Dear Slice: 'May I Recommend Johnny's in Louisiana and Its Cajun Pizza?'
Reaching in to the Slice mailbag, we've got a great email that really makes me enjoy blog-blabbing. Mike here was one of the tens of thousands of folks who discovered Slice when the Yahoo homepage linked to our Domino's new recipe review last week.
I just read your article on the "new Domino's Pizza." I have seen the commercials for the "new" pizza pies. I have yet to try them out, but I will in the near future. To be blunt, I have never, ever been a fan of Domino's. It always tasted quite crappy to me. I used to describe their pies as "cardboard as the crust, water as the sauce, some foreign substance for the toppings, and paper shredding for the cheese."
To be even more blunt, I am very finicky when it comes to pizza. I have a lot of folks I know that just love Papa John's. To me, Papa John's is worse than Domino's. I have had Papa John's numerous times and have never come close to being content with its product. Except for their bread sticks, and that butter sauce. The only pizza that I rank lower than Papa John's is CiCi's and maybe Chuck E. Cheese. Wow, I think a worn sock would probably taste better than those two. Poor kids have to be subjected to the pies at Chuck's—torture.
Here, in Shreveport, Louisiana, we have Domino's, Pizza Hut, Papa John's, CiCi's, and Little Caesar's...as the more major chains. We then have more regional brands like Pie Works, which is growing considerably. Johnny Huntsman's chain, Johnny's, and a couple of local joints like Smitty's.
As you MAY know, Gatti's is pretty crappy now; it used to be above average. I liked it, but now I cannot stand it. I have not been to a Little Caesar's in about 15 to 18 years. I used to love getting the "Big Cheese"; it was a lot of pie for a small price, and it tasted darn good. I stand like most folks on the HUT. I like it, but it is surely not that good. I cannot say anything about the little local Smitty's. First off, I have not had it yet. And, it is way across town. I have found out that pizza is like a lot of other foods when it comes to most people's particular tastes. It is what they were raised on, and/or are accustomed to. Some person could have had nothing but Domino's all their life, and that is what they will MOST LIKELY, (not surely) choose as their favorite. [This is the heart of Sam Sifton's "Pizza Cognition Theory." —The Mgmt.]
I am not a fan of the other cult-followed brand around here—Pie Works. See, if you do not know, this company started out quite small about 10 years ago and has grown well down here in the South. They have unique toppings, such as Rattlesnake, among other things. So, being different has caught the attention of a ton of people in the area, and they believe, in their heads, that it is the best pizza they have ever had. Maybe for them it is—but not for me and my sports-watching, movie-going, wrestling PPV–purchasing pals.
For us, we have love for Mr. Huntsman's chain. Which is local. Mostly in Shreveport, Bossier City, and some of the other surrounding cities. Johnny's just has everything right. I do have my problems with them from time to time. Such as, when they rush the pies and there is almost no cheese on my pie and it tastes as bad as it looks. I eat their pies on regular basis, I know I will run into a bad pizza from there every once in a while. I am a realist. It is that the product from Johnny's is just right, the sauce has just the right amount of zing and snap to it. The crust is by far our favorite. The cheese is great regularly. The toppings always seem fresh and good. Their bread sticks are awesome; they are big, puffy, just slightly crisp on the outside and soft inside—and you have a choice of sauces, the usual pizza/marinara sauce or a medium cheddar/nacho cheese sauce.
Johnny's is also known for their Muffulettas. However, I am not a fan of muffy's. All my friends seem to like them very much. The only thing that folks seem to gripe about is the prices of Johnny's. Their specialty pizzas, such as the Meat Plus, Pepperoni Plus, Hog Heaven, Maui Wowie, Bacon Cheeseburger in a 14-inch is around $17. Their best-known pizza (sold regularly) is the Sweep the Kitchen (supreme)—it's about $20 for the 14-inch.
However, the pizza that gets a ton of raves—only from a smaller group of folk, mind you—is a pizza that is only sold certain times of the year. It is the Cajun Pizza, formerly called the "Sweep the Swamp." It has crawfish/crayfish, andouille sausage, jalapeños, among other things. I cannot remember. Like I stated earlier, the crowd that loves that pizza is tiny, compared to the Sweep the Kitchen.
If you are curious, I am guessing that you may be [Always curious! —The Mgmt.], here is the online link...to Johnny's: http://www.johnnys-pizza.com
Thank you for your blog. It is quite entertaining and informative. I recommend it to folks who are going up north for trips or vacations.
Again, thank you,
Bossier City, Louisiana