Toss another one into the MFCNPP bin.
That would be the Marginal Fast Casual Neapolitan Pizza Place club, and Urban Bricks Pizza made a strong case for its inclusion, after a recent visit at the month-old Champions Park location.
The new north Arlington franchise has a convoluted entry, to start. Add to that ceilings approaching 20 feet high, and it was near-impossible to hear the staff as we ordered.
But the San Antonio-based chain, founded in 2015, is in rapid expansion mode, with 120 locations and counting nationwide, no doubt hoping to capitalize on a mainstream appetite for quick pizza, even if it misuses the word “Neapolitan” in describing its doughy discs.
Because the end result hardly seems authentic, despite the attractive Italian custom-made rotating oven that cooks your 12-inch pie in two minutes flat (more on this later).
But options are a plus, and at Urban Bricks, they are plentiful. With eight “Foundation Pizzas” to choose from, including the Three Little Pigs (pepperoni, bacon, Italian sausage) and the Aloha (Canadian bacon, pineapple), and a build-your-own model (all $8.49), ordering bottlenecks are commonplace. There are also three choices for crust (regular, wheat, and gluten free).
The Urban Classic, with its red sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni, is a safe bet, especially for kids. My 10-year-old was easily sated by its surplus of hot, stringy cheese and casually ignored the sheen of grease on top.
Our White Mushroom featured a flavorful if stingy sprinkling of button mushrooms, spinach and roasted garlic atop a light, white sauce. The balance of ingredients was mellow, so it helped that we added jalapeños to the mix.
For the latter pizza, we chose a wheat crust, which was more chewy and pillowy than the Urban Classic’s regular. Both pies had a good char on their bottoms, but neither registered as “Neapolitan.” How so? Mainly, we could pick a piece up, no problem, as they were hardly weighed down by sauce (cheese-laden, yes).
Something not so slight was the massive Caprese panini.
When I ordered it, the staff said it “had to make a fresh one,” and that it would be about 15 minutes.
Over-seasoned with dried oregano, the bread overwhelmed the other ingredients. Inside the cumbersome bun were too-few slices of good-quality mozzarella, red sauce and far too many unsalted, halved cherry tomatoes. A couple of sprigs of fresh basil added nothing to the sandwich. It was an alternately burned and mushy affair.
Also missing the mark was the Health Nut salad ($6.99), a welcome item on the menu.
The tangle of fresh arugula added a ray of light to the meal, but fat-free raspberry dressing that gave the term “cloying” new meaning made the ostensibly healthy item taste more like candy. And I’m still looking for that feta I was promised.
Urban Bricks is no heavyweight. However, I can vouch for the Dilly Dog at Globe Life Park, which I am not ashamed to mention held hypnotic sway at the ballpark about 30 minutes later.
Urban Bricks Pizza
1707 N. Collins St., Arlington
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday