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What would you say is your favorite Pizza chain?

ShowUsYourRack Jan 2, 2014 12:15 AM

There's quite a few Pizza chains out there & I'm pretty sure that just about everyone here has at least one or two that they prefer over most of the other ones, right? What is your favorite Pizza chain & converse about it if you'd like to too. Some examples are Papa John's, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Little Caesar's, Zeppe's, E.C.'s & quite a few more.

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  1. c
    Clams047 RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 2, 2014 02:52 AM

    Flatbread Pizza - http://www.flatbreadcompany.com/

    or Frank Pepe's - http://tinyurl.com/m5ujd2p

    1 Reply
    1. re: Clams047
      melpy RE: Clams047 Jan 3, 2014 04:28 AM

      American Flatbread

      All are at least 2 hours away from me :(

    2. monkeyrotica RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 2, 2014 03:27 AM

      Ledos. Most of the stores are hit-or-miss and even the original shop has issues, but the one near me is decent.


      Bertucci's does a decent pizza. Nothing special, but leagues better than the soggy, butter sponges Pizza Hut peddles.

      I've got a soft spot for Shakey's but I have to admit, I haven't been to one in ages.

      6 Replies
      1. re: monkeyrotica
        Mister Big RE: monkeyrotica Jan 9, 2014 10:32 AM

        I like Ledo's and think the Wheaton branch is the best.

        1. re: monkeyrotica
          Vidute RE: monkeyrotica Feb 1, 2014 09:16 PM

          never liked ledo's, not during my days at maryland nor today. the sauce is way too sweet for me, like tomato-flavored candy.

          my "everyday" pizza is pizzaboli's. if i'm going to be eating at the restaurant, it's bertucci's.

          1. re: Vidute
            monkeyrotica RE: Vidute Feb 3, 2014 03:15 AM

            I used to hate Ledos, too, when I was at U of M for the same reason. Sauce was too damn sweet. Problem was, I was ordering it plain with no toppings. If you order it with meat (particularly the huge pepperoni slices) or sausage or the Deluxe (w. anchovies), the salty toppings compensate for the overly sweet sauce. And I always hated cold pizza until I discovered you can squish two cold squares of Ledos Deluxe together to make a cold pizza "sandwich."

            1. re: monkeyrotica
              Vidute RE: monkeyrotica Feb 3, 2014 05:48 PM

              next time i'm forced to have ledo's, i'll send my portion to you! :)

          2. re: monkeyrotica
            brandywiner RE: monkeyrotica Feb 21, 2014 08:09 PM

            I can't see a mention of Ledo's without hearing Jon Miller saying "Ledo's pizzas are square because they never cut corners!"

            The Orioles should never have let Miller get away...

            1. re: brandywiner
              ccbweb RE: brandywiner Feb 22, 2014 11:26 AM

              I agree with all of what you wrote. All of it. A lot. Special place in my heart for Ledo's.

          3. Davwud RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 2, 2014 04:39 AM

            There is a small chain here in the GTA named Reginos. it aint great but I like it pretty good and their prices are pretty agreeable.

            For a big, national chain I was very pleasantly surprised by Mellow Mushroom. Well above aveage pizza.


            1. sal_acid RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 2, 2014 04:42 AM

              All the chains you name might be OK in the Midwest, but in the Northeast they are viewed with suspicion (yet somehow they make money). Bertucci's is OK aand Anthony's Coal-Fired is OK. But neither is up to a good local pizza from NYC or Philly

              9 Replies
              1. re: sal_acid
                monkeyrotica RE: sal_acid Jan 2, 2014 04:59 AM

                Or Naples Italy for that matter, but not everyone lives in Italy, so we have to make do.

                Maybe this thread should be "What chain pizza is the least lousy?"

                1. re: monkeyrotica
                  sal_acid RE: monkeyrotica Jan 2, 2014 05:04 AM

                  Good point, but the alternative to chain isn't "no pizza". There are local joints everywhere (almost everywhere anyway) that beat the chains handily.

                  What is it about a chain that instantly loses the skill required to make a pizza? Is it a profit margin issue?

                  1. re: sal_acid
                    RedTop RE: sal_acid Jan 2, 2014 06:20 AM

                    My son manages a chain franchise. He told us that his store can turn out a large, with one topping for 45 cents!

                    1. re: sal_acid
                      monkeyrotica RE: sal_acid Jan 2, 2014 06:27 AM

                      I've had some pretty lousy pies at mom & pop joints as well. Not as many as from the chains, but I understand folks who want to opt for a known mediocre quantity rather than risk disappointment from something small and local.

                      I'd like to think it was just profit margin, but I'm inclined to think it's management. Popeyes and Five Guys are two chains where a good manager makes the difference between fresh, hot food and stale, soggy, skunky food. As for profits, there's a Taco Bell thread comparing '80s Taco Bell (fresh beef cooked in house, hand shredded vegetables, etc) vs today (precooked Sysco blended meat, dehydrated beans, etc). So yeah, quality of ingredients is an issue, but not the only one.

                      1. re: sal_acid
                        Clams047 RE: sal_acid Jan 2, 2014 05:34 PM

                        "What is it about a chain that instantly loses the skill required to make a pizza? Is it a profit margin issue?"

                        IMO, it's the oven vs. conveyor.

                        Chains with ovens can be respectable to excellent (Burtucci's, Mellow Mushroom, Flatbread, Pepe's, etc) but I've never had a decent pizza off a conveyor.

                        Not so sure it's exactly the conveyor, but those who use them really know how to make a lousy product. They probably figure if they can cut costs using a conveyor, they can also shave costs using inferior ingredients.

                        1. re: Clams047
                          monkeyrotica RE: Clams047 Jan 3, 2014 03:40 AM

                          Used to work in Dominos in the early '90s and, yeah, they used conveyers and the pies were weak. Gave their new pies a try and, while not as good as a real gas/wood/coal oven, it was a major improvement. Crispy (not doughy) crust, sauce that didn't taste like Karo syrup. So you can improve on a conveyer pie with better ingredients and technique. Not a damn thing you can do with those Pizza Hut pies that taste like someone used a butter-soaked sponge to clean up candy store vomit.

                          1. re: monkeyrotica
                            ShowUsYourRack RE: monkeyrotica Jan 8, 2014 11:35 PM

                            Even an "improved" Domino's is still not all that good. I've gave Domino's several chances (& still eat it if someone else purchases it), but it's amongst the worst "popular" Pizzas in my opinion.

                            1. re: ShowUsYourRack
                              monkeyrotica RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 9, 2014 03:47 AM

                              Agreed. It's still not good, but compared to Pizza Hut's Death by Butter and HFCS pies and CiCi's all-you-eat frozen convenience store pies, it probably won't make you vomit.

                              1. re: monkeyrotica
                                ShowUsYourRack RE: monkeyrotica Jan 11, 2014 01:33 AM

                                To each his own after all.

                  2. c oliver RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 2, 2014 04:25 PM


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: c oliver
                      Firegoat RE: c oliver Jan 7, 2014 10:15 AM

                      lol I was thinking didn't we just go down this road less than a month ago

                    2. b
                      Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 2, 2014 07:36 PM

                      I'm a huge fan of Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza, not just for their pizza, but also for their excellent oven-roasted spareribs.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                        Burghfeeder RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Jan 3, 2014 04:01 AM

                        I've got to agree with Anthony's. I try to make it a point to try different pizza places anytime I'm in NY, Boston, or any other North East city's. Anthony's is the only chain I've ever found that comes close or exceeds the quality of those local spots. They use a 900 degree coal fired oven which cooks the pies in about 90 seconds, with a bit of burn on a crisp crust.


                        1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                          cwdonald RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Feb 18, 2014 11:47 AM

                          Never had the ribs.. but the oven roasted wings are pretty good.

                        2. Scrofula RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 9, 2014 12:25 AM

                          There's a chain called Pagliacci with several branches in Seattle. It's nothing special if you get it delivered, but the slices are good if you go eat them at the shop. Good crunchy, chewy crust, foldable, good quality toppings. A lot of people complain about it, but I suspect they only ever have it as delivery.

                          1. k
                            Kelli2006 RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 9, 2014 04:44 PM

                            Fox's pizza den is the best local pizza joint. I don't order their pies but they have better than average subs.

                            1. 5
                              51rich RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 9, 2014 05:12 PM

                              i have limited mobility(wheelchair) so today,went to the bank and decided smash burger was too much-so i went to pizza smut (both were right by the bank-so only had to get the chair out once).went into pizza smut and decided i couldn't stomach them , even with the convenience- got back in the car and used my nathan's coupons-a couple of miles down the road. just can't understand chain pizza in the ny area except as stated either bertucci or anthony's

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: 51rich
                                ShowUsYourRack RE: 51rich Jan 11, 2014 01:35 AM

                                I do prefer the Thin Crust style(s) more often than not, yet not always.

                              2. PhillyBestBYOB RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 11, 2014 08:13 AM

                                None of the ones you mention in your original post are even edible, as far as I'm concerned.

                                If push comes to shove, Bertucci's I suppose.

                                1. Firegoat RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 11, 2014 08:45 AM

                                  Mazzio's has a pretty good salad bar.

                                  1. f
                                    fryerlover RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 11, 2014 04:19 PM

                                    I'm in Ontario, Canada and and Pizza Nova is my favourite for chains. Just had thier baked panzerotti earlier. Usually get the pizza, but decided to switch today. They offer sautéed spinach as a toppi g and it is sooooo yummy. It's sautéed with real garlic and I think butter.

                                    1. k
                                      Kalivs RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 11, 2014 04:30 PM

                                      Do PizzaRev or Pieology count? They are thin and and you can choose your toppings. I usually share one.

                                      1. j
                                        jbsiegel RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 13, 2014 11:48 AM

                                        I'm in NJ, so no chain pizza really counts as the real thing. So, with that thought in mind, I pick Domino's. I like the taste of their "bread with sauce and cheese topping" better than that offered by the other chains. It's not pizza in my mind, just something decent to eat...

                                        1. s
                                          sedimental RE: ShowUsYourRack Jan 31, 2014 05:26 AM

                                          I had not had a dominos pizza in 30 years until last night. I was working late (alone) in my office and ordered it online to be delivered (very cool process, BTW). You can track it online, so I would know within minutes of when the delivery kid would be in at my door. Nice feature at night with a locked door.

                                          I ordered a thin crusted, square, feta and spinach pizza with a white sauce. It was excellent. Really great crust, thin with the right amount of chew (a bit too oily) nice texture and flavor. The spinach leaves were cooked perfectly, with just a bit of toasty edges...which is difficult to get right. The sauce was not distinguishable which was fine on this kind of pizza. I was very, very impressed!

                                          Honestly, I was stressed and wanted a big, chewy, junk food gut bomb of cheesy, gooey, greasy pizza of my youth from dominos...but I got a nice quality pizza instead :) it was great. I will absolutely order from them again at work.

                                          I like most kinds and styles of pizza, but I don't eat at pizza chains much. I have my own commercial pizza oven at home in my outdoor kitchen so I tend to eat pizza at home much of the time. I do enjoy at junk food take out pizza or a deep dish pizza sometimes because I don't make those at home.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sedimental
                                            EWSflash RE: sedimental Feb 19, 2014 06:39 PM

                                            I really like your post, you were expecting and almost hoping for a gutbomb and got something much more refined, hardly anybody would admit that on Chowhound, especially with a Domino's pizza. You rock.

                                          2. b
                                            BuildingMyBento RE: ShowUsYourRack Feb 1, 2014 08:59 PM

                                            NYPD in Shenzhen, China, although I didn't mind the Japanese Shakey's either.

                                            In the US, I guess Papa John's (heh, there's a Papa Ron's in Indonesia), but the Chinese Papa John's was terrible.

                                            Pepe's is good too, but I can't see how they're in the same (lesser) league as the above-mentioned places.


                                            1. s
                                              schrutefarms RE: ShowUsYourRack Feb 17, 2014 10:04 PM

                                              I'll say it. Pizza Hut. Yep. I only order it about 2 or 3 times a year, and always the same thing--1 med pan pizza, light cheese and extra sauce. 22 piece mild bone-out buffalo wings with extra sauce. I usually finish all of it in about 24 hours (making repeat trips from the fridge to the microwave.) I spend the next week or so detoxing from all the sodium and fat I just consumed. I only do this when I am severly hung over.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: schrutefarms
                                                RealMenJulienne RE: schrutefarms Feb 18, 2014 06:14 AM

                                                Yeah I won't even pretend not to like Pizza Hut. That place just reminds me of being a kid. Sitting in a dimly lit booth in a Pizza Hut with my family and seeing a bubbling supreme pizza come to the table in a cast iron pan is one of my oldest pizza memories. Time marches on and they are replacing more and more of those old school eat-in Huts with express takeout only places.. a real shame. The super greasy fried pan crust is hard to beat for an artery-clogging delight

                                                1. re: RealMenJulienne
                                                  monkeyrotica RE: RealMenJulienne Feb 19, 2014 03:03 AM

                                                  Feel the same way about Shakeys. I'm just glad there are none near me. I think the memories are better than the food itself, which is true for a lot of things.

                                              2. u
                                                UTgal RE: ShowUsYourRack Feb 18, 2014 11:14 AM

                                                Domino's. I might be able to answer differently if I had more choices but I live in a small town.

                                                1. c
                                                  cwdonald RE: ShowUsYourRack Feb 18, 2014 11:46 AM

                                                  Jules thin crust. Small chain in philadelphia suburbs that I believe also has 1 left coast outlet. www.julesthincrust.com. Closer to a flatbread, top notch ingredients, and good flavor.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: cwdonald
                                                    PhillyBestBYOB RE: cwdonald Feb 21, 2014 05:06 PM

                                                    I don't think Jules qualifies. For one, it actually tastes good (please make this thread stop). And it only has 7 locations, and according to Wikipedia you need 10 to be a "chain".

                                                    I kid you not.

                                                    1. re: PhillyBestBYOB
                                                      sal_acid RE: PhillyBestBYOB Feb 21, 2014 08:18 PM

                                                      I just went on Wikipedia and changed it to 7.

                                                      1. re: sal_acid
                                                        PhillyBestBYOB RE: sal_acid Feb 22, 2014 06:09 AM

                                                        You B@#$@^&!!!

                                                  2. a
                                                    andieb RE: ShowUsYourRack Feb 18, 2014 11:53 AM

                                                    I would have to say Papa Gino's for New England..

                                                    1. TripleCremeDecadence RE: ShowUsYourRack Feb 18, 2014 11:27 PM

                                                      I'm a huge fan of Pizza My Heart. I love their thin, crispy, cracker-like crust!

                                                      1. alliegator RE: ShowUsYourRack Mar 2, 2014 07:49 AM

                                                        For me, it's hands down Mellow Mushroom. They're not any specific regional style, they do their own thing. It's a medium thickness fresh crust, great quality cheese. Lots of specialty pies and sauce and topping options for build your own.
                                                        There are started in Atlanta and have spread through most of the southeast. Random western outposts in Portland, Denver and Phoenix.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: alliegator
                                                          brandywiner RE: alliegator Mar 2, 2014 02:50 PM

                                                          I've been to two Mellow Mushroom locations (Charlottesville, VA & Greensboro, NC) and been quite happy both times. Tasty (if nontraditional) pizzas, many varieties, and a good craft beer selection. Plus, I like the late 60's-early 70's vibe. I wouldn't mind if they made it up to PA at some point.

                                                          Actually, I may be in Richmond in a few weeks, and they've got one in Carytown...

                                                        2. m
                                                          mwhitmore RE: ShowUsYourRack Mar 3, 2014 09:35 AM

                                                          Does two stores in the same city count as a chain? If so, Papa Dels in Champaign, Illinois. In fact, my favorite pizza ever. (Available by mail order, *made to order*, but shipping costs are insane.) papadels.com

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: mwhitmore
                                                            brandywiner RE: mwhitmore Mar 3, 2014 01:58 PM

                                                            Wow! Haven't thought of Papa Del's in years! Fond memories from my days in grad school at U of I (79-84).

                                                            In all honesty, Papa Del's was more of a "special occasion" pizza for me at the time. My day-to-day pizza fix was Garcia's. (When I was back in C-U a few years ago, I stopped at Garcia's and found in almost inedible!)

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