First Taste

MidiCi Has Arrived in Phoenix With the Promise of Affordable, Casual Neapolitan Pizza

A freshly blazed pie at MidiCi in Desert Ridge Marketplace.
A freshly blazed pie at MidiCi in Desert Ridge Marketplace. MidiCi
MidiCi, a California-based pizza chain with a location newly opened in Desert Ridge Marketplace in Phoenix, may have perfected fast casual food. A MidiCi pizza is akin to that of a traditional sit-down Neapolitan pizza restaurant. I’m talking new-age, light-crusted, fancy-ovened pizzas that have vaulted in popularity this decade.

In the cavernous MidiCi space, employees bustle behind a curling counter: topping pies, building salads, plating burrata, and stretching dough made from Italian double-zero flour, before your eyes. They hurry hot pizza to tables, rain Parmesan, pull espresso, and scoop gelato.

Two gold-tiled, beehive-shaped pizza ovens tower above the controlled chaos. They were built in Naples by a family that has been in the business for three generations. The ovens burn at 1,000 degrees, cooking pizza in roughly 90 seconds.

click to enlarge Prosciutto and melon at MidiCi - MIDICI
Prosciutto and melon at MidiCi
MidiCi
But before we talk about the pies, let's talk about the raw courses. MidiCi has cheese boards, salads, and simple plates like prosciutto and melon. A really nice burrata with tomatoes and beet hunks will set you back just $6.50. The roster of salads is diverse and extensive. Dressings are house-made — “house-made” being the word that seems to occupy the most verbal real estate on their lengthy menu.

click to enlarge The exterior of MidiCi - MIDICI
The exterior of MidiCi
MidiCi
The lineup of pizzas is dizzying. In price, they range from $7.50 (Margherita) to $13.50 (truffles and other good stuff). There are some wilder pizzas for the adventurous among us, including a shrimp scampi pie, another with ricotta-stuffed crust, and everybody’s favorite pizza to love or hate: Hawaiian. Not many places that crank out good Neapolitan pizza get so wonky with what's on them.

But the most brilliant thing about MidiCi may not be the pizza itself, but all the gratis toppings. MidiCi has a sidebar  where a bounty of toppings await: fresh basil, dry wild oregano, chopped garlic, chile-infused oil, and the list goes on and on.

The beer list is draft and can, global and local. The wine menu has some nicely offbeat and well-priced varietals, including a bottle of Torrontés for $20 or a Corvina for $33.

In addition to good coffee, tea, and gelato selections, dessert includes colorful options like their Instagram-ready Nutella-and-berry calzone.

Check out the new MidiCi in Phoenix at the Desert Ridge Marketplace on Tatum Boulevard. Find more details and other locations on their website.

click to enlarge Good luck not ordering this Nutella-and-berry calzone at MidiCi. - MIDICI
Good luck not ordering this Nutella-and-berry calzone at MidiCi.
MidiCi

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Chris Malloy, former food editor and current food critic at Phoenix New Times, has written for various local and national outlets. He has scrubbed pots in a restaurant kitchen, earned graduate credit for a class about cheese, harvested garlic in Le Marche, and rolled pastas like cappellacci stuffed with chicken liver. He writes reviews but also narrative stories on the food world's margins.
Contact: Chris Malloy