It was a blustery Christmas Eve and my son Quinn and I had just completed our annual last-minute gift-buying frenzy when we pulled into the Mukilteo QFC to pick up a few things for dinner.
That’s when I saw something merry and bright out of the corner of my eye: a MOD Pizza sign.
It was like an early gift from Santa. Pizza was exactly the hot buzz we needed.
Peppy music greeted us from the outside speakers as we hustled in from the cold. Inside we were greeted warmly by not one, not two, but three pizza artists behind the counter.
MOD Pizza has been busy since it opened in November, but we hit it at a good time. There were only a few diners inside. Pizza isn’t exactly a Christmas Eve dinner tradition.
I had been wanting to go back to MOD Pizza since I wrote a review in June 2016 about the Lynnwood location. At that time, I went to buy pizzas for a newsroom meeting with about 20 people. I had never been to a MOD, where the biggest pizza is 11 inches, cut in four slices. So I ordered 14 of them. That’s right — 14! By the time I got to the newsroom 25 minutes later, the pizzas were cold. Readers took me to task for it and rightfully so. They said I should try it again. And do it proper. Basically, they said: Go there. Choose your ingredients. Eat it hot.
It’s that simple.
MOD stands for “made on demand.” It’s based on Chipotle or Subway-style customization that lets people order at the counter and select the ingredients on their crust.
Go down the line and choose the sauce (red, white, pesto, garlic, ranch, olive oil), meat (pork, beef, chicken, anchovies), cheese (feta, ricotta, dairy-free) and veggie (the usual things, plus kale, artichokes, broccoli and cauliflower).
You watch it being done, so you can ask for a little more of this and a little less of that. Or a lot. They will pile on whatever you want. For real.
The pie is then put in the oven. It’s hip, hot and hasty.
According to the website, MOD Pizza was founded in 2008 by Scott and Ally Svenson in Seattle. Inspired by their search for quick, affordable, wholesome options for their growing family, they came up with a way of doing pizza so everyone could get exactly what they wanted.
Yep, the husband and wife were onto something. There are now MOD Pizzas in more than 20 states and the U.K. There are more than 40 MOD Pizzas in Washington.
An 11-inch pizza or entree salad is $8.27. A mini-MOD or salad is $5.27. A mega-MOD with double crusts or family-sized salad is $11.27. A pizza salad, where you create your own salad on a warm crust, is $10.27.
Signature pies include Lucy Sunshine, with mozzarella, parmesan, artichokes, garlic and dollops of red sauce; Calexico, with Gorgonzola, chicken, jalapenos and hot buffalo sauce; and Dominic, with white sauce, basil, asiago, red onions, tomatoes and sausage.
Mukilteo already has good pizza, such as Lombardo’s Pizzeria, Spiro’s Pizza & Pasta and Brooklyn Bros. Pizzeria. A town can never have enough pizza, right?
I asked an expert, New York native Tom Sacco. New Yorkers are pizza snobs. Sacco is a big fan of Brooklyn Bros., and since he lives between Everett and Mukilteo, he goes to both locations.
He said MOD comes in second place.
“I love MOD Pizza,” he said. “The pizza is fresh, it’s good, it’s crisp. The guys and women who are there are energetic. They believe in it and that just carries through.”
He and his wife like to take their grandchildren there, and everybody gets what they want.
For himself, he orders a pizza with onions, sausage and anchovies. He eats it there dripping hot, always with a cold beer. “Even if it’s 11 in the morning,” he said. Draft beer is $4.97 a glass and $11.27 for a pitcher.
I left the ordering on our MOD visit to Quinn. He’s a vegetarian, so I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about anchovies on the pie.
He chose the Dominic, with mushrooms substituted for sausage; the Kane (sans pepperoni) with red sauce, mozzarella, Gorgonzola, sweet hot peppers, spinach and red onion; and something with pesto and veggies, dribbled with balsamic vinegar.
The large casual dining room has metal stools and duct work overhead as a design accent. It’s a sleek, bright, fun place, but we had hungry family members waiting at home. We zipped over to QFC for a few things, including beer, and were back in time to bring hot pies home, much to the delight of my husband and daughter.
We each got a piece of each pie. The crust was crunchy, not doughy, with a nice blend of toppings.
My only complaint about MOD Pizza: It’s so good there wasn’t any left over. Not even a sliver to leave for Santa.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; email@example.com. Twitter: @reporterbrown.
What: MOD Pizza
When: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.