Eight slices were combined. It didn’t turn as well as you might think.
  • Eight slices were combined. It didn’t turn as well as you might think.
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Mr. Moto Pizza House

3773 30th Street, North Park

Between Lefty’s, Berkeley, URBN, and Tribute, there’s no shortage of great pizza in North Park.

Still, when popular Pacific Beach pie spot Mr. Moto Pizza House decided to open on 30th Street, I paid attention. Not all of the aforementioned deliver, at least not without the help of a third-party delivery service tacking on fees. Berkeley does, but while its ultra-cheesy deep-dish pies may be considered among the city’s best, they’re a bit heavier than you may sometimes prefer.

Mr. Moto offers New York style pies and hires its own drivers. They also let you order through an effective if somewhat clunky website. During an early experience it took me 20 minutes to get it right, but I was able to order a large pie with pepperoni and onions on one half and spinach and ricotta on the other for about 22 bucks.

Pacific Beach pizza spot Mr. Moto lands in North Park. The competition is fierce.

In doing so, I noticed the option to order a slice pie — that is, the same eight-slice count you’d get with a large pizza order but with each slice featuring a different topping. It dawned on me that when ordering for a group you could skip past arguing whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza and satisfy everyone’s distinct craving. And with leftover slices in the fridge, a little variety doesn’t hurt.

So the next time I ordered, I dialed up the Moto website with my heart set on a slice pie. That’s where the trouble started. That clunky web ordering I referred to? It can’t handle the slice pie.

No problem, I thought, I’ll just order the old-fashioned way — by phone. Of course, there’s a reason we’ve come to prefer ordering online when we can. Communicating by phone with someone working in a crowded restaurant can be like trying to make sense of a David Lynch movie.

Making matters worse was that I didn’t know what any of Mr. Moto’s specialty pie names meant. Like that the Mamma Mia has bacon, garlic sauce, gorgonzola, pepperoni, and spinach. Or that Sweet Dreams is the name given to the BBQ chicken pie. That guy on the other end of the phone and I were speaking different languages.

The slice pie was delivered in prompt fashion, though it did suffer in transit more than a fully intact whole pizza would. More importantly, I discovered that while a Mr. Moto pizza has a light, chewy crust when fresh, when reheated for order-by-the-slice it doesn’t turn out well.

I thought the slice pie was a fantastic idea, but I now see why other restaurants don’t attempt it. And Mr. Moto’s interesting signature pies should be ordered intact anyway — that way Moto competes with my North Park favorites.

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