega Dough ($9.97), an 11-inch, thick-crust pizza. MOD’s salads are priced similarly: Choose from a Mini side salad ($5.97), MOD entree ($7.97) or Mega ($12.97), which serves two to four diners.

MOD offers a gluten-friendly pizza. There also are various vegetarian and vegan options.

And no worries, beer geeks. MOD undoubtedly will pour a few Boise beers. It’s all part of the restaurant’s locally driven philosophy.

The interior at a MOD Pizza at Roscoe Village in Chicago. It opened in 2017. Michael Courier MOD Pizza

“Although we are growing, we are focused on creating a series of restaurants, rather than a chain,” Wayte explained. “In that vein, each store is designed with its local community in mind and has personal touches such as art work and graphics created just for that store. When we open our doors, we choose a local charity that is doing great things in their community and we donate 100 percent of all pizza sales to that charity.”

The MOD Pizza locations in Boise will create dozens of jobs. Interested applicants can check the MOD website or watch for job fairs, which normally happen about a month before a store opens.

In Boise, MOD Pizza looks to be a popular place to eat and to work.

“We’ve been recognized as the No. 1 mid-sized restaurant chain in the U.S. in the October 2017 Fishbowl Buzz Brands Report,” Wayte said, “named as the most loved pizza brand by Foodable Network in its May 2017 Most Loved Brands Report .... ranked as America’s fastest growing chain restaurant by Technomic, earned a spot on the Inc. 500 list and ... recognized by Fortune as one of the ‘20 Best Workplaces in Retail,’ a ‘Best Workplace for Women,’ a ‘Best Workplace for Millennials’ and a ‘Best Workplace for Diversity.’ ”

Oh, and in case Trader Joe’s shoppers are wondering? With the exception of one extra space created by MOD Pizza’s construction, there won’t be any parking added to the area.

Cruise into a Downtown parking garage and walk. It will help burn off some of those pizza calories.

Online: modpizza.com.

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