July 13, 2024

BATTLEDOME: Best national pizza chains

Twas a sleepy Wednesday morning around TGS Headquarters, when a sudden battle broke out over potential lunch options. 

Naturally, we decided it was best to record the conversation so our dedicated readers can take our contributors to task for their hot takes. As always, Twitter handles were used in place of names to make it easy for readers to identify who needs public ridicule. Editing was minimal, so be forewarned.

@tedflintkansas: I, @tedflintkansas, have brought us here today to discuss which national pizza franchise is the best. There are no wrong answers – errrr – yes, there are wrong answers. Sometimes there are even stupid answers. This is where we stop being polite and start BATTLING!

@reflectivity: They gave us stuffed crust. They gave us corn dog crust, drizzle sauces, and square boxes in combos with appetizers. They’re freaking everywhere, and super consistent. I nominate Pizza Hut for the best – because reach, innovation, and consistency.

@jared_leeper: Old Chicago pizza is at the top of my list currently.

@tedflintkansas: Pizza Hut is the king, but why the FUCK did they have to screw with the stuffed crust recipe? If I see one person eating the crust first, I will smack the pizza out of their hand.

@jared_leeper: Double Deckeroni is the GOAT!

@tedflintkansas: Double Deckeroni sounds made up.

@jared_leeper: It’s not, and it’s amazing @tedflintkansas.

@reflectivity: LMAO if I’m drunk, I will smack you back because I totally do that shit. Also, I’ve been known to tear off the stuffed crust and feed the rest to whatever boyfriend/dog is around.

@spencerhughes: Michael Scott once asked, “Would you rather have a medium amount of good pizza, or all you can eat of pretty good pizza?” In that spirit, the best nationally available pizza is one with higher quality, and an accordingly higher price. Uno Pizzeria.

@havrhll: Pizza Hut has good wings, but the pizza at Domino’s is better, so I’d have to go with Dominos.

@jtthenutt: Domino’s pan pizza is the best and has the best toppings, Papa John’s is the best across the board, Pizza Hut gives you the shits, but it’s good to dine-in.

@tedflintkansas: Heathens.

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@spencerhughes: So much chatter about the bottom tier of pizza. If you are going there, you might as well go Little Caesar’s.

@jtthenutt: No.

@jared_leeper: Hot take: Domino’s is trash. I’d rather have a Little Caesar’s Hot ‘n Ready than Domino’s.

@spencerhughes: @jared_leeper speaks truth, and that is true for Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s.

@jtthenutt: I forget that Old Chicago is a chain, but their pizza is good.

@reflectivity: @spencerhughes Little Caesar’s has its place. Crazy bread is crazy cheap and crazy filling.

@tedflintkansas: I’ve never had Little Caesar’s, but $5 for a pizza sounds fishy as hell.

@jtthenutt: Little Caesar’s is OK if you are going cheap. I’d rather have Palermo’s frozen though. Casey’s Breakfast pizza is the best pizza.

@mc0le: Papa Murphy’s makes the best Hawaiian pizza in the world. Domino’s is a mirage. It’s like one night you’re really desperate for life-giving pizza, and then you wake up to discover you paid $38.12 for pizzas made of paper pulp.

@jtthenutt: Papa Murphy’s is overrated as fuck. I have to order it, pick it up, then cook it? Fuck that shit.

@jared_leeper: Papa Murphy’s is good, but they make you cook the damn pizza, which defeats the fast part of it.

@reflectivity: I love Papa Murphy’s. The Cowboy was the only thing that my family could agree on there for a while.

@mc0le: You forget that everything tastes better when you don’t have to pay delivery or put on pants.

@tedflintkansas: Did we lose at the tough talking Papa John’s people? They were talking a lot of trash before the battle @danamelcher – looking at you.

@jared_leeper: Where’s the Gumby’s fans at? #RIPAmesGumbys

@spencerhughes: American exceptionalism right there.

@tedflintkansas: I’ve never had Little Caesar’s, but $5 for a pizza sounds fishy as hell.

@tedflintkansas: Gumby’s RIP.


@reflectivity: WTF is Gumby’s?

@jared_leeper: In college, you could get a 10 inch pokey stix and 6 wings for $4.99!!!! There’s still some college towns that have Gumby’s. Missouri, Texas A&M, Iowa…

@mc0le: Little Caesar’s is dead to me ever since they got rid of Pizza by the Foot when I was seven.

@jtthenutt: Little Caesar’s wings are pretty decent. The cinnamon bread is the shit.

@tedflintkansas: Do they make Taco Pizza in the Northwest? I know they don’t let you guys have breakfast pizza up there.

@reflectivity: We have both dammit, and if we’re going local, Flying Pie’s Taco Pizza blows the doors off of anything, anywhere.

@mc0le: Flying pie delivers out of state, so they are technically national.

@tedflintkansas: You want to fight about taco pizza, I will mail you some Casey’s taco. I will find a way.

@reflectivity: Lol, well the Pie already delivers, so…

@tedflintkansas: *pulls out the TGS credit card, heads to the gas station and post office*

@jtthenutt: There’s a TGS credit card?

@danamelcher: OH HEY GUYS. Seems like you have forgotten about a little, but very important thing called…garlic butter.

@spencerhughes: Papa John’s garlic butter is very overrated. I hope this does not shatter the mirage, but… It was ruined for me when I found out it is just flavored soybean oil.

@danamelcher: I honestly wouldn’t even care if it was toxic waste…it’s that good.

@mc0le: I thought literally all foods were flavored soybean oil, so I’m pleasantly surprised.

@tedflintkansas: Never tried the garlic butter.

@spencerhughes: Spray some Pam in a cup and throw garlic in there.

@reflectivity: Papa John’s sauce bugs the crap out of me. I love the garlic sauce, but their red sauce is too weirdly sweet.

@danamelcher: That garlic butter has stained sooo many pieces of clothing for me, but it was worth every drop. Also, their chicken bites and weird breadsticks are amazing.

@mc0le: Papa John gives off all the creeper vibes in the world. When I see athletes in commercials with him, I wanna yell “RUN” like it’s a horror flick.

@jtthenutt: No, the guy in the Domino’s ads was creepy. The bearded, slightly pudgy dude with glasses.

@reflectivity: There is nothing creepier than this guy. RIP Showbiz Pizza.

@jtthenutt: Dammit, @reflectivity.

@tedflintkansas: Nightmare fuel.

@jtthenutt: Showbiz >>>> Chuck e Cheese. Pizza Ranch is good….for their fried chicken.

@danamelcher: Pizza Ranch is garbage. I hate everything about Pizza Ranch.

@jtthenutt: Yes, the pizza sucks, but the chicken is great.

@havrhll: Double Dave’s is the best “national” pizza chain in the country of Texas. Btw, chains are evil. #EatLocal

@tedflintkansas: I worked at a pizza place for 8 years, but I won’t say the name because I don’t know what the statute of limitations is. To this day, I wish I had taken the cutting knife with me when I quit. There was an extra one hidden in the back…

@tom_danielson: Holy shit, I missed the boat here, but how on earth are you discrediting Papa Murphy’s simply because you have to cook it? Nobody knows how I like my pizza better than ME. I WANT IT COOKED MY WAY, BITCH. FIGHT ME.

@jtthenutt: I can never get it to cook right. I like my crust crispy and it never works.

@tom_danielson: That’s a you problem. Don’t get mad, get better.

@reflectivity: You need a pizza stone.

@jtthenutt: Keep it going and I’M going to be a YOU problem @tom_danielson. I like pizza grates better @reflectivity. Harder to find, though.

@reflectivity: Do you guys have Hungry Howie’s?

@havrhll: Hungry Howie’s is great. The choices of crusts are fantastic. Very solid sauce and cheeses too.

@spencerhughes: Lots of chains I have never heard of in here. Hard to argue best national chain when there are essentially four.

@jared_leeper: The fuck is Hungry Howie’s?

@mc0le: Don’t hurt me, but…whole foods pizza. It’s so good.

@spencerhughes: Hy-Vee Pizza was my go to in high school.

@tedflintkansas: Now we are doing grocery stores….

@jtthenutt: Hy Vee is amazing, I don’t care what people think.

@havrhll: Little Caesar’s pizza is OK for about 10 minutes after being cooked…. So the first few slices are fine before it turns to MEH. Reheated Little Caesar’s is rubber.

@jtthenutt: You cannot reheat Little Caesar’s, but Papa John’s reheats really well.

@reflectivity: You can reheat any pizza! Cast iron – always, always, cast iron.

@jtthenutt: Toaster oven.

@tom_danielson: You can also eat it cold.

@spencerhughes: Cold > reheated.

@tom_danielson: @reflectivity you forget who you’re dealing with here. I’ll bet these folks microwave it like heathens. Y’all will learn these secrets as you approach 30.

@jared_leeper: Casey’s pizza, lukewarm, is the best ever. When all the grease solidifies…

@tedflintkansas: Anarchy.

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@tedflintkansas: We can put a man on the moon, but can’t make a microwave that properly reheats pizza.

@jared_leeper: Put it in your oven on low.

@tedflintkansas: I don’t have time for that.

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@reflectivity: This battle is infuriating!

@tom_danielson: Also, who has leftover pizza? This country is about gluttony and overeating. Why on earth are you leaving leftovers?! If you don’t want leftovers go to CiCi’s and gorge yourself.

@reflectivity: @tom_danielson are you really American if you don’t order at least twice the pizza you actually need? CiCi’s is trash.

@tom_danielson: I mean, I order double because I know proper reheat techniques.

@havrhll: CiCi’s is great for pizza binges.

@jtthenutt: Half a pizza for dinner – take the other half to work the next day.

@tom_danielson: But if you can’t reheat it, don’t order double.

@mc0le: Especially for the Papa Murphy’s haters that can’t even do the first heat…

@tom_danielson: EXACTLY @mc0le. PREACH!

@tedflintkansas: Whatever, I am out of here. You guys don’t know anything about proper pizza chains. This mess is on you @tom_danielson.

@tomh1138: Papa Murphy’s is garbage. Sprinkle some cheese on a piece of used cardboard and stick it in the oven for 20 minutes, and you have the exact same thing.

@jtthenutt: Papa Murphy’s is like going to subway and making the sandwich yourself.

@tom_danielson: I could make sandwiches better than Subway workers if I had all those options too. They call themselves sandwich artists, but I take more pride in my sandwiches than they do. I was a Papa Murphy’s pizza artist for a year. You best believe I made some dope ‘za.

@spencerhughes: @jtthenutt If they’d let me go behind the counter at Subway and assemble my sandwich myself, I’d go there way more.

@jtthenutt: If they didn’t have shitty food I’d go there more.

@mc0le: Not everyone can freestyle, it’s OK.

@jared_leeper: Speaking of Subway, they actually have decent personal pizzas.

@tom_danielson: Delete your account.

@jared_leeper: Speaking of Subway, they actually have decent personal pizzas.

@reflectivity: At Flying Pie, when it’s your name day and you can go in and make your own pizza…

@mc0le: That is a sore spot…my name is never up there. BUT, one time it was free pizza for mandolin players, and I WAS ALL OVER IT.

@reflectivity: You know, I found that if you complain at the right person, it happens eventually. For me, the right person was the guy at the beer counter on Fairview, lol.

@mc0le: Hahaha. I live about two butt-shimmies from the Broadway one, and they don’t do ‘Your Day’. Violence!

@jtthenutt: Domino’s brooklyn style pizza is the best crust, for Domino’s.

@jared_leeper: @ me @tom_danielson.

@tomh1138: Little Caesar’s deep dish pepperoni is good. Fight me.

@reflectivity: I actually agree with this. That floppy crust is the ish.

@jtthenutt: Domino’s brooklyn style pizza is the best crust, for Domino’s.

@tom_danielson: Before any more horrid takes get out into public view, we should wrap up with your closing thoughts. One take to rule all takes from everyone. PAPA MURPHY’S IS THE GOAT!

@jared_leeper: Domino’s? More like DomiNO’s!

@tomh1138: Die in a fire.

@tom_danielson: PAPA MURPHY’S IS THE GOAT!

@reflectivity: Sticking with my Pizza Hut nomination, but I have learned that while we all love different pizza cooked in different ways, we all still love pizza.

@jared_leeper: If I wanted to cook my own pizza I’d buy one at Hy Vee for $1.00.

@tom_danielson: PAPA MURPHY’S IS THE GOAT!

@mc0le: All pizza chains are failures because no one has Jalapeno Popper stuffed crust. But of the failures, Papa Murphy’s rises to the top. Nowhere else do you get to be the customer, chef, and boss. It’s a completely personalized experience. And again, you can’t beat 0 calorie pizza. It’s like the Metamucil of pizzas. It’s a health food.

@tomh1138: Is California Pizza Kitchen big enough of a chain to be considered? Ate at them when I lived in San Diego. Pretty good, but pricey. Red Rosa is also really good.

@reflectivity: I have never seen one of those outside of an airport.

@jtthenutt: <— ordering Domino’s right now.

@tomh1138: My diet precludes pizza, so I hate all of you right now.

@mc0le: *domiNO’s.

@jared_leeper: I like your style @mc0le.

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Tom Danielson 73 Articles
Managing Editor

Every family needs an adult figure. That's Tom's job on this ship. After graduating from Iowa State University, Tom headed down the ‘failed professional golfer' career path before heading back to his calling as an engineer in the great white north (Minnesota). He got his start in blogging at the critically acclaimed site, Wide Right & Natty Lite.  A student of the ‘you can't fail if you don't try' philosophy, there's no better way to describe Tom than a 'Jack of all trades, master of none'.

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