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Top This! Chipotle-style pizza restaurant now open in Los Gatos

The fast casual trend seems to be catching on lately. Any thoughts as to why? (An evolution of the chain restaurant, engagement between the diner and the preparer? etc.) Also...anybody try Top This! yet?

https://www.facebook.com/TopThisPizzaCo

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  1. In what way is that like Chipotle?

    Build in Berkeley makes you choose your own toppings. I don't like that approach, would probably go there more often if they had a normal combo alternative.

    1. Would it be unfair to suggest that this customization fad is another example of the millennials' narcissism?

      2 Replies
        1. re: Glencora

          I rather think it's the effect of a huge sector of the upper middle-class of the valley working long hours but also caring about nutrition/portion sizes. Also - no one does delivery out here.

          Now taste of course matters, but on a weekday I'm looking for something that:

          1. Is single portioned
          2. Where I can control what is in it
          3. The ingredients seem relatively fresh/relatively local/relatively ethical (e.g. whole foods test)
          4. Will allow me to get home quickly and not have to do any dishes
          5. Where parking is super super easy

          Honestly, the choices when I get off work and don't want to cook, and don't want a sit down meal are basically Jack in the Box, Chipotle, Panda Express or waiting at home for 45 minutes for Round Table. I could also try and brave the Los Altos Whole Foods right when everyone else is ALSO trying to brave the Whole Foods.

        2. I don't understand. What pizza places don't have you choose what toppings you want? I mean, there is always the preset menu, you know, the supreme, the veggie, the BBQ chicken, what have you, but picking your own toppings on a pizza is pretty much old news.

          What's different here other than it being much faster?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Violatp

            Their model makes more sense to me than Build's. The pizza's $8 flat price, so you're not going to end up with too much stuff piled on, a soggy crust, and a steep price. They have eight combos, so you don't have to choose if you don't want to.

            http://topthispizzaco.com/menu/

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Thanks Robert...you also have a choice of crusts, cheese and meats; and end up with a personalized pizza pie in the process. It is faster -- takes about 3 minutes. Apparently this model is already thriving in Southern California with restaurants like Pieology.

              https://www.facebook.com/pieology

              http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/ne...

              1. re: kristinebautista

                Three minutes if they don't get backed up. The oven can only cook a few at a time.

          2. I might be in the minority, but a large part of the appeal of Chipotle to me is that I can get a hot meal that is pretty much just lean meat and veggies.

            1. I wonder, would "Chipotle-style" be a plus or a minus to most people?

              1. This build-your-own pizza concept is really taking off. Pieology opened two weeks ago in San Jose and is planning on opening in Berkeley and The Pizza Studio is planning 25 Bay Area locations.

                http://www.pieology.com/
                http://pizzastudio.com/index.html http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancis...

                1 Reply
                1. This is inane --- pizza is always "build your own". In terms of speed, "zpizza" in Mountain View was very fast and seemingly the same concept - but closed - and I like Razzo's in Oakland (High near 580) which is super-quick (some kind of convection oven high tech, the opposite of 900+ degree wood)

                  How does the pizza taste? All else is marketing hype

                  (and, as much as I detest a chain, if I don't know the local taquerias, I will take a barbaca chipotle burrito)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: bbulkow

                    They're selling individual-size pizzas. Maybe that's a trend.

                    Giving you your choice of toppings for a fixed price is also something different.

                    1. re: bbulkow

                      How does the pizza taste? It was pretty bad, about on par with frozen pizza on all counts. Kinda doughy/chewy crust and poor and skimpy topping quality. It just didn't really come together. I hate to sound harsh against a mom and pop, but they're not an ordinary operation. They plan to aggressively expand into rather pricey mall spots and would be better served to fix their product and overall experience. As it is, they're no match for Pieology on every count - food, service, ambiance.

                      I had Pieology today, and that was a much better experience - the crust was thin and crispy, better topping quality, and the whole package just tasted better. It's still fast food of course, but it's analogous to Chipotle - cheap, fast, and consistent. It's also fun for the average diner to see their food prepared right in front of them in a place built exactly for that purpose.

                      1. re: Jon914

                        I've tried Pieology and PizzaRev and they are not bad, for what they are. We have them in the office for birthdays & it's great for one of our people who has celiac's. For me, the thinner the crust, the less insulin I need to take

                    2. Went here Sunday - there are a lot of options for different sauces, crusts, and sprinkles in addition to the normal choices of toppings. If you have particular tastes, you could probably create a pizza to exactly your taste. Even so, it would be completely without soul. An authentic pizza might be an oxymoron, but none of the teens staffing this joint are going to care if your pizza comes out perfect or meh.

                      1. Note on the fast casual trend - tried Asian Box in Town & Country ( ha - I am somewhat behind the trends) and far prefer the flavors to Spice Kit. Flavors are fresh and a good mix of citrus, green, and chili. Not amazing mind you - but Chipotle good. Meat portions are a bit small.