PIZZA 120 // THE NEXT BIG CHAIN? // D.I.Y. PIZZA QUICKLY

Contrary to the popular slogan, beef is not for dinner. Pizza—it’s what’s for dinner.
The USDA reports that 1 in 8 Americans consume pizza on any given day and adults consume their slices at dinner. Yes, we love pizza and why not? It’s affordable. It’s a crowd pleaser. And it’s downright danged delicious. Pizza could easily be the perfect meal. Nutritionally speaking, it has potential to serve up a healthy, balanced plate providing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Optimum word being: potential. Yes, the nutrient quality falls short on most, but the taste does not. Tuscaloosa’s newest eatery, Pizza 120, located at 501 15th Street, brings a new approach to casual pizza pies satisfying everyone’s taste buds. David Kahn, founder of Yogurt Mountain, is the owner and creative mind behind this new restaurant chain. Kahn transitioned from yogurt to pizza, bringing the same build-your-own concept. Customers create a pie choosing from a variety of dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings. The-10 inch pizza is cooked in a large rotating oven for 2 minutes or 120 seconds. Just enough time to pay the ticket, get drinks, and have a seat. The Italian imported oven can prepare up to 14 pies at a time while reaching upwards of 800 degrees. Prices range from $5.99 to $7.99 for a single 10-inch pies. The menu also offers a build-your-own salad and customers have the option of sipping on a cold beer or a glass of wine.
Since the beginning of summer, I had been anticipating the grand opening of Pizza 120. The simple concept of creating my own pizza had me a little excited. One week after they lit up the open sign, my husband and I went for a visit. The restaurant has an easily accessible location being on the east side of 15th street next to Replays Gameware & DVDs. The interior is presented as a modern day pizzeria, somewhat cheapened with the demanding black and red walls, floors, and furniture. The ordering line mimics that of Subway’s, displaying all of the fresh ingredients. Before we approached the line, the manager greeted us and proceeded to explain the pizza making process. He also pointed out a menu offering several traditional and specialty pizzas. The first on the list was a cheeseburger pie made with cheddar, beef, onion, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. Though intrigued by the menu, my husband and I had come to create. Both of us chose the signature dough made to portray an authentic Italian pizza crust. Sauce choices consisted of tomato, pesto, and Alfredo. On one half of my pie was tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil. Fresh mozzarella has quite a different flavor and texture when compared to shredded processed mozzarella. I encourage you to try it. The other half stayed classic with tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella and sliced pepperoni. The employees were quiet and reserved, but polite. After creating our pie, we paid the cashier, made drinks, and found a booth. It was midafternoon and the restaurant was nearly empty so seating was ample. The same employee who prepared the pies delivered them to our table. Two sizzling hot pizzas were set in front of us and immediately taken away once the server discovered the missing basil. In a matter of seconds, the savory smell was back. Melting cheese was still bubbling from the quick trip to the oven. The heat from the pie exaggerated the sweet aroma of the basil leaves. The first piece slid smoothly off of the plate. Strings of cheese stretched from plate to mouth without a snag. The texture in each bite was soft, no crispy or crunchy crust. In fact, the crust was rather underwhelming to be labeled as a signature item. No real contributions came from the crust, other than to be used as an edible utensil. During each bite excess grease drizzled down my hand. The only issue I had with that was lack of paper towels on the tables. Unashamed, I devoured the whole pie.
Obviously, I enjoyed the food and I love the concept. However, the restaurant’s layout and design choices took away from the overall experience. I felt as if I were just sitting in a shiny fast food joint. And this is why I am thankful for a call-in and carry-out option! Let us know where you are eating by tweeting us @ThePlanetWeekly

Cindy Huggins is a registered dietitian nutritionist and local “foodie”. Follow her on tweeter @DietitianCindy

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