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A Foodie's Dirty Little Secret, Part Two

By Caroline Clough in Food on May 16, 2007 8:21PM

2007_may_chicagoistpizza.jpgAt the risk of inciting a riot, Chicagoist is back with another shameful (and frozen) secret. And the secret is simple: we like ourselves a frozen pizza every once in a while. We usually prefer fresh pizza over the frozen variety, but there are nights (usually intoxicated, late nights) where all we want to do is get home and throw a frozen pizza in the oven. Yes, the cheese is never as good nor the crust as crispy, but there's something to be said for the no-fuss attitude of frozen pizzas. Unfortunately there are a lot of bad frozen pizzas in the world. We find it hard to discern the good from the bad. Is it the packaging? Commercials on the television? Whatever you had as a kid? We decided the only way to be really sure which pizza was best was to try them all and then to figure out the outcome using a very specific, dare we say pseudo-scientific, system of analyzing data. Heck, we thought it would be a fun (and maybe informative) thing to do, so we did it.

We limited our pizza comparison to the brands at our local Dominick's. We considered going to more organic or gourmet food stores and searching out even more brands, but time and money limited the scale of our test. Though we can't tell you what the best frozen pizza in the world might be, we can tell you the people's number one choice from the options at the Dominick's on Broadway and Glenlake.

In all we had nine test pizzas. We limited ourselves to the most simple and traditional form of pizza, that of cheese, sauce and crust. We tried no stuffed, pocket sized or rolled versions of pizza. The pizzas that were compared are as follows:

1. Home Run Inn's Cheese Pizza
2. Freschetta's Ultra Thin 5-Cheese Pizza
3. Jack's Original Cheese Pizza
4. Amy's Kitchen Cheese Pizza
5. Red Baron Classic Crust, 4-Cheese Pizza
6. Reggio's Premium Cheese Pizza
7. Tony's Original Crust, Cheese Pizza
8. Tombstone Original Crust, Cheese Pizza
9. DiGiorno's Ultimate 4-Cheese Pizza

We made slips of paper for each individual pizza and asked our pizza participants to rate the pizza's cheese, crust and sauce. We also asked them for an overall rating. The scale was 1 to 10, 1 equaling extremely yucky and 10 being absolutely marvelous. We had a bunch of frozen pizza lovers come over and let the pizza testing begin.

Of course there were logistical concerns. First and foremost being that our oven could only cook two pizzas at a time. This resulted in a stuttered release of pizzas to be tested. Since beer was also being served (as befits a frozen pizza testing) we lost control of our test subjects' objectivity as well. Though it was a blind test (we kept the brands to ourselves and referred to pizzas by their numbers), we could not stop communication between testers. One person's taste and opinion would somehow influence the person next to them. These scientific problems aside, we did get enough data on each pizza to conclude that the winner was DiGiorno's Ultimate 4-Cheese Pizza. This was an across the board win in each category as well as in overall pizza. If this pizza was a gymnast it would win the uneven bars, pommel horse, floor exercise and all-around with style and aplomb.

In the cheese category DiGiorno's average score was 7.28 with Red Baron coming in second with a score of 6.875. The results were very similar in the sauce category with DiGiorno once again coming in first with a 7.57 and Red Baron coming in 7.375. For the crust it was, once again, DiGiorno in first place with a strong score of 7.14 and Amy's Kitchen in second place with 5.92. Pizza number 6, also known as Reggio's, came in dead last for each category. There was additional space on each form for any other comments. The comments for number 6 consisted of phrases like: "ass pizza" and "tastes like chemicals". We feel pretty confident in our recommendation that you shy away from Reggio's. The final standing of all the pizzas went as follows (this time 1 being the best and 10 being the worst).

1. DiGiorno
2. Tombstone
3. Home Run Inn
4. Tony's
5. Red Baron
6. Amy's
7. Freschetta
8. Jack's
9. Reggio's

We readily admit that we're not scientists and that our little tasting cannot be the definitive of all definitive frozen pizza taste tests. But it wasn't really designed to be. It was actually just a great way to get a bunch of people together for a little socialization. In fact, we reccommend you do your own frozen pizza taste test party and see whether your results mirror our own. Either way, it does seem that DiGiorno is a good bet for a lazy frozen pizza kind of night and we hope you consider it the next time you're in your local grocery store's freezer aisle.