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Pizza Fail: California Chain Pieology Opens in Shanghai, Insults Pizza

By - Photos: Brandon McGhee Oct 14, 2020 Dining
California pizza franchise Pieology has opened two stores in Shanghai recently. They are kind of like Subway, in that you pick your crust, your sauce and then a huge number of toppings, claiming to give you 78 billion different pizza options. I went recently. I had two options. They were both an insult to pizza.

The formula, and let's be upfront that this definitely feels like a corporate formula and not something created by people who love food, is simple: pizza for people who don't like pizza, and would rather have a crispy black cracker topped with things like kimchi, cilantro and BBQ sauce. The dough is not stretched out by hand but instead put into a machine that presses all the air out of it, leaving a flat disc that you are then free to abuse with toppings. From the awkward handling at every step, I got the impression that the man tasked with making my pizza had been doing this for about, oh, at least... three days? Four? Call it a week. It was, without question, the worst pizza I have ever had in Shanghai, and that includes the "pizza" on the Beer Lady's menu. It cost 88rmb, for which I got access to all the toppings. Even trying to assemble a somewhat traditional pizza didn't help; when you start with cheap ingredients, you end up with cheap-tasting pizza.

But clearly not everyone thinks so. Basketball superstar Jeremy Lin is an investor in Pieology Pizza China, according to the franchisee's website. And it's true that there are many people out there who are bored with life, bored with pizza, and need the existential pick-me-up and the transgressive thrill that a cracker full of discordant toppings, covered in "after-bake sauces", provides. If you're angry at Homeslice, pissed off with Mamma Mia, upset with yourself, let down by Domino's and generally traumatized by airy crusts, good tomato sauces and reasonable toppings (or even Domino's boundary-pushing options), then perhaps Pieology is for you. Two locations in Shanghai to date. Have at them.



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  • 2 months ago Denvah

    Fucking SOCK IT TO EM Cavendish...Nothing better than an honest review...

  • 2 months ago 111011235614 Unverified User

    Lol Someone has a personal vendetta and mediocre paying journalism side gig

  • 2 months ago jacobflowers

    One of their locations opened up near me at the north railway station, saw them pop-up on Eleme, so gave them a whirl. I am from California, and I disown Pieology from ever claiming to be from my state. St. Cavish is not exaggerating, the sheer gall of launching something so appallingly BAD as an import brand is.... "wtf". The pizza had what seems to be suspiciously cheap toppings, the pizza dough was... yea... more like a squid ink cracker (with no flavor), and the whole thing was miserably and grotesquely dry/absent of any satisfying flavor... AND I AM EASY TO PLEASE. Bad form pieology. Bad form.

  • 2 months ago globaltraveller

    An abomination and sacrilege is what I call it, and another one will bit the dust.

  • 2 months ago osun2

    haha absolutely agree. I tried it once cause is close to home and i thought the frozen pizzas that we bake at home taste better

  • 2 months ago yoyo32143434 Unverified User

    what happens when you dont pay smartshanghai for promotions

  • 2 months ago Deep-fish

    There always can be worse than that. Pizza at "Just Grapes" on Anfulu beats the records of awfulness, for it's 66 rmb price - defrosted piece of cheapest pizza bread with a very few tasteless toppings and ketchup instead of tomato paste. NEVER buy pizza at "Just Grapes".

  • 2 months ago Tkkong


  • 1 month ago UnusedName

    It is enough to advertise as "California pizza" and Shanghaines will buy.