- Jessica Elizarraras
Fast casual dining has hit the pizza landscape and San Antonians are no strangers to it. Quicky Wood Fired Pizzas opened early this year, and Urban Bricks has been been adding locations since 2015 across the nation, with more than 100 franchise locations in the works throughout the U.S. and Canada.
And just like its fast casual brethren in Chipotle and the like, fast casual pizzas aim for speed at a generally inexpensive price point, but where burritos can be cobbled together in less than a minute, fast-casual pizza asks you to wait on baking times and well, other customers. We all know my feelings on knowing your pizza topping order.
The newly opened 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza, which also launched in 2015 in New Jersey, is giving San Antonians more options in a bumpin' area, and so far, local franchisee Ashley Andres has a winner.
We stopped by for a weekday lunch and the former home of Fattboy Burgers is nearly unrecognizable. The bones are there, but the location ditched a kitchen in place of a massive wood-fired oven that makes the namesake pizza in less than two minutes. Unlike Urban and Quicky, 1000 Degrees features several sizes to choose from: a Roman flatbread, along with 10-inch and a 14-inch options.
The menu features a handful of pre-designed pizzas, and a DIY option (and unless you KNOW what you're getting on your pie, don't hold up the line).
I chose The Philly, topped with a balsamic onions base, mozzarella, and thinly sliced rib-eye and added green bell peppers and black olives (toppings are unlimited!). The pie could have used a drizzle of cheese sauce to keep in line with a true Philly cheesesteak it was emulating, but the balsamic added a touch of tartness and sweetness, which helped balance the pie. And my pizza builder from across the glass handled the pie efficiently even though it was her second day on the job. The sausage pepperoni build-your-own pie option my lunch companion created was a classic take. Both pizzas nailed the crispy-crunchy crust with a good char.
A true highlight came via the pesto fire-roasted wings, also available in Buffalo, smokey bourbon barbecue, and garlic. Juicy and with a suitable crunch, the wings were coated with enough pesto to distinguish themselves, without getting soggy.
We'll have leftovers for days, but if you're smart, you'll order a pie while at neighboring Big Hops and share with friends. Pizza and craft beer, what more do you want?