Bethany Clough

This national pizza chain is coming to Fresno, Clovis. Here’s what you need to know

MOD Pizza

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A popular and fast-growing national pizza chain is planning to open two locations in the area.

MOD Pizza is planning one restaurant each in Fresno and Clovis.

Both are many months away from opening.

The Fresno location is taking over the former Baja Fresh, in the Universal Park shopping center near Blackstone and El Paso avenues. The Mexican restaurant closed a while back.

That location is scheduled to open in early November, according to a MOD Pizza spokeswoman.

The Clovis MOD Pizza will be built in front of the new Costco in Clovis near Shaw and Clovis avenues. A Starbucks is slated to be built nearby.

Construction has barely started on that site. The Clovis MOD Pizza is expected to open in early April of 2020.

The pizza

MOD Pizza serves customizable, individual-sized pizzas.

Customers can order pizza off the menu, like the Calexico with gorgonzola, jalapenos and hot buffalo sauce, for example.

Or they can create their own, choosing from more than 30 toppings. That includes all the traditional ones, plus some others, like spicy chicken sausage, a balsamic-fig glaze and what the menu calls “mama lil’s sweet hot peppas.”

The 11-inch pizza is the most commonly ordered, though a 6-inch mini and a thick crust “mega dough” are available. A cauliflower crust and a “gluten friendly” crust are also available.

Mod Pizza also serves salads, garlic bread and milkshakes, including a blueberry milkshake.

MOD Pizza 2.JPG
Belleville News-Democrat

The company

Founded in Seattle, the restaurant bills itself as a “superfast pizza experience.”

It sometimes hires workers with felony records.

It now has more than 400 locations nationwide – some are franchises and some are company owned. It has dozens of locations in the Bay Area, Southern California and Sacramento, but none in the central San Joaquin Valley.

MOD Pizza is one of the most popular and fast growing companies in the country, said Harold Zinkin, a member of the family who owns the shopping center where the Fresno location will open.

“They’re humongous right now,” he said. “They’re doing tons of expansion.”

The married couple who founded MOD also started the Seattle Coffee Company, eventually selling the company to Starbucks for about $90 million.

MOD Pizza will open in a city that is already home to several pizza chains that specialize in the individual-sized, customizable pizza.

Chains Pieology and Blaze Pizza already have several locations in the area. And the Clovis Blast & Brew, a locally owned restaurant, serves individual-sized pizzas, along with the rest of its menu and self-serve beer.

Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.