“Menchie’s CEO to debut fast-casual pizza concept”
Yeah, that headline didn’t catch my attention either. Another businessman entering the quick service assembly line pizza game is old hat these days. Executive Chef Peppe Miele is another name I glossed over. Then I saw Senior Chef, Mario Vollera, and immediately booked my visit to MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza.
Mario and I met in the kitchen at Il Piccolo Ritrovo back in 2013. Standing over a mixer we talked dough hydration, tomato selection and fermentation times… Later that year I ran into him again at his own pizzeria, South End, pouring outstanding wines and slinging one of my favorite pizzas in all of Los Angeles. In my experience, any restaurant where Mario Vollera is found makes a guaranteed good pie.
MidiCi is the first assembly pizzeria in Los Angeles to challenge 800 Degrees’ Neapolitan* domination. Hand stretched dough runs down the line on a wooden peel where topping—price per item, this isn’t an unlimited affair—are selected from a colorful offering. Some of my favorites include purple kale, bosc pears (these are from the salad station, but work well on pizza), fingerling potatoes and pistachios . Midici offers a Udi’s gluten free crust (not vegan) and Daiya Mozzerella (vegan).
*Side note: I’ve done an unhealthy amount of research into this trend and have come across three district styles of Assembly Line Pizzerias:
1) James Markham-style: Pressed Dough, unlimited topping (Mod, Blaze, Project Pie, Pieology, Pizza Rev…)
2) Family Style: Thick dough, unlimited topping (Uncle Maddio, Top That!)
3) Neapolitan: Hand stretched dough, wood fire oven, price per topping (800 Degrees, Persona, Firecrust)
“So, what makes MidiCi different from 800 Degrees?” we asked CEO Amit Kleinberger.
Kleinberger leans in, “Are you done with this pizza?” he asks, hand hovering over our half eaten pie.
“Um, yes?” I respond. He picks up a slice and hold it vertically, a tail of dough and topping dangling limply.
“You see that! If this was 800 Degrees all the topping would be sliding off.”
He is correct.
The interior of MidiCi is a standout. With a soaring wood beam ceiling, olive trees and brass accents throughout. But the high end touches don’t creep into the menu prices. A plate of wood fire-roasted vegetables is $5.00, the Red Marinara pizza is $6.50 (+$1 per topping) and the wine list runs between $6 to $9 a glass. With an aggressive franchiseing plan already in place, MidiCi is playing a trump card in the assembly line pizza game.
MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza
14612 Ventura Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 91403
All food hosted.