The Theology of Pie

Pieology Pizzeria now open on S Lake Avenue

Friday, November 21, 2014 | 7:58 pm

Lake Avenue has seen some change lately.  Some long-time residents have left (RIP Hamburger Hamlet) while others are moving in or revamping their menus.  While a lot of us are saddened by the vacancies, there a lot of reasons to get excited about the flurry of activity centered around the more local-centric hot-spot.

Pieology is one of those reasons.

Pieology, which opened its doors this past Saturday, November 22nd, is a three-year-old pizza chain that started in Fullerton.  Each location is individually owned, but every store carries with it the values of Pieology’s founder and CEO, Carl Chang.

The concept is simple: an assembly line set up using freshly made dough and sauce (each using proprietary blends of ingredients) with a variety of flavors and ingredients, delivering a freshly-baked pizza to the customer within 5 minutes.

But, did we mention…those toppings are unlimited?  For the same price as a 1-topping pizza, you can carry out a 3 pound beast.  Seriously.

We spoke with Chang to find out more about Pieology and learned about a great deal more than just pizza.

Pasadena NOW:  We’re going to start a little off topic here, but we’ve learned a fun fact about your family.  Is it true that your brother is a tennis pro?
Carl Chang:  Yes, my brother used to be a pretty good tennis player. My younger brother’s name is Michael Chang. At the highest point in his career he was number two in the world.

PN:  Wow!  And do we understand correctly that you did some coaching for him?
Chang: I took care of his entire career, from a coaching perspective, a management perspective, [and a] family office perspective.  I really tried to take care of him so that he could focus his energies and efforts on being the best tennis player he could be.

PN:  That’s already a pretty important accomplishment for you.  What made you decide to open the doors to your first Pieology?
Chang: Before Michael became successful as a professional tennis player, our family [came] from very, very humble beginnings.  The most fond memories I have growing up [were] simply gathering around a table and what food we had to share, we would share.  Food and gathering around the table; that’s carried throughout [our] heritage and how we were brought up.

When we decided to do Pieology, it wasn’t at all in the mind[set] of trying to develop a big company for monetary reasons.  A lot of our inspiration was in the 2008 recession.  A lot of our friends were suffering and it was a very tough time.  This is something that resonated with my girls.  They understood and they were able to bring their friends, their teachers and [anyone] else to Pieology and it became a really fun and exciting place to be a part of.

PN:  So it’s safe to say Pieology is about a lot more than just pizza!  We have another question for you: is it really true that you can get as many toppings as you want and not get charged extra?
Chang:  Yeah, absolutely!

PN:  What gave you the idea to do that?
Chang: When we were growing up, I was concerned how many toppings could we afford to have.  So trying to celebrate what the consumers want without boundaries was the inspiration.  We wanted people, without a second thought, to be able to put [on] as many toppings as they want with whatever combination or profile they want all for one price.

PN: We can’t argue with that concept!  So can you sum up for us what your business means to you?
Chang: With Pieology, it’s never been about who owns Pieology or who founded Pieology. To me, I want to celebrate the people, our customers (we call them Pieologists). I want to celebrate them, their creations, their creativity. Help[ing] provide an environment [to] then inspire building community, building friendships and contributing just a little bit back; that’s what Pieology is all about.

We’re anxiously awaiting to take a shot at creating our own pizza master pieces.  Does a second pizza count as a topping?

Pieology is located at 345 South Lake Ave., Pasadena.  For more information, please call (626) 817-0868 or visit http://www.pieology.com/

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