For the most part I don’t mind “fast food” chain pizza. I know that living in the Chicago area gives me access to some of the best pizza restaurants in the United States, but sometimes you just need something fast and cheap to satisfy your pizza craving. And that’s why we decided to get Little Caesars a few nights ago.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… why on earth, of all the chain pizza restaurants out there, would you choose Little Caesars? And the answer is pretty simple. It’s extremely cheap and the location is about 3 minutes from our house. So for sheer convenience, and not wanting to spend a lot on a pizza and have to wait for delivery, we opted for Little Caesars.
And also, apparently my wife has a soft spot for it… I think it was their go-to pizza place when she was a kid, but I’m not sure. I know Dominos was our go to place growing up, and I still have the phone number of the one in my hometown memorized.
So that was basically it, cheap and convenient was exactly what we were looking for… and the fact that my wife couldn’t remember the last time she’d had it, and I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever had it, we decided to give it a shot.
And I do still have plans to do a chain pizza shootout where we order a pizza from each of the big chains in the area, (Dominos, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, and Little Caesars) and we do a blind taste test to see which one tastes the best. I have a feeling people are going to be surprised… but that’s coming at a later date. For now, I just want to talk a little bit about the process of ordering a pizza from Little Caesars.
Pizza Portal Pick-Up
I was actually unaware that Little Caesars Pizza does not deliver at all. There’s no delivery option on the website and you can’t call and have them deliver. You may be able to use a 3rd party service like Postmates or something, but I’m not sure. Not offering delivery is part of how the chain keeps their prices down… that, and lower quality products.
So with delivery not being an option you basically just have to go pick it up in the store, which is what I wanted to do anyways, to save on any delivery fees. And actually, the whole process was pretty cool.
To order the pizza, you just head on over to their website and place your order as you would with any other pizza place. Nothing fancy there. But the cool part is when you go to pick it up.
I don’t like dealing with people and I don’t like waiting for things, especially if they are late. So the Hot n Ready process with the Pizza Portal pick-up is awesome.
Once you’ve placed your order, you’ll receive an email saying that it’s being made. You’ll then receive another email saying that the pizza is ready and you can come pick it up. This pick-up email also includes a QR code, which you will need when you get to the restaurant location.
Upon arriving at the restaurant the process is super simple. Take out your phone, walk up to the Pizza Portal, which looks like a giant refrigerator, but instead it’s warm, and has pizzas in it. Then just hold out your phone and scan the QR code with the reader.
Your pizza slot will then open up and you can pull out your pizza and click done, at which point the warming drawer will close.
If you ordered any sides or anything, make sure they are in the warming drawer as well, and if you ordered a pop, just walk over to the cooler and take one. It’s pretty simple. And the best part is, you don’t have to wait, or talk to anyone!
Although, I actually did have to talk to someone because I had no clue I was just supposed to walk over and grab the 2-liter of pop out of the cooler. I’m not sure what keeps anyone from just walking up and grabbing a 2-liter without having ordered it, since nobody was really paying attention up front.
Oh, and regarding the 2-liters, the selection was pretty terrible. There were zero Pepsi’s in the cooler and just a bunch of random types of pop I’ve never heard of, aside from Orange Crush, which I ended up grabbing. I would have preferred just normal Pepsi, but if they’re out, they’re out, not much I can do about it.
So aside from the little hiccup with the pop, the whole process was actually very slick and very easy, and despite how I feel about the actual pizza, in comparison to other chain pizza places, I would actually order from Little Caesars again for the price and convenience.
I wish other restaurants had this same type of system, I would order pick-up a lot more I think…. probably not though.
Little Caesars Pizza Taste
As I mentioned above, I don’t know that I’ve ever had Little Caesars pizza in my life… Ok, maybe I have, but I can tell you for certain that I have not had it in at least 12 years, which is how long my wife and I have been together. So I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting much considering the fact that our large pepperoni pizza cost $5.
The pizza looked and smelled like a normal pizza, so no issues there. It was warm, although it probably could have been a little warmer (I’m not sure how long it was sitting in the Pizza Portal since I checked the email late), but it wasn’t cold. It reminded me a lot of what a Dominos pizza looks like.
After the first bite, there was one thing that stood out from all the other chain pizzas we’ve eaten, the spice. It was definitely a little spicier than other places like Papa Johns, but it wasn’t terrible. My daughter complained about the spiciness, but still ate her whole piece, so it couldn’t have been that bad. I also felt like there was a lot more garlic on the pizza than I’m used to, but I think they may have brushed it on the crust as opposed to adding it as a topping after the fact.
Overall though, since my expectations were pretty low, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. Would I rank it better than Dominos or Papa Johns, probably not, but for $5+tax, I would definitely recommend it for a cheap pizza night. I would even rather have this pizza than like a Tombstone frozen pizza. I hate those chunks of pepperoni that Tombstone puts under the cheese…. ugh.
But yeah, not the best, but certainly not the worst, and good for the price for sure. I thought the process of picking up the pizza was pretty cool, and we’ll definitely order more pizza from this location since it’s so close.
It’s not going to be a consistent thing, but it has definitely made the list of options, for sure.
I’m curious though, what is your favorite chain pizza place? We’re still partial to Papa Johns for some reason. The sauce tends to be a bit sweeter than the other places, but the dough can be pretty tough at times. We also like their cheese sticks, which helps their cause for sure. But I’m curious as to what other people like in terms of “fast food” chain pizza, especially in the Chicagoland area.
Do you prefer chain pizzas over the local offerings? I see you are from Chicago (as am I).
I never feel full when I eat Little Caesars as I suspect there is a bunch of MSG in it.
The only reason I like chain pizza is because of the cost. I would absolutely order from Pequod’s or Barnaby’s (which are both right near me) every time we ordered pizza. But it’s hard to beat the price of the chain pizza places sometimes… plus my kids have no concept of good pizza, so it’s a waste to order from those better place when they are eating it 🙂 My favorite Chicago pizza place though is Piece Pizza, but they aren’t quite close enough to order from, but we try to make it down there a couple times a year. I’m not a fan of deep dish pizza, even though that’s what Chicago is known for, so places like Lou Malnati’s don’t appeal to me at all. I do enjoy the thin crust from Giordano’s though, and if I had to eat deep dish, it would be from there. I actually have a whole post drafted about Lou Malnati’s and deep dish pizza, I just have yet to publish it.
You should try more of the hole in the wall places. We really like going to pizza pubs and trying lesser known places. Lou Malnati’s is a top favorite of ours, BUT you have to order with extra sauce and a well done crust, which in my opinion should be done that way anyways.
Our favorite thin crust is Al’s Pizza in Warrenville. Worth the drive!
Sorry, but papa John’s is by far the grossest pizza I’ve ever eaten. Little Caesars is at least 5x better the papa John’s. By far the best national chain is still pizza hut.
Everyone’s got their own opinion, but there’s no way that Little Caesars tastes better than Papa John’s. As for Pizza Hut, I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to a Pizza Hut, so I can’t really comment on that. Little Caesars is good for the price, but it’s definitely not anywhere near the top of the chain pizza list.
..phone number of Domino’s memorized … lllooolll
Hey man, in the early 90s Dominos was the easiest, cheapest chain pizza around, that delivered. I don’t really eat it anymore though…
Domino’s used to be pretty bad. But as some point they changed the crust or something, because I actually think it’s pretty good now.
I actually didn’t mind the old Domino’s, but it could have just been because it was our go-to fast food pizza when I was growing up, so there could be that nostalgia with it. I know they did change their recipes maybe 6-7 years ago though.