Last weekend I had Naked Pizza. And no, it was not top(ping)-less, nor was it prepared by a naked chef or consumed by naked diners. “Naked” means that the pizza is all natural — prepared without artificial flavorings or “freaky chemicals,” as the company’s website, nakedpizza.biz, states.
A franchise operation that began in New Orleans in 2006, Naked Pizza has taken space at 180 Nassau Street, in the same block as Taste of Mexico (which has just replaced Calico Grill on the parking lot side of the building) and the Carousel Diner, which is expected to make way soon for a Cheeburger Cheeburger outlet. Naked Pizza joins Iano’s, Massimo’s, and Old World Pizza in the category of downtown Princeton pizzerias.
Naked Pizza is take-out and delivery only, so there is no in-store seating. But that doesn’t stop it from giving off a friendly vibe and showing its sense of humor. The young employees sport T-shirts that say “I am Naked,” and a brochure on the restaurant’s philosophy titled “Everything you wanted to know about getting Naked but were afraid to ask” is free for the taking.
My friend and I arrived at around 8:30 p.m. on a Friday night and ordered take-out, which takes about 15 minutes. Delivery is also offered, with a wait time of about 25 minutes. To save time, you can order online.
The menu is full of health-conscious options, including “skinny” (thin) and gluten-free crust options. Pies come in 10, 12, and 14-inch sizes and range in price from $6.99 for a small cheese pizza to $16.99 for a 14-inch specialty pie. You choose your crust, sauce, and any of 15 vegetarian toppings, five meat toppings, and three kinds of extra cheese. Specialty pizzas include such options as the Pima (chicken, black beans, jalapeno, and cheddar) and the Mediterranean (artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, black olives, and feta cheese).
My friend and I both opted for the original 10-grain crust and got a pizza with pepperoni and red onions and a “greenhouse” pizza with onion, tomato, bell peppers, black olives, and mushrooms. Depending on your appetite, one pie can serve as a large meal for one person or a small meal for two. There are just two side dishes available, “cheesy breadstixx” and spinach salad, each $5.99.
The restaurant opens at 10:30 a.m. daily and closes late: 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The late hours and quick delivery will help it cater to the late-night student crowd, and the healthy and lower-calorie — but still delicious — pizzas should bring in families and health-conscious pizza lovers during the day.
Naked Pizza claims a larger mission. “We intend to launch the world’s largest grassroots health movement,” they write in the brochure. “We’ll do that by making a delicious, affordable, all-natural pizza and delivering it to your home hot.” So far, so good.
Naked Pizza, 180 Nassau Street, Princeton. 609-924-4700. www.nakedpizza.biz.