Little Caesars is a chain that can only be described as “a guilty pleasure”. Their pizza is typically perceived as lower-quality compared to its peers, but they’re sold at a price point that no one could hope to beat. It’s the ultimate payoff of quality for affordability when it comes to takeout pizza, one that some people say just isn’t worth it.
Little Caesars is also our favorite pizza chain. Being people whose only pleasures are guilty, we personally find that Little Caesars’ value is about the same as Domino’s or Pizza Hut’s when scaled up. We’d very much rather eat two Little Caesars pizzas than a single Domino’s pizza any day.
But how does it really stack up? How can we demonstrate just why we like this cheap pizza so much? And it’s not just pizza on their menu – what about their equally cheap Crazy Bread?
To put this to the test, we ordered our usual: the $10 Meal Deal, which comes with one large pepperoni or cheese pizza, an 8-piece order of Crazy Bread, Crazy Sauce, and a 2-liter soda.
After the jump, we’ll go into detail about Little Caesars’ star players.
Entering a Little Caesars is an experience in itself. Walking into the tiny stripmall location, everything is bathed in bright safety orange and pseudo-Greek meander tiling patterns. None of the employees seem to be paying attention, acting more like machines programmed to automatically exchange pizzas for five dollar bills.
The store’s scent ranges from “greasy” to “floor-cleaner fresh”, but on a good day you won’t be in there for more than 60 seconds before you walk out the door with a big ol’ box of pizza sagging under its own weight. By the time you bring your prize home, the grease has already soaked through the bottom of the box (and heaven help you if you put it in your lap at any point).
The pizza is indeed large. 14 whole inches is large enough to feed two people, if they’re both completely starving and looking for a bad time; large enough to feed four if they’re just hungry. At other pizza places, a 14-inch pizza like this would cost ten dollars minimum.
One notable thing about the average Hot-N-Ready pizza’s appearance is that it is extremely greasy. Visible pools of grease form on the pizza’s surface even at room temperature. We seriously suggest patting down the pizza with a paper towel before eating. Seriously, what is it with the grease level on these pizzas? Sure, cheap cheese and pepperoni tend to be loaded with fat, but we have no clue exactly how this translates to such wet pizza. It’s not the worst thing that could ever happen, sure, but it’s a mild annoyance on the greater scale of things.
The pizza itself is very soft and very tender, with no real crispiness in the crust except for the outermost sections. It’s not bad, but it’s about as generic as takeout pizza comes. In fact, it’s actually kind of admirable in its genericness: the crust is completely loaded with cornmeal acting as filler, and massive air bubbles dominate at least half the slices. This is a cheap pizza, and they cut every corner they can.
The cheese is thick, chewy, and not very flavorful. Every pizza is topped with standard low-moisture mozzarella, mixed with… Muenster, for some reason? (Not to be confused with Munster, the similarly-named Muenster is a bland white cheese made in the United States.) Yup, instead of using processed cheese, Little Caesars uses “all-natural” cheeses that still somehow manage to taste like plastic. They stretch amazingly, assuming you’ve been lucky enough to get an employee who actually successfully cut your pizza.
The pepperoni is where this pizza gets most of its flavor, releasing sharp tangs of spice into the greater pie. Pepperoni is standard for pizza toppings, and this is standard pepperoni. It’s not thick enough to curl around the edges, but it still sags under the weight of the hot grease trapped on its surface.
You can get the same experience out of a packet of Hormel pepperoni from your grocery store. If this sounds bad to you, you have high standards.
The Crazy Bread only comes in one variation: crazy. We don’t really know what would make sticks of bread worth being called “crazy”. What did this bread do to make Little Caesar feel so spiteful? We respect the mental well-being (or lack thereof) of all breads and cannot endorse unfairly treating someone just for being a few eggs short of a dough. There is one thing we can judge about it, though: the sticks are soaked in garlic “buttery” flavor, sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and served somewhat warm in a wax paper bag. These, too, are soaked in grease. Ask for extra napkins.
Crazy Bread is one of our (William and Paula’s, the writers of this article) favorite overall foods, especially because we have very fond memories relating to it. We’ve eaten Crazy Bread together in some of our happiest moments, so every time we have a stick of that stuff we are sent back in time. And we know we’re not the only ones to feel this way.
Regardless of how you feel about it, Crazy Bread is unerringly simple: sticks of soft bread, soaked in “buttery” garlic flavor, with a fine snow of parmesan cheese on top. Served alongside it is a tub of “Crazy Sauce” (again with the shaming), which is literally just the same sauce they put on their pizzas. In fact, it’s a bit suspect – a pizza’s worth of dough, and a pizza’s worth of pizza sauce? What kind of trick are they trying to pull? It doesn’t taste as good or filling as the pizza itself, but a hot stick of garlicky bread is a blessing to the world of cheap treats no matter where you are, and even the worst garlic bread is pretty darn good. We love Crazy Bread. We love you so much, Crazy Bread.
So, what’s the verdict? For $10 at Pizza Hut, you get a pizza. For $10 at Little Caesars, you get a pizza ($5), a bag of pizza dough shaped into sticks served with pizza sauce to dip them into ($3), and a 2-liter bottle of soda ($2).
The Crazy Bread and soda normally cost $3.50 and $2.79 respectively, so you’re saving $1.29 – which doesn’t sound like much, but you have to factor in sheer convenience. Buying an equivalent amount of Pepsi soda at a place like Dollar Tree usually costs the same amount (a dollar a liter), but more in gas to drive there, and it won’t be cold. Maybe the average person doesn’t know why you would want to buy into a caloric nightmare, but we do – on special nights when we have no time to cook, we can get a meal without feeling like we’re being scammed.
And math crunch aside, we just plain like it.
5 out of 5 – Simply Superb!
Little Caesars isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we’ll swig this over-brewed cup down with happiness. No, it’s not good pizza; but that’s what makes it great pizza. A cheap pizza, a bag of bread sticks, and thou, beside me, singing in the wilderness, is what makes us happy. We here at Eggware.XYZ are not complicated people, and appreciate how a foodstuff makes us feel a lot more than its most basic things like flavor and appearance. So, if you want, stick to your fancy wood fire oven baked pizzas and fresh French loaves rubbed with chopped garlic; to each their own. We’ll be over here, happy as clams with our grease.