Persona vs. Pieology: An Epic Battle of the Fast Casual DIY Pizza Chains

In an epic battle of the fast casual pizza chains, Persona vs. Pieology See who wins.

Chipotle Chicken Pizza from Persona in Santa Rosa
Chipotle Chicken Pizza from Persona in Santa Rosa

Looks like Pieology wins because they’re still open. Persona closed 8/17

Chipotle Chicken Pizza from Persona in Santa Rosa
Chipotle Chicken Pizza from Persona in Santa Rosa

Sometimes I think Sonoma County needs another pizzeria about as much as it needs another vineyard. With top-notchers at every turn—from World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani’s spot at the Graton Casino to Rosso Pizzerias in Petaluma and Santa Rosa, Vignette Pizzeria in Sebastopol and Pizzando in Healdsburg (though my Friday-night go to is still Mombo’s) — we’re not hurting for a slice.

But when two DIY chain pizzerias hit town, serving up piping hot bespoke pies in minutes, it was hard to take the whole thing too seriously. Thus was born the Persona vs Pieology battle. Lemme break it down, and you can make the choice:

Pieology Pizza from @pieology
Pieology Pizza from @pieology

Pieology: Thin crusts that are pre-made (ie: they’re not stretching them at the counter). A nice selection of toppings—if rather mundane—include red sauce, Alfredo, buffalo, pesto and BBQ along with the usual suspects of pepperoni, tomatoes, pineapple, meatballs, etc. Pluses include three types of crust (whole wheat and gluten free along with the classic), “Favorites” for the less creative—Rustic Veggie, Meat, Alfredo; and passable pre-made salads. The pies have very thin crusts, and an average eater can bust through a pie alone with ease. Sharing? Not if you’re hungry. Plus: Very kid friendly menu. Minus: Gourmet pizzas aren’t their thing, too small to share, salads are pre-made and toppings are ho-hum. Prices range from $6.95 to $7.95 per pizza. Pizzas are cooked in a stone fired oven. 2280 Mendocino Ave., Suite B, Santa Rosa, website.

Burrata and beet salad at Persona Pizza in Santa Rosa
Burrata and beet salad at Persona Pizza in Santa Rosa

Persona: Recently opened in the former Arrigoni’s (701 Fourth St., Santa Rosa), this small chain (the other is in Santa Barbara) of pizzerias features a small wood-fired oven that cooks your pizza at 800 degrees in about 90 seconds. Created by World Pizza Champion Glenn Cybulski, the dough is hand-stretched to order, and uses “00” Caputo flour (what the pros use). On top: Serious bases of marinara, pesto, “bianca”(olive oil and garlic), and Margherita. Choose from pepperoni, Sopressata, meatball, anchovies, prosciutto, bacon, seasonal local veggies, pine nuts, caramelized onions, arugula, blue cheese and three types of mozzarella. You see where I’m headed here. Pre-thought-out pies include a meat pizza (Carne), buffalo blue cheese and the winner of the World Pizza Competition in Napoli, the Chipotle Chicken, loaded with mozzarella, roasted chicken, chipotle sauce and fresh pico, its a bit gimmicky, but ends up being seriously addictive. 

Other plusses: OMG burrata salad (that’s fresh mozzarella with creamy ricotta in the middle), beets, arugula and vinaigrette. And…one of those fun digital Coke machines that make pretty much any flavored soda under the sun (I know, dumb, but my kids love them). Pizzas are easily enough for two unless you’re a huge eater, and with a salad, there’s plenty left over for another meal. Minuses: Pizzas are a bit more expensive: $7.95 to $15.50 (most are about $11). website

The Win: Persona.


11 thoughts on “Persona vs. Pieology: An Epic Battle of the Fast Casual DIY Pizza Chains

  1. Are we really comparing a $20 pizza to an $8 pizza? Hands down Pieology has got everyone in town beat on value. The fact that it is unlimited toppings for that price makes this a slam dunk. Pieology wins.

  2. Funny that Persona’s owner sent his son to work at Pieology as a spy to learn how to make a pizza as good as Pieology. Lawsuit pending.

  3. 1) Diavola
    2) Rosso
    3) Everyone else in the county
    46) Persona
    47) A used napkin smeared with buzzard poo
    53) Pieology

  4. I tried Persona on the second week after opening and I was not impressed. My experience was similar to Susan’s — I asked for anchovies on my pizza and got two measly pieces. Pieology is still top for me in terms of value. I may need to try Persona again. Two weeks in may have been too soon for a visit.

  5. I find it interesting that commenters complain that an $8 pizza isn’t as good as a $20 pizza!

    Even so, I think Pieology is better than most of the other pizzas around town, one of the few places that offers whole wheat crust, and thei pizza is not a few toppings on a loaf of bread that just fills you up with cheap carbs.

    The huge selection of toppings, no extra charge for as much as you want, allows you to make the pizza the way you want…….definitely not something you can do at Disneyland, and not something you can do anywhere in town without spending far more for “extras”.

    Pieology is one of the best additions to our local restaurant scene for a quick and tasty meal for a reasonable price! I don’t need to compare it to a pizza from another state, we are in California.

  6. Sounds like Persona is the winner. I’m wondering why you didn’t mention NY Pizza on 4th and Brookwood. As a Jersey girl, I can tell you that they have the best east coast-style (i.e. real pie) in the North Bay. Mombo’s is OK but way too expensive.

  7. Pieology is ok, been once, the super thin crust made it seem like pizza on a cracker. It was fine, but nothing i’d go out of my way for again.

    Persona, on the other hand?? fabulous. Don’t get me wrong, i know there’s better pizza in town (rossos, jacksons etc) but persona is really close to that quality, and quick, and convenient, and much cheaper.

    Persona for the win.

  8. Susan,

    I agree. I was impressed with Pieology. (It’s pretty incredible that you can load up a pizza with good ingredients for that price.) I have not tried Persona.
    Still, it’s important for people to know about the really top notch pizzas here in town.
    For example, I was bamboozled into going to this place in Cotati. Great ratings on Yelp and they hooked me with things like “I’m an East Coast guy and this is great East Coast pizza.” I’m an East Coast guy and I fell for it.
    I got there and the first words out of the chef’s mouth were, “I worked for Mary’s for many years.” Yup, just like Mary’s. Why did I make the trip?

  9. But David, the story was not about a $20.00 pizza. To compare Pioology or Persona to Jackson’s or La Vera is silly. Persona and Piology is where you go to spend 8 dollars on a quick, on your lunch break or hurry up lunch, or very casual meal. Mamboo’s is 3.00 or more for one slice.

    I like Piology because you can ask for extra toppings at no charge. I went to Persona and ordered the Margarita Pizza. they put three basil leaves on the whole pizza.

    Brian b real…sounds like another owner generated comment.

  10. Pieology tastes like something you’d buy at Disneyland — fast, cheap ingredients, no soul. If you want to the opposite of that, head to Geyserville and try Diavola. You’ll never eat the theme park cafeteria stuff again.

  11. The pizzas you mention are good, but this is my Santa Rosa ranking:

    1) Jackson’s- (The owner spent, I believe, $50,000 on the oven.) We have been to the original pizzeria in Naples, Italy, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, and Jackson’s is very close.

    2) La Vera- excellent pizza in general, but the pesto/tomato pizza is incredible!

    3) Mombo’s- Very good pizza- reminds me of my hometown, Boston

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