Pieology Pizzeria, which offers custom salads and pizzas with unlimited toppings, opened its doors at 620 East Liberty St. June 28. This is the California-based restaurant’s first location in the state of Michigan.

Mike Morgan, General Manager of Pieology, said Ann Arbor was a good location for the restaurant because of the city’s food-loving population.

“Ann Arbor is a great city to start in,” Morgan said. “(It’s) a city that cares about its food. You have to serve a great product to be successful.”

The core of the Pieology experience is customizability at a reasonable price. For $8, guests choose from three house-made pizza doughs, seven sauces and over 40 cheeses, meats, vegetables and other toppings to build their own personal 11.5-inch pizzas. Their thin-crust pies are then baked on an open flame, ceramic stone oven and then ready to eat in less than five minutes. Additional sauces can be added after baking, and gluten-free crust is available for a $2 dollar additional charge.

“I’ve seen everything from croutons to broccoli to carrots to standard pepperoni pizzas go through,” said Morgan. “It’s really what you want to make it. I think people appreciate the ability to customize without being nickel-and-dimed.”

Custom salads are built similarly — with greens, cheeses, meats, fresh produce and dressings for a flat rate of $9.95.

Guests who aren’t feeling as creative have the option of trying one of Pieology’s seven “Favorite Pies” or three “Signature Salads.”

“We train our teams and we hire, specifically, people who are interested in food and flavor profiles so they can teach and coach and serve as the pieologist to our guests as they come to our restaurant for the first time,” says Morgan.

Morgan emphasized that Pieology is also about inspiring people to try something new, a message mirrored by the colorful quotes and photos mounted on the restaurant’s walls. Among those featured are quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr. and Walt Disney.

Pieology’s fast casual dining is geared not only towards students looking to grab a quick bite near campus, but also towards local businesses and families. The Ann Arbor location plans to start a “Business of the Week” program, in which guests working in the area receive deals such as free beverages during their company’s featured week.

As many neighboring restaurants on E. Liberty have done, Pieology is also looking to get involved with the Hooked mobile application to provide rotating discounts throughout the day.

During the school year, the location hopes to host weekly benefit nights and work with nonprofit organizations in the community.

The Ann Arbor location seats approximately 45 guests and is open Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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