I visited MOD Pizza at the recommendation of an independent Houston restaurant owner. "It's actually pretty good!" he said. "I can run in, get a pizza or a salad and get out of there quick for less than ten bucks." No one knows more about cheap, good, fast food than chefs and restaurant owners, the sad irony being that they rarely have time for a sit-down meal themselves.
He's right. It is good. "MOD" stands for "Made On Demand." It's a lot like Subway or Chipotle. Walk in, select a recommended pre-made combination or pick your own toppings from the many bins behind the glass counter. The MOD employees put together your pizza and bake it in a big oven in the back. It's usually ready in about five minutes.
There's nothing wrong with going with one of the "Classic Pizza" combinations on the menu -- in fact, it's a more stress-free experience. There are so many individual ingredients to choose from -- including five different sauces and as many cheeses -- it's a little overwhelming. Sometimes it's nice not to burn any brainpower figuring out if Gorgonzola is going to go with red sauce, pepperoni, artichokes and black olives. (Answer: Not really.) The full list of combos and individual toppings can be found at the MOD Pizza web site.
I tried the "Calexico" with red sauce, mozzarella, grilled chicken, jalapeños and Gorgonzola with buffalo sauce drizzled on top and enjoyed it. It was spicy without going over the top, and I prefer thin, crunchy crusts like the ones MOD makes.
A $4.47 Mini (a 6-inch pizza) is just right for a light meal or substantial snack, especially if you add a side salad. A simple one of mixed greens, roasted red peppers and asiago is also only $4.47 (and you can add additional ingredients to it, too). It's enough food for you to leave feeling satisfied, not overstuffed, and there's no box of leftovers to deal with later.
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Hungry people will want to go for the $7.47 regular size (11-inch) pizza. The crusts are super-thin and crispy, but there's a double-crust option available for those who want a thicker option. A word of warning: the thin MOD pizza crusts suffer if they're held in a box for too long. The accumulation of steam makes them less crunchy, so eat the thin crust ones at the shop if you can, unless your journey is going to be very short.
There's a few local beers on tap. There's nothing crazy, rare or heavy-duty to be found at MOD, but a Saint Arnold Lawnmower or Karbach Hopadillo are pleasant enough options.
There are two locations in Houston right now--10123 Louetta, which is the one I visited, and 5777 San Felipe. A Pearland location is slated to open in March at 2682 Pearland Parkway, closely followed by another in April at the intersection of Dairy Ashford and Westheimer. MOD Pizza is a good, fast food option for when time is short, a light meal is appropriate, or you just have a hankering for a little crunchy-crusted pizza made your way.