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Pizza: Where has the bad pizza gone?

I've noticed something rather peculiar in the take out pizza of my city... a general upswing in quality. Pizza Hut used to be way too greasy. Now, they're very good! Dominos has reinvented themselves. I was curious so I tried their new pizza... also quite good. Panago and Papa Johns were always good. The only thing I still don't like is the Chicago Deep Dish, the crust is so thick. But my sister loves it. I haven't tried much else lately... is there any pizza place that still sucks? XD Not that I want to order that, I'm just curious! Has anyone else noticed this?

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  1. Oh there is PLENTY of bad pizza to be had in San Jose, CA. But there IS more and more really great pizza cropping up. My friend from New Jersey still thinks it sucks compared to NY pizza, but I disagree. I think she is looking at the past through rose colored glasses.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Jemon

      To each his own, I've had NY/NJ pizza and it doesn't do much for me, but then again, I did not grow up eating pizza so it doesn't hold a spot near and dear to my heart like most NYers.

      1. re: roro1831

        I agree with you! The pizza in NJ and NY is not as good as I would have thought given the hype put up by the people who live there. I think that style is done well these days in a lot more locations. Then again, I find Italian style pizza to be better than NY pizza.

      2. re: Jemon

        i think they are channelling their energy into designing newer and more disgusting ways to cram extra cheese and calories into their novelty pizzas.

        I saw one at Pizza Hut the other day that had a double crust (with cheese sandwiched between them), cheese rolled into the crust at the edge, and cheese on top. That was after the one that embedded shrimp in the outer crust.

        1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

          Word on the street is that Pizza Hut is working on a Double Down Pizza. This is two pizzas stacked one on top of the other with the toppings completely on the inside, and then deep fried and served with ranch dressing and chocolate syrup.

          1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

            Sounds vaguely like the triple decker pizza they used to make in the mid to late 90s. Last I knew they discontinued it.

          2. re: Jemon

            i live in NYC, so i'm not looking at the past, but am firmly here in the present.

            everyone of those chain places mentioned by the OP taste like swill compared with the average NYC slice.

            1. re: thew

              I've only been to your fair city once, pre-internet/Food Channel days and I had no clue where to go. I grabbed a few slices off the street and they were very good. Upstate in Rochester was better, but the best I've had was in a mom and pop in Oswego. I live in Houston and we have some decent pizza, and I refuse to go the usual chain suspects. The only time I eat them is when they buy it for us at work, I limit myself to one slice, only if I am very hungry. It is uniformly disgusting. Pizza Hut was pretty good, pre-conveyor belt oven days, but that was years ago.

          3. Where has all the bad pizza gone?

            Papa John's.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Perilagu Khan

              Actually, I believe they are still at Little Caesar's.

              Pizza, pizza!

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Did you mean Little Sleazer's? One opened near my place a few years ago and it was terrible, truly terriible.

              2. re: Perilagu Khan

                Most of it is alive and well and living in Ohio

              3. As you noted, there is plenty of bad Chicago style pizza around. People who make it poorly think that it is okay to just make a thicker crust and leave the amount of toppings about identical in amount to those on a thin or medium crust pizza.

                The whole point of a Chicago style crust is that you can pile on more toppings than you can on a regular pizza without the entire structure "sogifying."

                It seems to me that all the major chains which attempt a Chicago deep dish pizza skimp on the amount of toppings. I think that they are just being cheap.

                8 Replies
                1. re: gfr1111

                  You know, I haven't had a lot of bad Chicago style! It's the California style that sucks to me, even being a California native.

                  1. re: Jemon

                    What is California style pizza? cracker crust?

                    1. re: chicgail

                      California pizza (to me) is thin-ish with a thicker crust rim and heavy toppings.

                    2. re: Jemon

                      The Khantessa bought a California Pizza Kitchen pizza margherita the other day and found it dreadful.

                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                        Yes. But it is what it is. There aren't really any chains for chowhounds! It's better than Dominoes, Pizza Hut, and the like, but it's still not worth eating when there are better options for the same or less money.

                        1. re: Jemon

                          Better options for less money include Totino's and the old Chef Boyardee pizza kit.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              I'm afraid I've not had the pleasure of meeting, or eating, Mama Celeste.

                  2. Agree about Pizza Hut. Hubby and I had a half plain cheese/pepperoni hand tossed last weekend and it was quite good. I read recently that Pizza Hut was changing their name to The Hut because of all the different choices they have now. I think that would have been a very bad idea. So far, no change.

                    1. I remember listening to Howard Stern one morning long long ago, somebody was talking about pizza, somebody else asked where it was from, and Howard said "It's pizza. How bad can it be?" I had to laugh, because to an extent, it's true. Bad pizza is still better than a crappy burger, say (with some exceptions of course).

                      "Good pizza" is something you'll never get pizza lovers to agree on. There are too many choices, and I say viva la difference.

                      I agree with you, AriaDream, pizza is getting better in general. I haven't been back to pizza hut since they started making orifices in pizza to cram more cheese into and doing so many other abominations that they did for a while. Maybe they realized the common denominator they were catering to and started going down a higher road. And so many people know so much more about food these days, maybe the bar has been set higher in general. I sure hope so!

                      1. AriaDream, this is a joke to see who will respond, right? Pizza Hut - very good? Dominoes - quite good? Papa Johns - were always good? I feel for you if this was none written in jest. While I'll agree after a night one drunken binge any of these will do, but sober, and on purpose, I don't think I'd eat any one of these. They are all horrible. Always have an always will be. Sadly, even most pizzeria's pizza has declined. I live in NY and finding a real slice is impossible these days. Everything is so thin and flimsy. Please tell me this was all a joke....please!

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: jhopp217

                          Answer honestly, now, have you tried them all lately, or are you just assuming = making an ASS of U and ME?

                          1. re: EWSflash

                            OK Felix.

                            jhopp217 -- I am with you on this one! Incredulous was the word when I read the OP.

                            I remember when my son and I went to a Pizza Hut for lack of any other dining options near where we were. Little hound that he is, he took one bite, put it down, looked at me and said, "I can't eat this." You know it's really bad when that is the reaction from a hungry teenaged boy!

                            1. re: EWSflash

                              I have had Pizza Hut and Dominoes withn the last year. Both were awful. Papa John's...you don't always get a second chance to make a bad impression. Worst Pizza ever!

                              MY question to you EWS is why would you go to any of these places if you can get regular pizza somewhere else. I'd even throw in the fact you could buy a frozen pizza that is better. I will fully admit, I love Tombstone Pizza (the one with all the toppings!). Great bargain, nice crunchy crust and a nice mix of toppings!

                              1. re: jhopp217

                                Not everyone has access to pizza restaurants other than the chains. If those are your frame of reference, they're fine. Have you ever been in a small town in the middle of Ohio, for example (no disrespect meant to that state), but if it's all you've got it's what you compare.

                                If you live in NY or Chicago or LA or SF or other big cities, there are plenty of small, talented pizzerias making all kinds of excellent and creative pizzas. But many people really do know pizza from the big national chains and the frozen stuff.

                                As a lifelong Chicagoan I wince every time someone talks about Chicago Deep Dish style pizza and what they are referring to is that horrible chain under the Uno's name. I know that they've never tasted the real thing, but they don't know that. The same is true for people whose experience with pizza is Dominos, Pizza Hut and Papa John.

                                Give the OP a break.

                                1. re: chicgail

                                  I've always wanted to try true Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago, because I've literally been physically ill my only two times in Pizza Uno. It's awful.

                                  As for your first comment, I completely disagree. Bad pizza is bad pizza. I see your point about accepting it as pizza, but its not very good or great. I think most Italian restaurants are terrible, but I've had friends who have been to Italy and have told me how authentic some dishes are at specific restaurants. So if I'm in Italy and it tastes the same, I'm going to like it? No. The funny thing is their are some frozen pizzas which aren't that bad. Do they taste like a NY slice? Of course not, but it's better than PH, PJ or Dominoes.

                                  If the OP had simply said, they were better I wouldn't have disagreed.

                                  1. re: jhopp217

                                    Well, my standard for quite good might be lower than yours. :) But in the past they were mostly appalling and Pizza Hut and Dominoes have seriously upped the quality. I haven't ever had a bad experience with Papa John's but I might have just gotten lucky or my location might be really on the ball.

                                    I was just wondering what chains still had the cardboard crust and fake cheese I remember from my childhood.

                          2. To be fair the OP hails from the Great White North, Calgary it seems, not exactly a hotbed of pizza goodness. I grew up in New Jersey so yes, I do know good pizza, but having once lived in an area where chains were all that was available (east central Kentucky) I would agree that Pizza Hut is the best out of a bad lot if you're not up for making your own.

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: James Cristinian

                                None of those places deliver to the NW of Calgary. There's only one independant I've found, Al's Pizza, which delivers to my location. They're okay but nothing special, same quality as Pizza Hut IMO.