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SIOUX CITY | You can tell a lot about a pizza by its dough.

For instance, it must be light and airy while being able to maintain a good crust.

This was the directive that Scott Salem, co-general manager of 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, was telling his employees a few days prior to the restaurant's grand opening in May 2017.

Essentially, Salem, along with co-general manager Jesse Miller, had been holding a pizza-making boot camp at 1000 Degrees' 1388 Hamilton Blvd. location.

Not only was it important to allow the hand-tossed dough to proof for 48 hours, it was equally important to have the freshest of ingredients available.

After all, 1000 Degrees -- a New Jersey-based pizza chain -- is known for featuring an incredible number of toppings.

"While we have more than 10 signature pizza, we also offer unlimited toppings for one flat price whenever a customers wants to create his own pie," Salem said. "in that case, a customer can choose the size of the crust as well as a sauce, cheese, meats and a pick of any veggie."

"You can literally create a different pizza every time you walk into 1000 Degrees," Miller interjected.

Similar to a Subway or Chipotle restaurant, a 1000 Degrees customer will walk in and order through a build-your-own pizza type of assembly line. The made-to-order pizzas are then cooked in a 1,000-degree Neapolitan brick oven in just two minutes."

"That's the key," Miller said. "It may take a customer three minutes to personalize his order and another two minutes for the pizza to bake."

"So, in little more than five minutes, our customer will have a piping hot pizza," Salem said. "It's as simple as that."

Both Salem and Miller were formerly with Bev's on the River. When that restaurant closed its doors in December 2016, the business partners were drawn to 1000 Degrees, a growing franchise with location in more than 20 states.

"Our restaurant is fresh, fun and has really good pizza," Salem said with a smile. "I mean who doesn't like pizza?"

At 1000 Degrees, pizzas come in 10- and 14-inch sizes in addition to a gluten-free crust that is available on request. Customers have the choice of ordering such signature pies as the Hawaiian Fire (Canadian bacon, banana peppers, pineapple, shredded mozzarella and a spicy Sriracha marinara); the Tuscan Chicken (grilled chicken, spinach, shredded mozzarella, asiago and marinated balsamic sun-dried tomatoes); and the Meatza (pepperoni, bacon, Italian sausage, crumbled meatballs, shredded mozzarella and a signature marinara).

"OK, what's your favorite pizza?" Salem asked Miller. "Personally, I go back and forth between our White Out pizza (fresh mushrooms, garlic, Parmesan, shredded mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil) and the Buffalo Chicken (grilled chicken, blue cheese crumbles, shredded mozzarella and Buffalo sauce."

"Our Buffalo Chicken is amazing," Miller said. 

Not in the mood for pizza? 1000 Degrees also offers salads and customizable, fire-roasted wings that come in six flavors.

Salem said fast-casual restaurants that offer variety to diners are all the rage across the country.

"What sets 1000 Degrees is the quality of our food and the quality of our people," he said. "Taken together that's a winning combination."

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Food and Lifestyles reporter

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