I saw a little Caesars commercial last night and it got me thinking. Lets here it
All the places around me have shitty pizza. Hard to pick out the one that’s worst. some are just a giant greasy mess, some give you diarrhea & others come burnt. It’s a tough call really. I can’t remember the last time we ordered a pizza.
Easy enough to make in anyway.
It is weird. I can recall some terrible places but my mind has blocked these places out of my memory. I guess that is maybe a natural instinct. I can’t remember the names but let me think about it.
I feel like the majority of pizza in NJ is at least mostly ‘serviceable’. I was annoyed when we got a pizza sitting outside at Birravino at the beginning of the summer. They take a steaming hot, crispy bottom pizza and put it on a plastic lunch tray for serving. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you are quickly going to have a floppy, sad pizza in about 10 seconds. We hadn’t gone back but I mentioned it to our server so hopefully they worked out that bizarre kink.
It still doesn’t qualify for shitty pizza. That title should be reserved for the truly foul!
I don’t think your question is fair honestly, there is NJ Pizza then there is “national pizza”. The two don’t really equate, Domino’s - Poppa Grand Wizard John’s - Little Caesars et al. are national pizza chains but any conveyor belt pizza is truly a different animal than NJ Pizza.
To try and answer I would have to say it’s a tie with Domino’s and little Caesars, they both truly suck. I’m sure Poppa John’s isn’t much better I’ve just had fewer experiences to draw upon. Pizza Hut I will admit I’ve got a soft spot for since my childhood, still crappy, but in a warm and fuzzy way.
As far as NJ Pizza goes, I’m going to go on a limb here and I’m probably going to get some hate for this, but I’m going to put Luigi’s and their stupid square pie on the list. NO, NO, NO, pizza is NEVER supposed to be thin crust and cut the size of a cocktail napkin!! STOP THE INSANITY.
Other than that when it comes to NJ Pizza it’s like they say about so many things, even bad NJ Pizza is still “good”.
Oddly I consider Luigi’s square (with meatball) to be my “guilty pleasure” pizza.
If I’m being “serious” it’s Medusa or Porta but every now and then …
Yeah I know Luigis’ has a cult like following and hey, more power to you if it’s what you like. Just myself, I can’t get over the small square interior slices.
I’m a fan of the luigis square pie- but only the edge pieces- the inner no crust ones are trash…I stopped ordering form them based on random price increases, terrible phone demeanor, worse delivery demeanor, and about a 35% success ratio in getting my order correct. Mangia has been much better in my opinion in that regard.
I only wanted to keep this nj specific. I didn’t want to put it in the general forum so national chains can be compared to nj local spots.
We are really blessed with good pizza here for the most part, but there are still some really bad spots.
Is this the Lincroft one or little silver? I think their is a Luigi in little silver too. Edit…there is one in Hazlet too or maybe holmdel…right on the border. I could be confused but I thought there was one in little silver too.
I’m speaking on behalf of Lincroft.
I’m with you. I’m a round pizza guy all the way. They do make good pizza but the square pie doesn’t do it for me. They will deliver to your neighborhood, which you probably know already.
I said it before and I will say it again. Chunk E. Cheese (this won’t be unique to New Jersey, but I ate Chunk E. Cheese when I was in New Jersey)
I haven’t had the pleasure of eating there lol.
Does anyone remember the pizza buffet gigis or cicis? Wow…I went many years ago (somehow) and that was just god awful.
The now closed Perkins on Rt. 35 Eatontown was once a pizza buffet, I don’t believe it was Cic’is though. We vacationed in Florida on Valentines Day a few years ago, and our dinner plans/reservations got fouled up, and we had no place to eat. The only place I could “walk-in” was a Cici’s across the street from where we were staying, you haven’t lived till you have spent a Valentine’s Day Dinner at Cici’s pizza in Florida. Holly hillbilly hell. Honestly the whole White Castle Valentines Day Dinner with table clothes and servers is like the Molly Pitcher compared to Cici’s on Valentines Day.
LS. never got delivery from Lincroft- had much better luck there. the LS just aggravates me.
Ha! I could only imagine. FL is like the wild west of you get 10 miles away from the coast. Remind me later to tell you the story of the wooden nickel in upstate ny. Holy shit!
Last year I did a post on my blog ranking the awful chain pizzas (was impossible to do all of them). I must admit, since this post, Dominoes has gone up slightly in quality. Still garbage to me, but a dramatic improvement.
Unfortunately, there comes a time in all of our lives when we are unable to get real pizza from a pizzeria. When this happens, we can look to a slew of chain restaurants. Most are “conveyor belt” pizza, using pre-made dough, canned sauce which would put an Italian grandma to tears, and barely edible toppings. Some may have their redeeming qualities, but in the end, are we ever truly happy? Can we enjoy such food guilt-free, or is that impossible? Below are the most prevalent options (at least in my neck of the woods). We will start at the bottom so we can end on a [mildly] positive note.
4. Domino’s : To me, they epitomize all that is wrong with chain, conveyor belt pizza. When I was in elementary school, “Domino’s Fridays” were a huge deal. Hell, that was probably fine cuisine compared to the slop that was being served up Monday through Thursday. Ironically, sixth grade is probably the last time it ever tasted good. The crust is essentially cardboard with an artificial garlic powder bite. The sauce can be zesty, or so acidic that even the strongest of stomachs will be burning in agony later on. The sodium could probably kill a horse. And why don’t we mention price while we’re at it? There is some grand misconception out there that Domino’s is a “cheaper” option. I call bullshit. Total, absolute, unequivocal bullshit. There was a night my paranormal team and I stayed late at the Strauss Mansion Museum after an event and needed to order pizza. I think we got two mediums. Maybe a topping on each. No drinks, no appetizers, no dessert. With delivery fee and tip, it came to around $40. We almost fell over. Then last month, a friend and I just wanted a snack. An order of boneless wings came to more than $10 (after taking nearly an hour for them to arrive—the store is less than a mile away). The “wings” were tiny, dry nuggets consisting of 90% breading which had no flavor and might not have even really been chicken. They looked like something my cat would leave in his litter box. I vowed never again. Never again will I order the disgustingess that is Domino’s.
3. Little Caesar’s : When I volunteered at a different museum in Perth Amboy many years ago, Little Caesar’s was always the go-to when we had a team of volunteers to feed. After all, their pizzas are $5 each and the size is not bad. You could literally feed an office for $20. However, you do get what you pay for. The “hot and ready” feature is fine if you happen to get one fresh or are desperately in a rush. But if it was sitting around for a while? That’s a different story. Sometimes there would be a coating of grease laying across the top. An abnormal layer. Hold a slice up and you were guaranteed to see little reddish beads dripping off. Fans of “extra cheese” probably would not mind this next complaint, but I remember so much cheese that the pizza was actually hard to chew. If you listened carefully, you could hear the crackling of your hardening arteries. After a few slices you are out of commission. It sits inside your stomach like a brick. It’s not a full feeling, but a queasy one. Three slices of pizza manage to feel like you scarfed down a Thanksgiving dinner in five minutes. And as for the cheesy bread, I’m pretty sure you could have sunk the Titanic with a block of that.
2. Papa John’s : Okay, so I tip my cap to Papa John’s for being the official pizza of the New York Rangers. I love that their boxes even have the team logo on them. Whenever the Rangers score three goals or more, the next day you can type in the code “rangers3” on their website when ordering, and you receive 50% off. Not a bad deal. I tried it for the first time just last month. The pizza itself was pretty large for a medium. Good amount of cheese, sauce was not bad. I love that they give you a little pepperoncini on the side. But it still reminded me of Domino’s. The crust was bland and had the same cardboard-like texture. After a slice or two, you start to get that heavy feeling in your stomach. The sauce repeats on you for hours after. Also on the side with the pepper is a container of garlic sauce. I thought this was disgusting. Maybe it had even gone rancid, steaming in the box with the hot pizza. But when examining the pizza as a whole, I ended up feeling satisfied. This was good-bad pizza (and their garlic breadsticks were awesome). The prices are exorbitant like Domino’s so I would not order unless the Rangers score those three goals. But for half price, it’s not a bad pickup for lunch.
1. Pizza Hut: Before you go bonkers, no, I do not have much love for Pizza Hut. Hardly any at all. But when you have a group as lackluster as this, someone has to come out on top. I have not been to the Hut in years. Maybe I’m just viewing the past with rose-colored glasses. The only one near me in Middletown closed down about three years ago. I guess I was there a year before that. Look, the pizza is not great, but it’s as close to any kind of quality that we are going to get here. The crust is at least crunchy and flavorful, while the breadsticks are the high point. I like the seasoning even though I normally hate oregano. The marinara dipping sauce is decent for a chain restaurant and won’t set your esophagus on fire like some of these others. If you happen to go to one that has a buffet, try it. The dessert pizzas can be interesting. Most locations also have a salad bar, a feature slowly going the way of the dinosaur.
Consider the cost of these pizzas. Will an $8-$10 maybe $12. dollar pie taste good? Can you source the ingredients, make the sauce or spend time churning out that perfect slice for pennies after cost?
If I see a pizza priced below $15-$18 I know I am going to waste it after one bite. Sadly, the last time I had a great slice I shelled out $5.50 but it was worth every bite and it wasnt in NJ.
This. ALL of this. It’s exactly what I screamed the one time I had (non-deep dish) pizza in Chicago.