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Naked Lunch

By Lora Arduser · April 13th, 2011 · Lunchline

Social media is a powerful force these days, providing the means for the people of Egypt to shake their government at its very foundation. Here at home, Naked Pizza (3646 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-871-4400, www.nakedpizza.biz) is using social media to shake up Americans’ love affair with pizza.

The franchise opened its first Cincinnati location last month, trumpeting its all-natural (i.e., “naked”) niche, which could describe everything from the ingredients in the food to the conversation we have about the food. According the restaurant’s website, social media is a major part of the franchise’s business plan — what they refer to as a “full frontal, no secrets” grassroots approach.

That concept must have been given the weekend off when we stopped in for a Saturday lunch. We arrived expecting a dining room, so it took a minute or two to regroup. The young man taking our order commented that they get a lot of that sort of confusion. Naked Pizza is carry-out and delivery only, something not mentioned on NP’s killer website.

Shrugging off the logistical hiccup, we made plans to take our bounty home and placed our order.

All the naked menu talk makes ordering a little confusing if it’s your first visit. If the franchise focused as much on educating its staff as it does “actively educating, informing and influencing consumers online,” it would have been much easier to navigate through all the hip jargon to place what should have been a relatively simple order.

Here’s a primer.

First, according to the manager I spoke with on follow-up, the starting point for every order is red sauce and mozzarella on an original crust. You can “get naked” — a plain cheese pizza — or you can get “dressed up” by adding typical ingredients like red onion, green pepper and pepperoni or not-so-typical choices like black beans. The 10-, 12- and 14-inch pies come with original or “skinny” (thin) crust.

According to Naked Pizza’s website, the crusts are made from a 10-grain concoction with prebiotic agave fiber and probiotics thrown in for what ails you. The “skinny” is truly paper thin and reminded me of the Greek pizzas we get up in Northern Ohio. There’s also a gluten-free option, available only as a 12-inch pie, but in this case size doesn’t matter. If you know someone with a gluten allergy, the more gluten-free pizza crust, the, better.

We turned out to be red-sauce fans (you can also get white or BBQ). What they call a white sauce is a garlic-infused oil; the red has no added sugar but still manages to have a bright, slightly sweet taste. The cheese options (mozzarella, cheddar and feta) and meats (hamburger, ham, sausage, pepperoni and chicken) come minus growth hormones and antibiotics.

We ordered a variety of pies including a 10-inch plain cheese and sauce ($4.99), a Mediterranean with artichoke, sun-dried tomato, red onion, black olives and feta (10-inch, $12.99), an Omnivore with pepperoni, hamburger, ham, bell pepper, mushrooms and black olives (10-inch, $12.99) and a gluten-free with chicken, garlic, spinach, ham, artichokes and black olives ($20.13).

After getting over the ordering confusion, I left feeling that Naked Pizza puts together a pretty good pie and really good salads (we loved the spinach offering).

I’m less convinced about NP’s over-embrace of social media. Social media is amazing for many reasons, and healthy pizza is a gift straight from heaven as far as I’m concerned. But as long as I can get it in 30 minutes and I can sit with the box in my lap and I Love Lucy on the tube, I’m pretty much happy. Don’t make me Tweet or Yelp about it.

I vote we save social media for revolutions and disasters and save the leftover slice for breakfast.


CONTACT LORA ARDUSER: dining@citybeat.com.
 
 
 
 

 

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