It’s taken a little bit of time, but Moto, the Filipino pizza place known across Seattle for its months-long waiting list, quietly opened its third full location in Belltown this week and is open for business 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
The Moto website says that the Belltown location isn’t taking pre-orders at the moment, but it is making some pizza for walk-ins, and when Eater Seattle showed up on Friday afternoon it was possible to just order a Moto pizza — what a concept!
The pizzaria is in a building on the corner of Denny Way and Western Avenue in the liminal space between downtown and Interbay. While Moto started out as a takeout operation, there is indoor and outdoor seating here, and the inside is kitted out with the same kind of vaguely Gorillaz aesthetic that Moto features on the rest of its branding. (The murals inside are by Joseph Brooks.)
Moto announced the opening on Instagram on Friday but hasn’t been publicizing it much otherwise. Chef and owner Lee Kindell tells Eater Seattle that he didn’t want to overwhelm the new team at the Belltown location and has been focusing on scaling up the pizza production. When he started Moto out of a West Seattle cottage he kneaded Detroit-style dough by hand, but those days are long gone. Serving fans at the Moto location at T-Mobile Park taught Kindell and his team what they needed to do to up their capacity, he says. That’s why they have a robot.
The robot is a pizza-making machine from robotics startup Picnic that dispenses sauce and topping onto Moto’s square pies, which are finished by flesh-and-blood workers. It’s a necessity for a business that hasn’t been able to keep up with the rapacious demand for its pies since it opened — and, like other businesses, has been having trouble hiring human workers. Kindell says that he’s hoping to open five days a week soon and eventually be open every day, but doesn’t have enough staff to do that now.