The Week of CuriosityThe 2nd stage of my pizza hunt was characterized by my own curiosity, curiosity of the unknown as well as the known. I've been to many of the pizza chains, of course. But I was intrigued by one recommendation of a chain location "much better than the others." It was immediately added to my list and would be my next stop right after the one everybody seems to be talking about.
"Well, it's not really in the metro," I'd say. "I was really confining the pizza search to OKC, not much farther than Norman." But JO's FAMOUS PIZZA in Purcell kept appearing in e-mail after e-mail.
So, I gave in. Not really sure whether I'd include it in my eventual top 10 even if it was outstanding, I made the drive south of Norman to the small town of Purcell.
With a great atmosphere of what a pizza parlor should resemble if you ask me, Jo's has a friendly staff and an interesting gimmick of serving their pizza on round cardboard "plates." It was fun, and I was ready for what everyone said would be the best pizza I've ever eaten.
Well, let's get this out of the way. Jo's is very good but not the best I've ever eaten. Nevertheless, with its perfect sauce amount as well as a unique flaky-but-with-substance crust, I can definitely see what all the hype is about. I got a half and half pizza so I could try several different toppings. I wasn't a big fan of the sausage but really liked the pepperoni.
- Amount of toppings just right
- Good price and atmosphere
- Flaky crust that's turned up like a pie
- Great crust texture but somewhat bland by itself
- A little bit of standing grease
Oh, and speaking of chains. Kyle from OKC told me about a particular DOMINO'S PIZZA he said was much better than other locations. Not being a big fan of Domino's anyway, I had to try it.
Well, sorry Kyle. I'm not even going to mention the location because I just didn't see it. Now, maybe I went on a bad day. Or maybe this is one of those simple personal opinion things, but I just can't like Domino's that much. For a cheap price and quick delivery, I see the appeal. But the pizza always seems dry with a chewy crust that really needs dipping sauce to avoid being leftover.
- Good prices, particularly with coupons or specials
- Sauce has some good spice to it
- Not much sauce at all
- Cheese almost tastes "processed"
The Big NamesAfter sampling some unique spots thus far in the Pizza Search, I decided to take a quick run through a couple popular chains as well as one of my top recommendations.
My original intention was to look outside the usual, but I owe it to each of the "big names" to give them their due as I did for Domino's.
Well, my conclusion is that most of them just don't stand up to my high pizza standards. They're good for what they are, I suppose. But I feel like I've justified my early goals for the Pizza Search now. Here are my thoughts:
- Mazzio's Pizza - Probably the best of the bunch as far as the top chains. You can get some decent fast-food-type pizza from Mazzio's.
- Pizza Hut - Good spicy sauce makes you think it'll be one of the better ones, but the chewy crust on the hand-tossed pizzas doesn't hold up well for me. And the toppings just seem like too much.
- Papa John's - Got this one to go and got that jalapeno in the box. It didn't help their cause. Too much end crust, greasy toppings and not enough sauce placed this one way outside any top 10 list.
- Little Caesar's - 5 bucks for a large. Probably not worth that much. This is what you buy for a birthday party with twenty 12-year-olds. Otherwise, go somewhere else.
Next, it was on to one of the top recommendations...