A Tale of Two Pizzas (800 DEGREES & PIZZA REV)

800 Degrees. Dough tossin’.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been eating a lot of pizza lately. One of my favorite trends is custom pizza places. And today I’m going to talk about TWO of them — 800 Degrees (in Westwood) and Pizza Rev (in Studio City).

Chronologically, I visited 800 Degrees first. It’s a very buzz-y place in LA right now. Sam and I happened to be in Westwood for Rufus Wainwright’s Christmas concert (I got half-price tickets on Cyber Monday), and since we were early we decided to grab a bite. It was cold and rainy and the line was out the door and down the street, but we decided to take a gamble. I mean, how often are we in Westwood? (Not often.)

Also, Sam got Neapolitan pizza flour for Christmas and we wanted to do some very important “what-does-good-Neapolitan-pizza-taste-like?” pizza research.

Almost everybody had somewhere to be by 8pm, so there was a lot of discussion along the line of whether we’d make it to our various events in time (a UCLA basketball game being the majority’s destination). Standing in a very long line seems to make friends of us all! (Especially when you realize you’re in line next to a USC alum — safety in numbers.)

It took at least thirty or forty minutes just to get in the door, but once we did the smell convinced us that we had made a sound decision. I liked the decorative pizza boxes & pizza peels on the wall.

We each ordered our own pizza, which at 800 Degrees yields a large-ish pizza. (I ended up taking half of mine home and eating it later, partly because we were in a rush.)

I think 800 Degrees wins the impressive mozzarella contest. (Pizza Rev is pre-shredded.)

Here’s another view of the assembly line…

The yum zone.

From there it takes a quick trip into the old-fashioned pizza ovens, which are presumably 800 degrees.

For all our waiting (probably an hour total from getting on line to receiving our pizzas), we did end up finding a table right away — which is always nice. And I think both our pizzas and a soda were about $20 total… which is about the same price as Pizza Rev.

And hey, not every pizza place has a chandelier. (And a Santa moose head, which I just noticed.)

Merry pizza.

It was hard to get a good pizza picture in the low light. I believe this was a Vege, with added eggplant.

No time to Vege.

This was almost two months ago. But I seem to remember a pleasantly chewy crust. The edges are puffy but the inner crust is very thin… almost a sog-danger? I think. Man, I need to go back. I don’t want to mis-report on this.

And the Rufus Wainwright concert (actually it was a family concert but I’m being lazy about describing it) was quite enjoyable, and unexpectedly moving. Songs were sung in many languages. The Royce Hall pipe organ was played (!!!!). (And we were almost too late to get in, so… leave yourself plenty of time for 800 Degrees.)

Pizza Rev is not as fancy as 800 Degrees — and it’s not trying to be. When you walk in, there are pictures of various animals posed with pizza. It’s cute. It’s not as big. There’s no crazy line. There’s not usually much of a wait. Yes, the cheese is pre-shredded — but you can also get low-fat, which I appreciate.

At 800 Degrees you place your order and don’t really get to micromanage the construction, whereas Pizza Rev is more like Subway, and you can make weird last-minute requests like, “Just a light dusting of fennel seeds across half the pizza, please.”

But it’s not a Subway, in the sense that it’s a perfectly lovely eat-in place. (Sorry, Subway.) Here are some photos…

More low-key line at Pizza Rev.

That lady and her kids were capital-V Vegetarians. She kept saying “our vegetarian pizzas.” When it was my turn to order and I said I didn’t want any meat, she turned and gave me the biggest smile. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I’m not a vegetarian, just a person who wasn’t in the mood for meat in that moment. (Although I’ve since ordered my pizza with chicken, and I’m not sure I’d do it again… I liked it better without.)

My pizza (right) and Sam’s.

I got olives and Sam got sausage. The nice thing about personal pizzas — you don’t have to like each other’s toppings. (We have a lot of mutually appreciated toppings, but it’s fun to go nuts when you can!) (My definition of going nuts is really lame.)

The big distinction with Pizza Rev is that the crust is so thin, it’s in the cracker crust family. I like it because it’s thin and crispy, and I don’t feel bad about eating a whole pizza when the crust isn’t heavy and dough-y. You can eat one of these pizzas and have plenty of room for dessert.

My Pizza Rev creation. It has my name on it. And light cheese, of course.

The Pizza Rev in Studio City is right near the Chipotle. The latter used to be my go-to, but lately I’m less excited about Chipotle. Dangerously enough, I’m ALWAYS in the mood for Pizza Rev now. It’s my new Chipotle. We’ve gone at least three times since our initial visit. It’s an obsession I need figure out how to deal with.

And Sam has figured out how to do a Pizza Rev crust…

Crispy times.

It’s a quick-rise dough, pressed very thin and baked hot (like… 500 degrees, which is probably the Pizza Rev open temp).

So I’m a very lucky girl indeed! And I REALLY need to get back to the gym…

But anyway — yeah. 800 Degrees is the place to go if you’re in Westwood, have some time, and want to have the experience — Neapolitan and otherwise. Pizza Rev is where you go after work… but not every day. If you can help it. I like them both. And they are both reasonably priced. So… there’s no excuse NOT to go. Which is proving problematic… but in a good-problem way.


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