The newest creation from Chef Adam Fleischman, founder of the Umami Restaurant Group, has hit Westwood in the form of gourmet fast-food pizza place, 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria. The restaurant opened its doors in Westwood Village on January 2, 2012, and has been welcoming steady business ever since.  

Restaurant-goers are presented with a pizza assembly line (imagine Chipotle but with pizza toppings), where each pizza is custom-created to the customer’s desire.  The raw pizza is then put into an 800-degree oven, and 60 seconds later is ready for consumption.  he pizza, advertised as “Neapolitan,” is doughier than typical pizza and is eaten with a knife and fork. Customers can request a crispy pizza option if desired.  

Other menu items include specialty pizzas, salads, L.A. Creamery Gelato, beer, wine and soft drinks, all moderately priced. The prices are cheap if you order one of “The Classics,” which range from $5.15 for a pizza containing only marinara sauce, to $6.45 for a “Pizza Margherita,” but there is a $1 charge per each additional topping, which adds up quickly. For a classic pizza with three additional toppings and a soft drink, customers are looking at around a $12 meal. So is it worth it?

My experience at 800 Degrees was extremely enjoyable. The atmosphere of the venue, a room with high arching ceilings, vintage pizza box decorations and tables draped with white tablecloths, mixed the fast-food atmosphere with a pleasant dining experience. I ordered a Pizza Margherita with mushrooms, which was ready in about 3-4 minutes and served on a large plate. The crust was thin and doughier than average, and definitely needed to be eaten with a fork, but was in no way undercooked. The pizza was quite good and had a unique taste. Size-wise, one pizza is a little much for one person, yet not quite enough for two, so be prepared to take home leftovers.   

800 Degrees also has a state-of-the-art Coca Cola machine, which may be even cooler than the make-your-own pizza. The machine, Coca Cola Freestyle, has a touch screen which offers over 100 flavor options that customers can mix and match to create the perfect soft drink. We’re talking Peach Sprite, Coke Zero with Orange, Raspberry Coke… the options are endless.  

Overall, I would say 800 Degrees is worth a visit. The pizza is good, the prices are low, the experience is unique, and the Coke machine is awesome.

The Umami Restaurant Group will also be bringing a fast-food version of Umami Burger to Westwood in Summer 2012, titled U-Mini.  U-Mini will take the place of Spudnick’s on 1131 Westwood Boulevard.  

800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria is located at 10899 Lindbrook Dr., Los Angeles, CA , and is open 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily. For more information, call (424) 239-5010 or visit 800degreespizza.com.