Little Caesars Pizza seems like something that shouldn’t exist anymore. It should be only memory of the 1990s, like Surge soda and the Arch Deluxe. But somehow, it’s hung in there, surviving in unusual habitats like K-Marts and strip malls. Like the spider in your bedroom that you smashed forty times and still twitches a leg, it refuses to die. And while it no longer has the big-budget commercials it once did such as babies being slungshot by mozzarella cheese, the nation’s 4th largest pizza chain survives. I’m convinced the delicious Crazy Bread has carried it alone.
Today, they sell large pizzas for 5.55. You used to get two pizzas for that price. That’s where their slogan, Pizza! Pizza! came from. The two pizzas came in a long box to contain them both. Pictured above is the Little Caesars I discovered 20 minutes from my house. 20 minutes is a hike for any other old pizza place, but for a Little Caesars, it’s a godsend. I love Little Caesars Pizza, and not because it’s good. It ain’t. The quality is cafeteria food: cardboardish crust, hyper-congealing cheese, mediciney-tasting sauce. And make no mistake, the photograph above was taken with my cell-phone, but the colors aren’t just washed because it’s a phone camera. The floors and walls of the place are that exact color, fading under the zzzimming neon lights.
For eight dollars, we got a large cheese and an order of Crazy Bread: a feast. Little Caesars doesn’t offer 50 choices, combos, or dessert crap. It offers pizza and bread. The pizza is described as “hot-n-ready”, and upon ordering, they pull a pizza out of the warming chamber, baked twelve hours ago. It’s ready, but it’s not exactly hot. And I’d have it no other way. Little Caesars tastes right at lukewarm room temperature. I’ve never tasted this pizza hot. I’m not sure it would even taste good.
That’s the picture from their website, but in reality, the cheese is already a solid glob by the time it reaches your dinner table. The pizza swiftly approaches cold-n-hard upon being exposed to air. It’s like science. Eat quickly but the last bite will still be freezing. This does not matter. The pizza is really a side dish to the main course, the Crazy Bread. The Crazy Bread is pizza dough cut into strips, brushed with garlic, and sprinkled with Parmesan and Romano cheeses. It comes with a side of Crazy Sauce, plain pizza sauce with notes of oregano and cough medicine. I’m a dipper, so I like to get the buffalo, ranch, and cheese sauces intended for the Crazy Wings. At .60 cents each, a couple of ’em will cost half as much as the pizza, but dip is dip. To dip is divine.
Unlike the other photograph of the pizza, the Crazy Bread is actually better-looking in real life. In real life, it’s sopping in grease and butter. The bread is pliant, pale, mishapen small and large, like chicken tenders. In the 90s, a wise person came up with the idea to bake pepperoni inside the Crazy Bread, as brilliant a move as stuffed crust, but it no longer exists.
Finally the Little Caesar’s man, dropping a slice into his mouth off his fork spear, is a stroke of brilliance, and you don’t really need to question how a pizza chain that serves lukewarm, K-Mart Cafe quality pizza made it this long. There will always be a starving sucker for cheap pizza. And bad pizza is never really that bad anyway. Unless the cheese leaves an aftertaste. Steer clear of cheap cheese. That’s a life lesson.
This isn’t a picture of any baby I know, but here’s a baby wielding a Crazy Bread spear, covered in sauce. Social Services should probably remove this kid, being fed Little Caesars, but I guess the parents could have done worse with a bib that says Sorry I Only Date Hooters Girls.