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What would you say is your favorite Pizza chain?

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. re: Clams047

      American Flatbread
      Pepe's
      Bertucci's

      All are at least 2 hours away from me :(

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

      http://ledopizza.com/

      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

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

        1. re: monkeyrotica

          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

            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

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

          2. re: monkeyrotica

            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

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

          3. 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.

            DT

            1. 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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        "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

                          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

                            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

                              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: c oliver

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