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Thread: Local pizza vs national chains- your thoughts

  1. #1

    Default Local pizza vs national chains- your thoughts

    I thought this would be fun to discuss as I live in a college town and due to that fact there are pizza places aplenty. Lately, due to the fact I have wanted to support more local businesses rather than corporations I have been ordering from a few local places.

    I am not gonna name the local places because I am a little nervous doing that- sorry! But I have found two that have far more superior pizza than Papa John's, Little Cesar's, Pizza Hut, Domino's and Hungry Howie's- Howie's might be a regional chain- but there are a BUTTLOAD of them around here- I only started ordering the local places cause one delivers beer and the other- is an old favorite from childhood.

    Plus, I decided I wanted to support local businesses more than big, heartless corporations that don't care about quality anymore but rather the buck.

    So- my question to you all is this- do you prefer local chains or a national chain? I'm just kind of curious about this as I have thought on this for a while...

    I'd love to hear which ones my fellow ADISCers prefer! Should be an interesting discussion if there are other pizza lovers out there!!!!!

    WildThing121675

  2. #2

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    Going to be honest, I've had a lot of the local stuff and a lot of the times I feel it's overrated. I also do think cost should be a consideration. How much are you paying for one or two ingredients being slightly fresher? Like I have a local chain really close by that I won't deny has fresher ingredients.. but it costs almost twice as much as getting something from the big guys. And if those fresher ingredients make comparable pizza.. then it really just goes to what I'm in the mood for.

    For me, the best pizza for my money is Domino's. Their consistent 5.99 for 2 medium 2 topping pizza is basically my go-to pizza. They are easily the most flavorful of the big guys since they changed their formula, it tastes decently fresh, and they have lots of toppings. In general pretty nice.

    I really would like to try one of the big take-and-bake places sometime..

  3. #3

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    It depends entirely on my mood. My favorite place is actually a franchise, rather than corporate, Mazzio's store. They tend to let the franchise stores have a little room play with their menus and add "Local favorites". The closest one to me has a AWESOME Sweet and Sour Pork/Chicken combo pizza on their local favorites. It's a little more than the normal price, but so worth it, and beyond the licensing fee for the franchise name, the profits tend to stay in the local community since they get most of their vegetables and meats locally

  4. #4

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    It entirely depends. If you ranked the worst local pizzeria there is at 0 and the best one there is at 100, then most large chains are going to fall somewhere around 40-60. For the most part, national brands don't get as big as they are by selling you a hot circle of garbage. They may have an inferior product- I'm looking in your direction, Godfather's and Domino's- but they can offset this by being dirt cheap. However, this is success in spite of the product rather than because of it, which isn't easy to pull off.

    I've had some amazing local places. There's one place- don't remember the name, but it's in Central Jersey- that made one of the greasiest pizzas ever. It was heaven. You open the box and the orange is so bright it basically glows in the dark. And there was another place in Philly that did a Jersey Tomato- a classic tomato pie just like you used to be able to find in Trenton. That said, it's not as if big chains can't have great pizzas too. To this day, my favorite pizza ever remains The Big New Yorker from Pizza Hut. I still mourn the day it was discontinued, about 12 years ago.

    One notable exception: if you live in Chicago and go to a chain, you should be made to walk across Lake Michigan like in The Dark Knight Rises. New York City too, in the right areas. Unfortunately, "New York pizza" is so vaunted that lots and lots of shitholes survive because enough people will buy something called "New York pizza" even when it sucks.

    That said, local pizzerias can do one thing hands down that the big chains can't touch: everything not pizza. I know if I want some awesome chicken parm or fettuccine alfredo, all I need to do is go to the pizza place down the street.

  5. #5

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    I would love to order pizza from a local place, but we just don't really get them in the UK. Especially not in the little one-horse town that I live in!

    EDIT: I actually remember when we got our first (and so far only) big chain pizza take-out in our town! It was amazing! They had queues all round the place for the first weekend!!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by gigglemuffinz View Post
    For me, the best pizza for my money is Domino's. Their consistent 5.99 for 2 medium 2 topping pizza is basically my go-to pizza. They are easily the most flavorful of the big guys since they changed their formula, it tastes decently fresh, and they have lots of toppings. In general pretty nice.
    Any time you say a pizza is good and your justification involves it being incredibly cheap, it's not a good pizza. Even if it was a good pizza and inexpensive, a great pizza will make the price an afterthought.

    I will agree that they're markedly better since the reformulation, but I've had mixed results. My biggest issue is the crust. Before the change, the crust was rarely discernible from grease-soaked cardboard. The new formula is just the old formula with more garlic. And while that's a lot better, different locations do it with varying qualities. Most the locations I've tried use hardly any of it, which makes it basically the old crust. And every one of the locations I've tried has used less as time has passed. Ergo, the part that makes their pizza inedible for me is now basically unchanged.

    I remember having an awesome local pizza a few years ago in Flagstaff when I was on vacation and can't remember the damn place. I'll ask my fiancee later.

    Edit: You know what? It's been a few years since I did Domino's since I've had a great local place in Philly. I'll give then another try.
    Last edited by AEsahaettr; 04-Mar-2013 at 23:53.

  7. #7

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    I'm not very familiar with chains - I'm basically just judging by Domino's, which is eatable but not preferable. It's just convenient because (I'm in college) I know the delivery guy will get it right, I can easily customize an order online, I usually only order pizza if it's going to be a really late night, etc.

    All the places I would eat at home are local, so I will say I prefer local. There is good and bad local pizza - the bad is worse than the chain, the good is better. Then local pizza also has its own character. One local place just tastes great and is incredibly balanced. One burns the crust for those who like that. Another produces pizzas that are soaking in sauce. So some of that comes down to preference.

  8. #8

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    Hit or miss.

    Some of the best pizza I've ever had came from little "hole in the wall" places. But the problem is word gets out and these places become popular and the quality goes down hill fast (most small places can't scale quickly while maintaining quality). Some small shops are terrible, some are great one day, shitty the next.. some it varies based on time of day.

    The big chains have the advantage of consistency. You know what you're getting. As someone said, quality is probably in the 40% to 60% in relation to everything else, but it's rare you'll get a really terrible pizza (or a really great one).

    This pretty much applies to any kind of food service (chineese, thai, whatever.. ).

  9. #9

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    Coming from the birthplace of pizza, the New Haven area, chains and the western US have no idea how pizza is done.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AEsahaettr View Post
    It entirely depends. If you ranked the worst local pizzeria there is at 0 and the best one there is at 100, then most large chains are going to fall somewhere around 40-60. For the most part, national brands don't get as big as they are by selling you a hot circle of garbage. They may have an inferior product- I'm looking in your direction, Godfather's and Domino's- but they can offset this by being dirt cheap. However, this is success in spite of the product rather than because of it, which isn't easy to pull off.

    I've had some amazing local places. There's one place- don't remember the name, but it's in Central Jersey- that made one of the greasiest pizzas ever. It was heaven. You open the box and the orange is so bright it basically glows in the dark. And there was another place in Philly that did a Jersey Tomato- a classic tomato pie just like you used to be able to find in Trenton. That said, it's not as if big chains can't have great pizzas too. To this day, my favorite pizza ever remains The Big New Yorker from Pizza Hut. I still mourn the day it was discontinued, about 12 years ago.

    One notable exception: if you live in Chicago and go to a chain, you should be made to walk across Lake Michigan like in The Dark Knight Rises. New York City too, in the right areas. Unfortunately, "New York pizza" is so vaunted that lots and lots of shitholes survive because enough people will buy something called "New York pizza" even when it sucks.

    That said, local pizzerias can do one thing hands down that the big chains can't touch: everything not pizza. I know if I want some awesome chicken parm or fettuccine alfredo, all I need to do is go to the pizza place down the street.
    The boardwalk in Seaside Heights had some of the best pizza, and I still miss it. I suppose Sandy took those out. We used to go to Maruka's and another place which I can't remember.

    There's a real Italian restaurant a few blocks from where I now live called Monte Carlo, and they advertise New York style pizza. This is were I get my pizza, and it's like New Jersey pizza. I never go to the chain pizza places as they suck, as far as I'm concerned. There is also another good place in Lynchburg called Waterstone Pizza, and theirs is quite good. The benefit there is that they brew there own craft beer. It's located in the historic downtown, and you have to go early unless you want a long wait. I suppose I'm lucky in that we have two really great places that make real pizza. spinning the crust, cooking the sauce all day, and using superb cheese. It matters!

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