Chain Reaction: Little Caesar's Deep!Deep! Dish Pizza


[Photographs: Dennis Lee]

When a fast-food corporation comes out with a new item, I always wonder how the idea becomes a reality. I imagine someone in a brand-name suit with slicked back hair and self-esteem issues, using a PowerPoint presentation to pitch the edgy and innovative idea to a boardroom of expressionless executives. No one says a word, and then the CEO gives a slight nod. The presenter exits the boardroom and fist-pumps in the hallway. That's how it happens, right? Right.

So someone in a boardroom a while back decided it would be a great, no, an amazing idea to create an item that would take critical market share away from the competition. And so the Little Caesar's Deep!Deep! Dish Pizza was born. Using exclamation marks in the name of the product ostensibly lends some irreverent zaniness to the project—the perfect way to hit that target market of pizza connoisseurs.


The Deep!Deep! Dish Pizza ($8.00, one topping; $1.75 for additional toppings) is available Hot-n-Ready from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily. I picked mine up at our local Kmart. The cheese hinges are due to the phenomenon known as "pizza briefcase," which occurs when you stack a bunch of stuff on your pizza box in order to cover your shame of buying Little Caesar's and bringing it home, alone.


I opted for sausage and added mushroom, which, by the way, is a mistake (read: the mushrooms are canned). According to the website, this is "Detroit-style" pizza, with a combination of Muenster and mozzarella cheeses, cooked in two separate little squares to give you the optimum number of corner slices. Corner slices are my favorite on a square-cut pizza, so that's a plus. And Muenster cheese is good in theory, because it's a hell of a melting cheese—it gets gooey, soft, and oily when even a touch of heat is applied.


Another selling point is the caramelized edges. When executed properly, caramelized edges on a pan pizza are coveted due to their slightly burnt but rich flavor. In the case of the Deep!Deep! Dish pizza (these exclamation points are killing me, by the way) the caramelized crust does indeed give some extra flavor. But this is a doughy pizza; the majority of it is greasy bread, and the gimmick loses its flair after a few bites.


There's an even bigger problem. I don't know if I got there on a bad day—the pizza looked okay, but after a few bites I thought, "Dang, bro, they put a lot of soft cheese on this pizza." I peeled back the lid of cheap cheese and dug into it with my fingers, thinking, "This is all cheese?" And that's when I realized -- it wasn't cheese, but a sh*tload of raw dough. That's when a Deep!Deep! sadness rushed through my very core.

Save the $3 and go for the regular $5 Hot-N-Ready pizza if you absolutely have to have Little Caesar's, and instead of ordering the emulsified meat-product sausage (which does have actual whole fennel seeds, surprisingly), throw on some pepperoni. Skip those mushrooms. Oh, and go to Detroit for a Detroit-style pie.