Best & Worst Pizza Chains

Today’s post comes to you courtesy of a Yahoo news article. My wife originally noticed it this afternoon, and I thought I would edit it to be relevant to the Joplin area (excluding the chains we don’t have here). Obviously, I’d rather get a slice at one of our fine local pizzerias, but I thought this review was worth the read.

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Least likely to succeed:

Sbarro’s

…but let’s be honest, is that such a bad thing? Sbarro was always there when you needed but its dried-out, hot-plate pizza sometimes made you wish it wasn’t. “It could have used a little more stuffing and it felt like it was sitting out a little too long, although I shouldn’t expect too much from a Sbarro in a college food court,” writes one patron on the user-generated pizza review site Worst Pizza. But without Sbarro, what are college students, Ninja Turtles, busy parents, and lazy cheese-addicts left with?

Most improved:

Dominos

The delivery chain threw out its old-school recipe after years of complaints and started fresh last year. According to Consumer Reports, they done good. “The sauce was sweet and fresher tasting, though the herbs and spices still tasted dehydrated,” reports the magazine’s testers. “It had stretchy mozzarella cheese and a garlic flavor… All in all, very good cheese and pepperoni pizza.” SeriousEats also gave their pepperoni pizza high marks in their pizza delivery taste test. “The best cheese…tangy, well-seasoned, and actually tastes like mozzarella.” The sauce is also more flavorful than ever, according to YumSugar’s taste test, but the crust still “doesn’t possess even an iota of crispiness.”

Worst tasting:

Little Caesar’s

The little guy in the toga is cute, but nobody ever has anything good to say about the food. Serious Eats calls their pepperoni under-seasoned, their cheese rubbery and their dough barely cooked. Food editors at the Florida Times-Union, also gave the chain the lowest rating in their taste test. “Remember that pizza they served in the middle school cafeteria? Yeah, that was better.”

Best tasting:

Papa John’s

PJ’s beat Pizza Hut and Dominos in Serious Eats’ pizza showdown, and their every-topping-in-the-universe option won the highest marks on PJ’s menu. “Vegetables had better flavor than either Domino’s or the Hut,”reports the blog’s tester. “Its pizzas seemed to be made with more care, were tastier overall, and seemed to use better ingredients.” But if you like a crispy crust, look elsewhere. The thick breaded base is repeatedly described by taste tests as “chewy.”

Best overall pie

Pizza Hut’s Pizza Mia

Serious Eats crowned the chain’s Pizza Mia, with bacon and olives, most delicious. “The crust was had a nice crispness to it … the olives were flavorful…and the balance of crust, sauce, and cheese was pretty much on. We were all stunned that this thing came out of Pizza Hut.” While the chain didn’t get any raves on their other pies, they do have more options low-fat options than any other franchise. Nobody wants to taste-test them though.

Worst overall pie

Chuck E. Cheese

The San Francisco Chronicle’s reviewer describes their pies as having “that distinct Kraft singles layered on Heinz ketchup flavor.” Other food bloggers have called the sauce “metallic” and the crust “defrosted.” Then there’s the fact that the chain’s mascot is a mouse. Not that it matters. There’s Skee-Ball.

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What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Voice your strong opinions here.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Peggy Healy on April 16, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I have eaten at all of the large Pizza Chains. But the best Pizza, Wings, Wedgies, and Subs, Are located in my home town of Keyser, Wv. It is family owned, Filibusters on the corner of Main and Armstrong St. For all Home towners in Keyser, WV. Post this On Facebook if you agree.
    Peggy Healy
    Filibusters
    304-788-8070

    Reply

  2. Posted by Maleia on April 16, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Interesting you’d bring up Sbarro. It’s on its way out, for sure. http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/03/31/sbarro-near-bankruptcy-highlights-and-lowlights-in-history/

    Reply

  3. Posted by Jessica on April 17, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I agree with most of what they said, though I get tired of Papa Johns pretty fast. I agree that local shops are definitely the best. Even though it’s not in Joplin, the best pizza ever is the 5 Cheese based at Minskey’s. They’re originally from KC but opened a location here in Springfield last spring. It tastes a little different than in KC (maybe to do with different water sources for the crust) but it’s the best pizza ever! They use full slices of bacon, fresh toppings, and you definitely do not leave hungry. Plus they have an eating challenge if you’re feeling bold enough!

    Reply

  4. [...] that I know for sure: Joplin sure likes pizza. A couple of months ago, I submitted a post about Joplin’s Best & Worst Pizza Chains, and it has been far and away the most popular post on this blog. I plan to follow up with another [...]

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