MOD Pizza

We tried MOD Pizza in Scottsdale recently. They have been open door only about one-month so far.

MOD Pizza is a new restaurant concept that follows the recent trend to build-your-own pizza. It’s literally a Subway sandwich shop but for making pizza. And, it’s somewhat fancier. We’ve tried several of these places for pizza. The notable differences were that MOD Pizza has a double crust pizza option as well as a single-serving size. The double crust option is a little strange. imagine if you will taking a thin crust pizza with cheese and throwing another thin crust pizza on top.

Even so, it was quite good. My only suggestion would be that the pizza could use a few more minutes in the oven. But, that’s a personal preference. I like mine crispy.

MOD Pizza also serves beer and wine, and has a huge assortment of salad options. You won’t leave hungry!

Getting there

It is located in the shopping center with Safeway, and across from a McDonalds on Scottsdale Rd. North of Shea Blvd.

Liberty Market

On Saturday we had the good pleasure of finding ourselves in Gilbert, AZ. One of my favorite downtown areas in the east valley. There’s something special about the old water tower, the splash pad under it, and the cool restaurants.

liberty market entrance in gilbert arizona

Liberty Market has been a personal favorite for years, and it’s almost always our first stop when we pass through Gilbert. Liberty Market is a restaurant and coffee bar, that has an almost idealistic setting, and delicious food.

liberty market

We sat outside on the Liberty Market patio, which is shaded by nice big umbrellas. On this particular day in April, we were marveling at the amazing weather.

liberty market lunch menu

We ordered the following: The burger of the day, which was a 8 oz patty with ham and cheese on top, a wood fired sausage pizza, a sweet potato muffin, a chocolate and salt treat, as well as the house-made chai latte. After lunch we ordered two espresso drinks from the menu, including a Cortada and an iced almond-milk mocha.


Phew! Sounds like a lot, but we downed it because of our enormous appetites.

iced mocha arizona liberty market

Food highlights: The burger was perfectly cooked to my medium-beef preference, and the sliced deli ham on top added a really interesting taste. The cheese was a smoked cheddar, which added a nice smokey flavor to the whole burger.

pizza gilbert az

The sausage pizza was cooked in the Liberty Market wood fired pizza oven. They churn out these pizzas night and day.

liberty market blueberry scones

The chai is home-made. I wrote about the recipe on Arizona Coffee.

wood fired pizza oven gilbert az

Ordering at Liberty Market is an interesting experience. They get busy on weekends, but waiting in line is fun because you can talk to other people about what they are planning to order, as well as watch the cooks prepare food.


At the same time, you can oodle over the baked goods and decide what sides and desserts you want to order. That’s what happened to me. I wasn’t planning to order the chocolate and salt dessert, but it looked so good.

best hamburger at liberty market

The espresso bar is situated in its own corner away from the main food line. This is perfect because it separates the coffee ordering experience. After lunch, you can stroll in and order coffee and watch them make it.


The espresso bar is surrounded by bar seating. So it’s a fun way to sit and enjoy your meal, and coffee!

stumptown coffee in arizona

The coffee is from Stumptown, and they also serve Mr. Espresso.

liberty market in gilbert az

So, next time you are in Gilbert, AZ, do yourself a favor and enjoy the flavors at Liberty Market!

Getting there

Liberty Market
230 North Gilbert Road
Gilbert, Arizona
Phone: (480) 892-1900

The Parlor

The Parlor is a well known and popular pizza restaurant in Phoenix, AZ. It was recently named as one of the best places to get pizza by The Huffington Post.

pepperoni pizza and bbq chicken

It’s a valley favorite, and is often recommended as one of the best in the state.

On a recent visit, we tried the Pepperoni Pizza and the Spicy Barbecue Chicken Pizza.


We definitely made the right choice!

First of all, these are thin crust pizzas and wood fired. The crust was superb. Just the right level of crispness so it stays together, but not overdone.

You can order pizzas as either a 8″ personal, or a 12″ size. We ordered two of the 12″ pizzas as well as a salad.

long island iced tea

They put basil on top of the pepperoni pizza and it’s amazing! It was so fresh and cooked to perfection. Easily ranks as one of my favorite pepperoni pizzas of all time. The pepperoni was quite good, and wasn’t spicy.


The barbecue chicken pizza was also a table favorite. The chicken was tasty and best of all the BBQ sauce had a really unique flavor. It was obvious it was a homemade sauce and that they’ve perfected it over the years.


We should mention that The Parlor also serves beer and wine, as well as mixed drinks. They made me a Long Island Iced Tea which was quite good. They also made a really good Margarita.

The interior of The Parlor is a mix of modern and ’60s. The modern wood beams and paneling along with the varnished cement flooring contrast nicely with the brickwork on the exterior. When we visited it was packed! They have a happy hour that goes from 4-6 pm and we just missed that. There was a 15 minute wait to get a table indoors.


Oh, and lest I forget to share the salad with you. We tried the spinach salad and loved it! It had spinach, tomatoes, avocado, and thick cut bacon. It also had some gorgonzola cheese bits throughout.

So, if you’re looking for a great place to go for a romantic pizza dinner. Check out The Parlor. It is located on Camelback Rd. just east of the 51. They have free parking.


Including tip, we spent $75 for two pizzas, a salad, and two drinks. Worth every penny.


Getting there

The Parlor is on the north side of Camelback directly east of The Armadillo Grill. They’ve got free parking in the back and also offer valet parking.

The Parlor
1916 E. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Phone: (602) 248-2480

Fired Pie

I’ve made a few more visits to Fired Pie up in Scottsdale and wanted to let you guys know what I think now that I’ve had a few repeat visits.


As I said earlier, there was a visit to Fired Pie where the pizza preparer was quite stingy on the ingredients. I’ve since made three more visits to various Fired Pie locations around the valley and have not experienced the same thing. Either they’ve resolved it, or I got lucky.

Fired Pie is an amazing concept. Just like Kramer’s idea for a build-your-own pie shop (for pizza), at Fired Pie you can basically build your own pizza.


It works like at Subway, except you have way more control than at Subway. Here, you can choose the sauce, the cheeses, the meats, vegetables, and toppings. And, there are no theoretical limits. If you wanted every single topping, I don’t think they’d turn you down.

Fired Pie also has really good salads. I’ve tasted the Blue Cheese and Steak salad, the Southwestern Salad, and the Greek Salad. All very good, and definitely enough salad for two people. Maybe three.


The pizza’s are always delicious. They cook them in a wood fired pizza and there’s almost always enough to take-home afterwords.

Give Fired Pie a next time you’re hungry for pizza in Arizona!

Getting there

There are many locations around Arizona. While Fired Pie could be considered a chain at this point, they are all owned by the same company and all based here in Arizona.

Fired Pie
14740 N. Northsight Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Phone: (480) 404-9996

Organ Stop Pizza Review

Since the late 1970s the Organ Stop Pizza Restaurant has been providing an amazing experience to their customers. The combination includes fantastic pizza, and amazing music played on an authentic pipe organ.

Organ Stop Pizza Restaurant 3

And, this isn’t your ordinary pipe organ, this is a whurlitzer pipe organ that has tons of cool features like dancing cats, flags and disco balls, and every single bell and whistle you can imagine.

Organ Stop Pizza Restaurant 1

The venue is huge, until you decide to find a seat. The place is packed! We recommend arriving before the 6 pm dinner crowd, because seating is limited and you may have to wait. Don’t worry, though, there’s a 15 minute interval once an hour where people usually clear out.

The seating is strictly simple: Large picnic tables lining the hall with simple tablecloths. But, don’t let the seating fool you! They make a terrific pizza, and they have great music!

Organ Stop Pizza Restaurant 6

A couple of the music selections we heard the night we were there:

  • Frozen
  • Michael Jackson
  • Back to the Future
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Sound of Music

And many more! You can make special requests, and the organ player will usually accommodate — especially if it is your birthday or anniversary. On the night we attended, the organ player played two of the songs we asked for.

The pizza is really good. Not amazing, by any standard, but decent and enjoyable. It should be noted that they only accept cash, and they have an ATM in the lobby.

They also serve cold beer, and ice cream.

So, don’t miss Organ Stop Pizza! It’s worth the trip to Mesa just for the show!

Getting there

1149 E. Southern Ave.
Mesa, AZ 85204
Phone: (480) 813-5700

Sauce Pizza Review

There’s a Sauce Pizza location about 5 minutes from my house in Scottsdale, but I had never been there until recently. Here’s my take on this extremely popular pizza restaurant.


When you enter Sauce for the first time you’ll be amazed at how large the interior is… it looks small from the outside. Sauce is a pizza restaurant where you place your order at the counter, and then find an available table. This certainly reduces the cost as tipping is not expected. This is similar to restaurants like Pei Wei and Five Guys.

Our pizza arrived a few minutes later: We ordered the combination style pizza, which had sausage and pepperoni.

We also ordered a salad, which was also very good. One other thing they sell are meatballs, and we ordered a few of them to try. They were very good.


The food compares favorably to other pizza nearby, but we still like the pizza over at Fired Pie the best. Simply for it’s customizable nature.

Sauce is a fast-casual pizza restaurant founded by Fox Restaurant Concepts, and recently sold to the owner of Ra Sushi. That means that it’s a local company running the operation and that it will likely have strong standards and consistency.

There are nine locations of Sauce Pizza around the valley and in Tucson. You can get a full list of locations on their web site at

Fired Pie (Scottsdale)

I’ve positively reviewed Fired Pie in the recent past, and I’d like to offer another take as I’ve recently revisited.

Fired Pie is stingy. Yeah, from the moment they begin adding toppings to your custom pizza, they are stingy with the ingredients. I’ve seen this on multiple visits to the Scottsdale location. On my most recent trip, I overheard other customers discussing this as well.

For example, after they add each ingredient they ask “is that all?” It’s like they’re hoping I won’t add more ingredients to my pizza and they can throw it in the oven.

Also, they go really slow when adding the ingredients and don’t add them liberally. So, when they ask you after each ingredient “is that all?” it never is all, because you realize you want more. So, naturally you ask for the next ingredient you see that looks good. Granted, you could add every single ingredient to your pizza and I think they would add them, but who wants 8 kinds of meat on their pizza? I’d much rather get lots of pepperoni for the ultimate pepperoni pizza.

I’ll definitely be back, since it’s becoming a family favorite to design your own pizza.

Getting there

Visit their web site at for locations and directions.

(deer valley towne center)

(raintree ranch)

(scottsdale rd & greenway-hayden loop)

(park central)

(northsight & raintree)

Fired Pie

Are you looking for a local place to get pizza? Of course you are! We were down in Chandler the other day and stumbled upon Fired Pie. They let you build your own pizza just how you’d like it, and choose your own toppings.

If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you’ll immediately recall that this idea is exactly what was envisioned by Cosmo Kramer. His idea was a place where you go to make your own pizza. It sounded like a cool idea, but George and Jerry thought it was a terrible idea. In the same episode, Kramer goes into business with a local pizza place, and… I won’t spoil it for you.


The only significant difference between Kramer’s idea, and Fired Pie, is that you won’t need to swing any dough around, and you don’t have to bake it yourself — they do all of that for you.

All you need to do is choose your cheese, and they have seven to choose from — Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Feta, Gorgonzola, Fontina, or Fresh Mozzarella.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting: You can put as many toppings on as you want.

So, naturally, my pizza ended up having Pepperoni, BBQ Chicken, Canadian Bacon, Steak, and Sausage. Yeah, I was hungry, and couldn’t resist.

If you want, you can add other meats, like anchovies, meatballs, capicola, salami, and grilled or buffalo chicken. Lots of delicious88 options.

Next, you pick your veggies: I went with grilled onions and grilled mushrooms, and added pineapple, garlic, black olives, and tomatoes. You can add fresh herbs, like basil and cilantro as well. Oh, I almost forgot — I added artichoke to mine as well.


My second pizza was a little bit more on your traditional side, with Pepperoni and Canadian Bacon. Onions, Tomatoes, and Spinach finished it off, with a healthy dosing of mozzarella cheese.


After paying, you can pick any seat in the store and start drinking your fresh lemonade or beer.

An 11″ custom pie costs $7.95 and beverages are around $1.75 to $5 depending on what you order.

My pizza was perfectly done, and the crust was crunchy and thin, just like I prefer. I really appreciate the fact that they have mushrooms and onions already grilled, ready to add to the top of your pizza.


The owners of Fired Pie all worked together 20+ years ago at California Pizza Kitchen. They later connected, and decided to start a pizza place. Now, they have five locations across the valley, including two in Scottsdale, two in Phoenix, and the one we tried, in Chandler. What’s crazy, is they’ve only been open for one year!


We also tried one of the salads — delicious!


It’s fun to see Cosmo Kramer’s idea come to life!

Getting there

Visit their web site at for locations and directions.

(deer valley towne center)

(raintree ranch)

(scottsdale rd & greenway-hayden loop)

(park central)

(northsight & raintree)

Manhattan Pizzeria & Sub Shop

Note: Manhattan Pizzeria & Sub Shop is under new ownership (since this review was written), and on a recent visit (2012) it was all vegetarian.

This small pizza and sub shop first opened in the mid 1980s and offers up a fantastic menu with New York City flavor.

We like the submarine sandwiches they have, try the Bronx Bomber, or the Chicken Parmigiana (it’s tops!). These subs are by far some of the best we’ve eaten; they’re certainly a notch above the big-name submarine shops you’ve tried.

The place to go for lunch with co-workers and friends when you want a great sub sandwich but want something two steps above fast food. This isn’t the place to take clients, as the atmosphere isn’t good enough for a serious conversation with somebody you’re trying to impress.

How much? $4 – 5 for subs. Pizza starts at $11.

Where? Manhattan’s is on 7th St. just south of Missouri or north of Camelback. You’ll see it on the west side of the street. Get a map and see the menu at

Atmosphere? Sit outside and enjoy the fresh air, or sit inside. Seating is limited as this is a small shop. Take out and delivery available.

When? Mon-Sat 10:30 AM – 9 PM.

Reviewer: Chris Tingom