Your favorite pizza sucks, my favorite pizza rules! (Part 3)


CHAINS.  I wanted to tackle the prominent area pizza chains for part 3.  (You read parts 1 & 2, right?) I’m really not supposed to eat pizza right now thanks to recently diagnosed GERD/Acid Reflux/Barret’s Esophagus, but I have eaten many pizzas from these many chains over the years.  I’m going to be extra picky about my pizza from now on.  I’ll probably stick with Slice on Broadway and Aiello’s.  But the event may come up where I need to pick a chain place again, and here’s where they fall…

Fox's Pizza Den on UrbanspoonFox’s (or Fox’s Pizza Den) is pretty good.  The different locations aren’t always consistent, but when you find a good one… stick with it!  I really dig the one in Bridgeville as of late, but the one closest to home is the one in Brookline.  I grew up on Fox’s in Murrysville, as it was the only place who would deliver to my house out in the boonies.  I don’t know if Fox’s recently revamped their UrbanSpoon profiles or what, but I know I’ve reviewed the one in Brookline, but it’s not there.  Their pages all seem to have little to no reviews or votes.  I remember going on & on about the wedgies.  In fact, I found it at another source

WedgieGimme a Wedgie!
It’s not the sick twisted fantasies of a nerd that likes being dominated by bullies…  It’s a call to order the best #%@$ing sandwich you’ve ever had.  It’s served up on a pizza crust instead of a bun.  How awesome is that?  The steak one is my favorite, but I’ve never seen one that doesn’t look appetizing.  Just make sure you’ve got plenty of napkins on hand.

Their pizza is pretty damn good too.  There was a Fox’s near where I grew up in the suburbs, but they never had a menu this vast.  I sometimes end up getting the fried zucchini or the potato wedges… but really can’t ever eat anything after finishing a whole wedgie.  In fact, my wife & I even sometimes just split one to avoid over-stuffing.  Ordering for delivery is usually the standard half hour to 45 min., and they’re usually there before they said they were going to be… so that’s a plus.  You can’t go wrong with Fox’s.

Vocelli Pizza (Dormont) on Urbanspoon

Vocelli Pizza is another one that must have purged old UrbanSpoon reviews.  There’s virtually nothing there.  I used to love Vocelli’s, even if they’re just named after a made up Italian sounding word.  The service at the local one went down hill, and this is what it used to say on UrbanSpoon:

I used to love this place, & would order quite frequently.  But, the last time we got a Buffalo chicken pizza, there was hair on it.  My wife called & told them, they said they’d send a coupon for a free one next time.  We never got any coupons, and were hungry for their food again… so I got a stromboli and the wife got a buffalo chicken pizza… and the pizza had hair on it again.  She found it (luckily) on the first bite.  So, she called the call center. She of course, didn’t eat any more, so we could show them.  The delivery boy showed up… was incredibly rude, didn’t look at the old pizza, and practically threw the new one at my wife.

I don’t know why he took it personally… I was gonna tip him for coming out the 2nd time because he didn’t put hair on the pizza… but with actions/service like that, they can shove it.  I always tried to tip well too, as we (used to) get pizza form there all the time.  This was enough to end it.  There’s plenty of other pizza shops around, apparently they don’t need our business, anyway.  Hair in a pizza once?  I can see it happening.  Twice within the span of a month or two?  That’s just absolutely ridiculous.

So… in closing, I’d say what used to be a great place has now sunken to a.) being filthy, and b.) having terrible customer service.

…but in all fairness, after a while we did go back & they seemed to have weeded out the bad employees.  I’ve also tried their artery-clogging Alfredo sauce on a pizza, and loved it.  My triglycerides did not.  I do like Vocelli’s normal sauce, and they generally make a consistent pie & decent subs.  If you’re ordering for a crowd, I’d say Vocelli Pizza is an across-the-board crowd-pleaser.

Vocelli Pizza

''Vocelli?'' Sure, that sounds Italian enough!

Papa John's Pizza on UrbanspoonPapa John’s rules with their online ordering.  The sauce isn’t quite as good as Vocelli’s, but they do always give you the tasty garlic dipping sauce and a Peperoncini.  They do rock as far as consistency.  You know what you’re getting every time.  I wish they had subs, I always like to get subs… especially turkey, or sometimes you’re in the mood for a pizza-shop Italian sub.  But then again, maybe they just want to focus on pizza & doing it well.  Check out these amusing blog posts about Papa John’s:

Little Caesars Pizza on UrbanspoonLittle Caesar’s, what the hell happened?  When I was a young lad, we would pickup a pizza after we left Network Video (a place where you rented VHS tapes for the kids out there), we’d pop into Little Caesar’s for what I think was called a Bigfoot… two big-ass square pizzas side by side?  I’d always want breadsticks, because I have an unnatural love for carbs.  I was sad when Little Caesar’s all but disappeared and was relegated to Kmart stores for some strange reason.  When there was a recent resurgence, and a subsequent person paid to stand on West Liberty Ave. and sling a Little Caesar’s sign… I was excited.  We tried the new incredibly cheap pies one night… and they were terrible.  The sauce is definitely much more bitter than I remember, and perhaps in my old age I forgot about all the grease that adorns (soaks) their crust.  I still like the breadsticks, and $5 is pretty good for the amount that they give you, but $5 of crap is still crap.  If I’m in the mood for punishment, need an immediate meal, and it’s a week where I need to pay for dinner with couch change, I may go back.

Cici's Pizza - Bridgeville on UrbanspoonCiCi’s ought to change the name to CaCa’s.  I’ve only ever been there once, but that’s all I need.  Wow.  It was like eating wax & tomato soup spread out over crackers.  Who cares if it’s cheap and all-you-can-eat when it’s absolutely terrible nutrition?  My high school cafeteria served better pizza, and even better pizza imitation food.  I think there was a salad bar, and an unholy “mac n’ cheese” pizza.  I don’t remember much other than the dried crusty partial pies getting tanned under the hot lights and maybe even someone shouting a welcome when we walked in.  I just wanted to leave but had paid and tried to just stay & eat my few dollars worth.  CiCi’s won that day.  There’s no way I had eaten more of that crap than hat I paid for.

Pizza Hut on UrbanspoonPizza Hut causes me great gastrointestinal distress.  Every few years, I forget and enter a Pizza Hut thinking “ah, it wasn’t that bad”.  Yes, yes it is.  Perhaps I hit an age long ago where Pizza Hut was no longer compatible with my intestines.  Perhaps I was really slow to learn the pattern.  We didn’t do Pizza Hut too much when I was growing up.  Maybe I never built up a tolerance/immunity.  The pizza itself isn’t bad, I’ve had the personal pan, the normal pies, a few lunch buffets… they generally have a good crust & good flavor… albeit greasy.  It’s just that their pie unleashes itself like an assault team on my digestive system.  The one in Greentree is the last one that I visited.  The service was slow, and I didn’t feel welcomed at all.  Hopefully it steels my resolve to skip Pizza Hut in the future.

Pizza Hut Maze

A letter within a maze, for my pals at Pizza Hut. (They never did write back!)

I’ve dealt with Pizza Hut many times in the past…

Ridiculous.

Avoid the Noid

Avoid the Noid!

I know I missed Domino’s, but I was never impressed with their pies… and there’s never one around where I’m ordering.  I did like the Noid commercials back in the day though.  I haven’t tried their revamped pies.  I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.

Did I miss your favorite chain pizza?  Did I miss your most reviled?

Take the poll, it’s only open for a week!

I’m not Kmart.


This is a logo for Kmart Australia.

Are YOU Kmart Smart?

Apparently, the difference between an address bar, a search box, and a To field are entirely lost on a certain segment of the population.  That’s OK, because those people are here for our amusement.  I believe this kind of thing may sort of be the fault of a smartphone, but maybe I’m giving too much credit there.  I’m still lost on the exact chain of events, but this came through my blog’s contact form:

From: Mckiver <mckiver317@gmail.com>
To:  <me>
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012
Subject: W(aL)D Feedback

Name: Mckiver
Email: mckiver317@gmail.com
Website: http://google
Message / Comment: January 16, 2012

Hello!  I have an Award Card.  My Award Card’s validation date is 12/05/11 – 12/09/11.  I would like to know if my Award Card can still be used?  If not, I would like to know if I can exchange this gift card for a new valid one?  I also want to know the valid amount on my gift card (if any)?

Thank You,

Please email your reply/answer to me at:
mckiver317@gmail.com
or
mckiver317@hotmail.com

Thanks Again!

How’d you find my blog?: I found this  blog on the back of my Kmart Award Card.

Time: Monday January 16, 2012 at
IP Address: 00.000.000.000
Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/
Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

Again with this crap:  How’d you find my blog?: I found this  blog on the back of my Kmart Award Card.”  No, I’m pretty sure you didn’t.  But, you’re here anyway.

So, I wrote back…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jan 17, 2012
Subject: Re: W(aL)D Feedback (Not Kmart)
To: Mckiver, mckiver317@hotmail.com

Hello Mr. or Ms. McKiver,

I just wanted to write to let you know that I’m not Kmart.  I believe you found a blog post that I wrote about Kmart, then somehow navigated to my blog’s contact form to send this email.  Perhaps you searched for “www.kmartfeedback.com” instead of using the url bar, and it brought you to my blog?  Or perhaps you searched for “help@customerservice.kmart.com” instead of sending an email?  Were you maybe browsing on your phone?

Unfortunately I am unable to assist with your awards card query.  I am also not McDonald’s.  Good luck in your quest for information, I hope that Kmart is able to provide an agreeable answer.  Hopefully they are more responsive than my dealings with Pizza Hut.

Rock and Roll, my friend!
-W(aL)D

I never got a reply.  Perhaps they were embarrassed, …or just incredibly computer illiterate?  So I tried to nudge one:

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Jan 20, 2012
Subject: Re: W(aL)D Feedback (Not Kmart)
To: Mckiver , mckiver317@hotmail.com
Cc: help@customerservice.kmart.com

Hello McKiver,

I hadn’t heard back from you, and I was worried that you had given up in your quest for award card information.  Did Kmart get a hold of you?  I Cc’ed them on the email hoping they’d step in & deliver your information.  I hadn’t received a thank you from them for trying to help out a Kmart shopper, so I was a little discouraged.

If you were able to use your gift card, what did you buy?  Anything exciting?  Last time I was at Kmart, I bought some really warm socks.  They’re nice this time of year.  I like to keep my feet warm.

Does your Kmart have a Little Caesar’s out front?  I remember their pizza used to be awesome, but now it tastes like tomato paste spread over cardboard & covered in wax chips.  Someone ought to look into that.  Yeah, it’s only $5… but my $5 was hard-earned, and I’m not going to spend it eating a turd, you know?

In conclusion, I’d suggest socks, not pizza for your award/gift card.

Hope you’re having a nice day!
-Waldo Lunar

Well, Kmart is concerned at least:

From: Kmart Help <help@customerservice.kmart.com>
Date: Fri, Jan 20, 2012
Subject: Re: W(aL)D Feedback (Not Kmart) (KMM20865508V93493L0KM)
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

 Good Morning Waldo,

 Thank you for contacting Kmart.com.

Waldo, we are sorry for any inconvenience you encountered with the feedback that you have given today. We know that your time is valuable and we appreciate the fact you took the time to give us feedback on our performance.

 We are listening to what you have to say. The feedback that you have provided today regarding (will be taken into consideration as we continue to enhance our services to meet the needs of our customers, (including you) going forward.

 Many of the changes that we have made have been a result of feedback from customers like you.

 We are here for you! Please reply should you have any further questions. We value your business and look forward to serving you in the future. You can also contact us on our customer service number 1-800-733-7249 or login to our chat support. Have a wonderful day!

We certainly hope you will continue to make Kmart your choice for quality and value!

At Kmart we care for our customers’ feedback, it helps us improve our service. Take our survey to tell us how we’re doing.

Make sure you’re registered at Kmart.com for emails, so we can stay in touch! Please add Kmart values, Kmart.com to your address book to ensure our emails reach your inbox.

Sincerely,

Stanton K.(mkundal)

Kmart Customer Care

webcenter@customerservice.kmart.com

1800-733-7249.

We’ll see what happens, I guess.  I’m still not McDonald’s.

See also:

Bob Evans Follow-Up Bob Evans Follow-Up Bob Evans Follow-Up


Jelly! Jelly! Jelly!

Jelly! Jelly! Jelly!

You read about the Bob Evans fallout and follow-up, right?  In the interest of fully full disclosure, we went back, got a free meal, and had a nice normal dining out experience.  It went well.  LeAnn from Bob Evans wrote to check on me, and I thought I’d share the dialogue.

From: “Purdy, Leann D”
To: [Me]
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Subject: RE: Bob Evans – Reference # 720520 / Blog post about Bob Evans

Hi Eric!

 I wanted to follow up with you to see if you had been back, if not I understand.  I do hope that you do at least use your gift certificates to get some of our amazing Wildfire BBQ sauce!

I know you had concerns with what action was taken after your call/email, I can assure you that all of your feedback is used for training purposes, we did forward your comments to the area coach and general manager so that we can ensure that we are providing excellent service.

Have a great day!

Jelly Jelly Jelly!

bef.gif

LeAnn Purdy
Representative, Guest and Consumer Relations

Supporting Bob Evans Restaurants, Bob Evans Food Products & Mimi’s Café Restaurants
3776 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43207
Bob Evans Guest and Consumer Relations: (800) 939-2338
Mimi’s Café Guest Relations: (866) 616-6464
Fax: (614) 492-4971
Bobevans.com

And, my response:

From: [-mE.]
To: “Purdy, Leann D” ; Riggs A.
Cc: [The Wife]
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Subject: Re: Bob Evans – Reference # 720520 / Blog post about Bob Evans

Hello LeAnn,

Thank you very much for the follow up!  We actually did get the opportunity to take advantage of a free meal last Thursday night, at the same Bridgeville location.  It was a wonderful experience.  It wasn’t too busy when we arrived… and we seemed to get there right at a shift change, but the service was smooth nonetheless, and we only had to ask once for jelly!

Asking once for jelly & receiving it struck me as a possible bad omen.  Upon arrival, the first thing we heard as we were seated was the waitress at the table next to us (oddly not our waitress) telling her customers that something had been comped or removed from their bill… and the customer was spouting off about something unintelligible.

We had an excellent waitress then waiter, there was no shouting from the kitchen, the food was prepared well.  Some of the carrots with my turkey dinner were dry/cracked, but you’ll get that anywhere.  I didn’t see a manager on duty or patrolling the dining room, but things were running quite smoothly without their presence.

If you talk to the area coach/general manager/managers/team there again, please pass on our thanks for another great meal that was back to what we would call a normal Bob Evans experience.  I didn’t present my BE gift money until the end of the meal, but it didn’t produce any speed bumps and we still have one left!

Thank you for the gift, and both you & Nate for your time, and sincere follow-up!  (Follow-ups?  Follows-up?)

“Jelly! Jelly! Jelly!” may be a good ad campaign.  “Pizza! Pizza!” worked for Little Caesar’s.

Thanks again,
-Eric

Bob Evans Restaurant on Urbanspoon