My interaction with the Little Caesars employee over the phone was awkward at best.
“Hi, I’d like to order a pizza.”
“Yes, ma’am. What would you like?”
“Can I have the …”
Side note: Little Caesars obviously keeps a linguistics expert on retainer for naming promotions such as these. Anyway, our conversation went downhill from there. Turns out, despite being the third-largest pizza chain in the country — behind Domino’s and Pizza Hut — Little Caesars does not deliver pizza.
“No, ma’am. But your pizza will be hot and ready for you when you get here.”
What? Isn’t the whole point of pizza that it saves you from leaving your house? We pressed on, and I inquired about the promotion itself. What, exactly, does ExtraMostBestest entail?
“The best way to think of it,” he told me in a practiced voice, “is that it's a large pizza, with extra pepperoni, for no additional charge.”
“So, how much is my large pizza with extra pepperoni at no additional charge?”
“That’s it,” he said.
“And it’s ready right now, and I just … come get it?”
“Yes, ma’am,” said my unfailingly polite pizza guide.
It turns out, this is sort of Little Caesars' thing — pizza that is both cheaper than the other guys (two pizzas cost about the same as one pizza at a competitor, hence: “Pizza! Pizza!”), and ready for pickup at any time.
I’m sure East Coasters — or maybe even Michiganders, as Little Caesars was born in Detroit — are reading this and shaking their heads at my ignorance. It’ s just that, growing up in Phoenix, pizza always meant Pizza Hut, or Domino’s, or my family’s neighborhood pizzeria, Pat’s Pizza Plus. As an adult, I simply expect to shell out at least $20 for a large, one-topping pizza — whether my oven of choice is wood-fire, brick, or microwave.
So, I’ll admit I was skeptical when I pulled into the sketchy strip mall at 32nd Street and Thomas Road, and spotted the Little Caesar's, sitting happily between Goodwill and a vape store. I parked my high horse right up front and went inside to find my buddy and fork over $6. In his kindness, he did not make me say the name of my pizza again, but handed over my ExtraMostBestest with a look of gentle amusement on his face.
The pizza was roughly the size of a Mazda Miata, and could easily feed a family of five. As I looked around the tiny takeout spot, I realized that that’s exactly what most people were there to do. (Except for that guy in the corner, who seemed to be starring in his own action-adventure movie of which only he was aware.)
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And here’s the thing: The pizza was pretty good.
I mean, the grease, heavy sauce, and extra pepperoni meant I was popping Tums like they were peanut M&Ms for a day or two, but overall, it was a damn decent pizza, right up there with the other big pizza chains.
Phoenix may be a pizza town, and many of our great pizza shops have elevated bread, cheese, and tomatoes to wonderful effect ... to the tune of $30 a pie. But sometimes you just want something cheesy, greasy, and cheap. To that end, Little Caesars' latest promotion democratically makes a large pepperoni pizza available to the masses for the price of one Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino.