19 Popular Pizza Chains, Ranked From Worst To Best
Some of us are fortunate to live in an area flush with Italian heritage, and by extension, locally owned pizzerias (for instance, pizza at the Jersey Shore is unbeatable). We the pizza privileged look down on chain pizza. It’s something you order on a lark to change it up, or because seeing the same Domino’s commercial a dozen times pummels you into submission.
But for some of us (coughcoughDownSouthandOutWest), chain pizzerias are the first port of call. That doesn’t mean chain pizza isn’t without its charms. In fact, chains are the best way to get pizza styles from across the U.S. If you’re jonesing for Detroit-style pizza and you live in South Carolina, you can pick up the phone and order from Jet’s Pizza. If you live in New York City and you aren’t sure if Maryland-style pizza is actually a thing, you can place an order with Ledo Pizza.
The following is a ranking of pizza chains (the word chain is defined as having more than 100 locations across the country). You may agree with us at points, and at others, you may be scoffing at your screen at our ranking decisions. But remember, pizza should unite us all, so here are popular pizza chains, ranked from worst to best.
19. Chuck E. Cheese
Chuck E. Cheese makes the list because of airtight logic: A) it’s a chain, and B) it’s ostensibly a pizza place. In fact, Chuck E. Cheese used to be called Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. The company was founded in the late 70s when animatronics were all the rage. Inspired by animatronic characters in Walt Disney World at the time, Chuck E. Cheese was meant to be a family-friendly restaurant with a carnival atmosphere. Chuck E. Cheese also has video games (albeit ones for children). That’s by design. With many arcades in the 80s attracting cigarette-smoking, jean jacket-wearing teens, Chuck E. Cheese took steps to keep these ne’er-do-wells out with wholesome video game fare. Sorry Mortal Kombat fans.
For a while, pizza was an afterthought at Chuck E. Cheese. It was there to make sure kids didn’t get hangry while watching the animatronics and playing games. But the company went through a major rebrand about a decade ago. Partly as an appeal to parents, the company started using fresh-made dough and offering modern options, including thin-crust and gluten-free pizzas. Despite these tweaks, we’re sad to report the pizza still isn’t as good as pizza from other chains.
On another sad note: The animatronics were also ditched as part of a recent rebrand. Instead, there is someone in a Chuck E. Cheese suit who dances around and throws tickets, which is only marginally less creepy than pseudo-robots clickety-clacking away to proprietary children’s songs.
18. Little Caesars
For many of us, Little Caesars has been around as long as we can remember, and there’s one thing you don’t think of when thinking about Little Caesars: delivery. According to the official Little Caesars website, delivery is only available through participating locations. This is likely due to the fact that Little Caesars isn’t known for its pizza. It’s known for being cheap, and offering delivery means having to increase prices. As such, we can’t abide by the idea of Little Caesars as a top choice for pizza. It’s cheap. It’s hot. It’s ready.
Speaking of which, there are a few things you should know before ordering Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready Pizza. First, it doesn’t cost $5 anymore. For more than two decades, a portrait of Honest Abe was all it took to walk out of Little Caesars with a Hot-N-Ready Pizza. But recently, the price was increased to $6, likely due to inflation and supply chain issues. You should also know some items on the Hot-N-Ready menu are only available during dinner hours.