So there was some talk in P&R about Godfather’s pizza and comparisons with other, widely derided chains like Sbarro. My problem is distinguishing between pizza contempt I’d actually disagree with - there really is bad tasting pizza out there - and pizza contempt that is based on quasi-foodie snobbery because any pizza that isn’t from XYZ in Chicago/New York/wherever is terrible.
I’ve had just plain bad pizza: the quintessential example for me is what I call “cafeteria pizza,” the sort that tastes a bit like frozen and has so much bland cheese dumped on top that the buried toppings have no crispiness or character. While not as bad as that, one of the big Canadian chains, Pizza Pizza, seemed to be distinctly inferior to most of the other chains in terms of taste, sort of like a Delicio version of Pizza Hut.
What gets me, though, is that most chain pizza - Greco, Dominoes and Pizza Hut being the three big ones where I live - seem perfectly good to me by the standards of junk food. They aren’t as good as my favourite pizza places in town, but they actually deliver to my house and make for a decent meal + leftovers every few months.
As junk food they’re fine. As pizza they leave a lot to be desired. Overly sweet sauce with no spice, generic cheese, generic meat. It’s not that they’re inedible but that there’s so much better out there, it really illustrates how poorly they’re made.
Pizza Pizza is by far the worst pizza in North America. Unless you’re drunk, and that’s mostly because they’re generally open late. If you’re in Ontario (especially smaller towns) and want a slice Gino’s makes a decent NY style big slice for a chain.
I don’t think I have ever had a Godfather’s pizza, but my experience with chains is that most of them can produce a good pizza on one day and a shitty pizza the next. Shouldn’t be that way but for some reason it is. I remember the first time I had a Dominion’s pizza it being very good. A couple months later in a another city we had another one and it sucked.
Sadly I live in a town not known for it’s custom pizza joints.
Honestly, for pizza, I kind of prefer Pizza Hut to all comers. I’d probably like Papa John’s better if it weren’t for the summer of diabetes onset (in brief, there was a sickness that spread all through debate camp - cue laughter - which probably coincided with onset such that now I can’t even look at the stuff without getting a little sick), but the most important thing about pizza is the bread, and I like the Pizza Hut pan pizza crush best out of any. Ever. Including the supposedly gourmet crap. Or CPK, which I hate to say that I’ve never had a thing at that I really enjoyed.
If you’re ever in need of a good personal deep dish, though, BJ’s is a chain restaurant in the vein of Chili’s and they do a pretty damn good job.
Yeah, but to me it’s like comparing restaurant burgers - from places that do worthwhile high end burgers - and one’s preferred junk food burgers. They look the same but they’re sort of fulfilling different meal impulses.
Granted, if you’re lucky you can get a top flight pizza for a price that’s competitive with chain pizza, but the reasonably priced places in my city aren’t so astoundingly great as all that, and I don’t believe any deliver where I live.
Pizza is one of those foods that it’s hard to mess up, though it can be done if you’re set on it. That said, I worked at a local pizza chain (Mazzio’s Pizza) during college and I will never eat deep dish again after seeing how much oil goes into making that dough.
Speaking of Ontario chains, I have a shameful love of New Orleans Pizza. I cannot explain it, because the pizza is by any rational measure horrible, but if somebody put a New Orleans pie in front of me right now I’d eat that shit in a second. I have no excuse.
I agree with this. But I also don’t personally appreciate the whole thing about “what real pizza is” (which is inevitably followed up by some rant about how the real Italians make a really thin crust with just cheese and tomato, or that the New Yorkers make really greasy stuff that you can fold in half, etc.).
I do prefer local chains over others, but that’s just preference. I have not had pizza yet that is just so heads and shoulders above everything else that it makes me think everything else is just crap. (And I’ve eaten at some supposedly very good pizza places.)
Yeah. And in the case of pizza, the good stuff is often neither expensive or fancy. It’s often very easy to find much better pizza than you get at a chain restaurant for pretty much the same prices you’d pay at a chain restaurant.
I’d put Sbarro in the “cafeteria pizza” class–doughy, spongy crust, toppings that mostly taste like garlic powder. Blech.
The Pizza Huts nearest me serve their pizza swimming in oil and grease. I know I’ve had Pizza Hut that I’ve enjoyed before, and I can still eat there for the lunch buffet with their variety, but for delivery I can’t stand anything from them other than their thin crust because of the oil and grease. That may just be a problem with my local stores.
Papa John’s is decent, and I’ll eat it if that’s what other people want, but my preferred pizza is Dominos, especially since they changed their sauce and crust. Pizza Inn, Pizza K, Cici’s and Stevie B’s all serve when you are looking for cheap edible pizza, but they certainly aren’t the best, or even close.
Pizza Hut is actually the one that confuses me. I’m not in love with it by any means, it is super greasy, and I’m generally sick of it by the time the leftovers are gone, but I dunno.
I consider my standards in junk food to be brand- and snobbery-agnostic. I don’t like McDonald’s burgers but I do like their fries and McNuggets. When my foodieish friends go “egads, McDonalds” my reaction is “X calories, X grams of fat, tongue says yes, don’t care about the cultural/social politics.”
When people (And I’m not making assertions about your views, Telefrog, just about a common opinion) say Pizza Hut is terrible I reflect upon my own enjoyment of it (trashy as it may be) and wonder if it’s a tastebud decision or an aesthetic one, one based on the fact that it’s a cheap greasy insult to pizza craft.
Lots of other alternative explanations, someone could make a similar argument about Pizza Pizza, which I just think doesn’t taste as good as other chains.
Oh man, Shakey’s. I used to visit my dad every summer, he lived in Sacramento, CA. I have many a fond memory of late night pizza runs with my dad and I know Shakey’s was a common one. I think I’ve got something in my eye now…
I almost always prefer local pizza joints, but of the two here, one is all the way across town and the other is almost $20 a pie. So for us, its come down to Papa Johns. I’ve never been a fan of Pizza Hut though my wife prefers it and Domino’s has never been good when I’ve had it. I do like Papa Johns thin crust and their BBQ Chicken and Bacon specialty pizza is good too.
There are still Shakey’s? Wow, they’ve been gone from St. Louis for probably 30 years now.
I’m happy with chain pizza because I really like pizza. The big national chains here in St. Louis are Pizza Hut, Dominos, and Papa Johns. Also Little Caesar or I guess Pizza Pizza elsewhere? It is pretty bad.
Dominos is the best I think followed by Pizza Hut. There are some local chains I like, too, however – Imo’s and Cecil Whitaker’s.
Anyone have Cici’s? It is the worst pizza. Seriously, really bad. They survive because they are a $5 buffet. All you can eat bad pizza, salad, and brownies.