food

Baked fresh to your specs in just one minute: 800 Degrees Pizza opens first store in Japan

12 Comments
By Evie Lund, RocketNews24

At the south exit of Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station, a newly-opened building complex called “NEWoMAN” is set to play host to a huge array of fashionable boutiques and fancy eateries. Among their number, the Neapolitan-style American pizza chain 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria. The store is the very first to open in Japan and features quick-baked pizzas which you can customise to your liking at the counter when you order, choosing from a wide array of different toppings. It’s pretty much the same model as Subway, with staff putting together the pizza before your eyes and then shoving it quickly into one of the wood-burning ovens. By the time you’re done paying at the register, your pizza is basically ready.

RocketNews24’s Mr Sato, who has a great fondness for pizza, volunteered to head down to the brand new store and check out what it has to offer.

When he arrived, he wasn’t at all surprised to find a queue of other excited pizza-gobblers outside. Luckily, being an experienced liner-upper, he wasn’t bothered and mentally prepared himself for a wait of around an hour or more. As luck would have it, though, he was inside the fragrant-smelling store in only 30 minutes.

The decor inside is suitably swanky, with an open-plan kitchen setup. You can just see the ovens on the left in the above photo.

First, you’ll start your order at the pizza base section and work your way through the sauce section, the protein toppings counter, then the vegetable toppings counter, finishing up at the cash register.

The pizza dough bases are made fresh from scratch right before your eyes. Then, your choice of sauce and cheese is added to your liking. You can order a specialty pie from the menu, or completely construct your own to your specific tastes. There’s even "renkon" (lotus root), an Asian staple veggie, as well as the usual suspects like black olives, pineapple, jalapenos and onions.

The protein section includes several types of salami, plus shrimp and sardines. There’s also a salad bar so you can customise your own side salad.

Sato opted for a Verde pizza base, with mozzarella and basil paste, and for his toppings, he went with anchovies, mushrooms, bacon, salami, salsiccia, soppressetta, and pepperoni. The staff recommend sticking to around three toppings to avoid flavour clash, but Sato is a man who knows what he wants, and what he wants is lots and lots of salty meat on his pizza.

After assembly, the pizza is blasted in one of the wood-burning ovens. In around a minute, it’s baked to crispy, gooey perfection. Since the store was quite crowded, however, there was naturally a bit of a baking backlog, so he received a personal pizza number and waited around 10 minutes for his pizza to be cooked.

Sato was delighted with the finished product. The base was crisp, the cheese was melty, and the taste was top-notch.

The thin-crust pizza showed no hint of over or under-cooking, and the toppings were still juicy with no sign of burning. Pizza perfection! However, even though the pizza was a decent size and yielded a respectable six slices, he wasn’t quite full by the end of his meal. Luckily, 800 Degrees also has a bountiful side menu. He quickly ordered the “truffle cheese bread” to try to pad out his gaping stomach. The side dish was crusty, cheesy, and truffle-y, and hit the final empty spot in Sato’s stomach.

Overall, Sato truly enjoyed his visit to 800 Degrees. A great believer in having things his own way (even taking it to ridiculous lengths sometimes), Sato was well satisfied with the high customisability of 800 Degrees’ menu. He heartily recommends a visit next time you find yourself at Shinjuku Station and in need of something satisfying and cheesy.

Restaurant information: 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria Location: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Sendagaya 5-24-55 NEWoMAN Shinjuku Ekisoto 2F Opening Hours: 11:00 to 23:00

店名 800 ディグリーズナポリタンピッツェリア 住所 東京都渋谷区千駄ヶ谷5-24-55 NEWoMan SHINJUKU エキソト2F 営業時間 11:00~23:00

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- What, there’s now a specialty burrito shop in Tokyo? Of course, we had to go try it ourselves! -- Ramen Noodle Pizza and Natto Okonomiyaki Pizza now finally a reality! -- In the mood for love and pizza? Domino’s will deliver your pie with romantic kabe-don wall pound

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12 Comments
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you can customise to your liking at the counter when you order, choosing from a wide array of different toppings.

Sorry, but if your topping the pizza with nori, corn, mayonaise, and teriyaki sauce -then your doing it all wrong.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Wc626, that's what they said here in the USA when the so-called Hawaiian pizza was invented at a restaurant in Chatham, Ontario (just east of Detroit) in the early 1960's--an invention that surprisingly became a staple of pizzerias around the USA by the middle 1980's.

Sure, we're all familiar with the original pizza with its only toppings of cheese and tomato sauce that became popular in New York City early in the 20th Century, but since that time there's been a rapid growth of the type of toppings on a pizza here in the USA. In typical Japanese fashion, they have their own ideas of what constitute a desirable topping on a pizza, and that's why pizzas you see in Japan have toppings quite different than what you normally see in the USA. As such, given the flexibility of this new restaurant, it can accommodate pizza toppings Americans are familiar with or toppings the Japanese are familiar with.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

i run an out side catering business called Romana's pizzas here in the UK, it uses a similar method to cook the pizzas, but 800 degrees!!!??? no,no,no, 350-400 max degrees Celcius ideally to wood fired oven wants to be about 300 degrees c thats 575 fahrenheit. 350C=662F 400C=750F, so at 800F your just going to cremate every things in a few seconds. although I might take a few ideas for a Japanese type pizza for the English market, If any one want to start up a similar business over in japan drop me a email and ill help you set it up, its one of the fastest growing markets her in the UK so if it catches on in Japan it will take off big style!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I run an out side catering business called Romana's pizzas here in the UK, it uses a similar method to cook the pizzas, but 800 degrees!!!??? no,no,no, 350-400 max degrees Celcius ideally to wood fired oven wants to be about 300 degrees c thats 575 fahrenheit.

Relax. Tokyo is drowning in wood oven pizza restaurants, and the quality is high. If this place is no good, there are plenty of fine alternatives.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What is this doing in a "food" column??

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Brian Wheway, I think that 800 degrees name is more a marketing slogan. It's likely that the one-minute pizza baking takes place in a wood-fired oven at a temperature of around 400 degrees Celsius--we're not talking about leaving the pizza in there for a longer period of time at a lower temperature like you get with regular pizza ovens.

After all, here in the USA, serious owners of barbecue grills can buy units where natural gas heats up an infrared heating element to 400 degrees Celsius to "seal in" the juices of the meat--mind you, you better cook that piece of meat really fast!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It’s pretty much the same model as Subway

Except Subway is a LOT cheaper.

I'm glad there's a cheeseless base for those you don't eat cheese, but when you start adding toppings, the total cost increases quicker then you think.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It sucks that most first new restaurant chains start in Tokyo. Can't one start elsewhere in Japan?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It sucks that most first new restaurant chains start in Tokyo.

No it doesn't. That's because Tokyo is where everyone wants to be, if your going to be in Japan. Especially when it comes to choosing foreign food like Pizzas.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think the first Starbucks was in Umeda, Osaka. I'm guessing 1997?

As for this place, it's 800 degrees fahrenheit, so around 430 degrees C. Not that hot for a wood fired pizza oven, because I've heard good ones hit 550C. The photo looks pretty good, but doesn't show "pizza purist" levels of charring. For the same money, you can already get a better margeurita (sp?) in Japan. The big draw here is the toppings and making your own.

I don't live in Tokyo but it sounds like Sbarro went to the wall, so we'll have to see how this one does.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't live in Tokyo but it sounds like Sbarro went to the wall

Sbarro pizza is pretty darn good. Just goes to show how much Japanese know about pizza. Sbarro's Lasagne was pretty good too. Most Japanese people have never even had Lasagne. What a shame-

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sorry, but if your topping the pizza with nori, corn, mayonaise, and teriyaki sauce -then your doing it all wrong.

And what you are doing wrong, Wc626, is English.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

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