The other day, my pal James Suer, General Manager at popular make-your-own pizza place Pieology called to say he wanted me to come in to sample a few new items that are taking the local pizza-eating world by storm. So I hightailed it ASAP to the Rancho Las Palmas Shopping Center on Highway 111 at Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage, found James working away with Assistant Manager Nancy Cuevas and their dedicated crew, and asked them to let me in on what was shaking.

The biggest news is that Pieology now offers their custom-built pizzas not only on their tasty thin crust but on thick crust as well. “We felt that the thicker crust held toppings better, especially on to-go orders,” James told me. “Of course, some customers will always prefer the thinner crust, but the thicker crust has really taken off.”

No kidding! So successful has the thicker-crust option been at Rancho Mirage’s Pieology that soon the franchise owners offered it at all 22 of their locations up and down the West Coast. Better yet, soon thereafter, Pieology’s corporate head office decided to bring the new item to customers at all of their 143 locations throughout the country. All this in just about three months!

Another novel entry onto the Pieology menu is the Ooey Gooey Cheesy Garlic Bread that comes on a thick crust lathered in homemade herb butter and topped with mozzarella, fresh garlic, and jalapenos (hot stuff optional). It’s served with a side of House Red Sauce for dipping. Crazy good! (While this isn’t offered brand-wide yet, I suspect it’s just a matter of time.)

Finally, yet another new arrival—this one from corporate—is the dessert pizza topped with butter, cinnamon sugar, and Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips. It melts in your mouth, and is the perfect sweet capper to the tasty savory pizzas, thick or thin!

I paired my meal with a great mini bottle of Barefoot Cabernet, while my teetotalling dining companion chose one of the new Alta Palla sparkling juices carried by the eatery, which come in four flavors: lemon, grapefruit, blood orange, and black cherry, with the latter two being early favorites.

All this to say that things are really hopping at one of Rancho Mirage’s foremost pizzerias, which celebrates its first anniversary July 29th and which has plans for imminent expansion throughout the Palm Springs Valley. “Instead of just lying dormant, we really are functioning as innovators,” said James. “We’re bringing something new into the market. And that feels great!”

Mangia, mangia to that! www.pieology.com