The Naked Truth About Naked Pizza...

...is that it's not so hot. Since starting up in New Orleans five years ago, the pizza chain has grown bigger; 96 Naked Pizzas are now in development, the number expected to rise to a thousand over the next five years. The latest one recently opened at 1260 Washington Ave. in South Beach.

Naked's big selling point is that the "ancestral blend" crust "contains

up to 10 grains, prebiotic fiber and probiotics for maximum nutrients

and taste." The crust is, in fact, very tasty and crisp, although I

prefer a more puffed dough around the crown. The "real mozzarella

cheese" is fine -- though I'm not convinced many pizza parlors use fake

cheese. "All natural tomato sauce" is where the pie slips. It may be

with "no added sugar or freaky chemicals", but the taste is almost like

that of straight tomato paste. Natural is nice, but none of the

ingredients are organic (according to the store workers), and the meats

not free-range. Kudos for making each pie fresh to order, but still -- this ain't health food.

Want some garlic on top to perk things up? That'll be $1.49 extra. A

few basil leaves too, you say? Another $1.49. All 23 optional toppings

go for $1.49. This makes no sense -- how can you charge the

same for cilantro as for sausage, ground beef, or feta cheese? Luckily

the pies start out reasonably priced: A 10-inch is $4.99; 12-inch is

$5.99; 14-inch is $6.99.

Perhaps the solution is to get one of Naked's fully dressed pizzas --

same aforementioned sizes range from $12.99 to $16.99, and feature

preselected garnishes such as chicken and onion with hickory-smoked BBQ

sauce. If you're allergic to gluten, you can order a gluten-free rice

flour crust (medium size only; $9.99 sans toppings). Only other items

are spinach salad and mozzarella/cheddar breadsticks -- the

prebiotic/probiotic kind.

It should probably be mentioned that this is a take-out place -- no seats or stools or counters to eat at. You can order online or by calling 305-809-8595.

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