First Bite: Domino’s “It Doesn’t Suck Anymore, We Promise” Pizza


Last Saturday night, during the broadcast of the Eagles’ hope-bashing defeat at the hands of the Cowboys, I caught a rather unorthodox commercial for Domino’s Pizza, in which they admit what we’ve known for ages: Their pizza was about as good as Ellio’s. “Microwave pizza is far superior,” “like cardboard,” “the sauce tastes like ketchup,” and “mass produced, boring, bland pizza” are some choice excerpts. But, they promise in the ad, they’ve made it better. The campaign has stirred up a lot of publicity for the chain — including this hours-old feature from ABC News — but, I wondered, did they really change their crap-in-a-box?

To find out, I decided to arrange a pepperoni pizza delivery last night from my local Domino’s. Now, I should probably mention in the interest of full disclosure that I am not an unbiased reviewer of this pie: I loathe chain restaurants and avoid them like the plague (though I still manage to receive Outback gift cards for Christmas); I am a big believer in Buy Fresh, Buy Local; I was never a fan of Domino’s (the insipid, bread-like crust, the sickly sweet sauce, the “government cheese” on top); and, I love pizza — good pizza — thereby making me a vociferous opponent of lousy pies.

But, to my shock and awe, I have to admit that the new Domino’s product is drastically improved. That insipid, bread-like crust? They’ve added a tasty garlic-and-parsley seasoning, though it’s still a bit too soft and bready for my taste (I prefer a very crispy pizza). The sickly sweet sauce? Domino’s spokesman Chris Brandon described it to me as “robust,” which, relative to the prior calamity, is valid. Press materials actually call the new sauce sweeter. I didn’t find that to be the case at all, though I did notice the “red pepper kick,” however slight it is. The sauce is now more like a jar of Bertolli than Prego, for what that’s worth. As for the cheese, I’m unsure exactly how they’ve changed it, but it’s clearly of a higher grade than before. All in all, the new Domino’s pie is not a bad one, and if given the evil choice of Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, and Domino’s, I’d have to go with the last.

If you live near a pizzeria that delivers a good pie, stick with that, because this pizza won’t compare. But if you, like me, live in a neighborhood where good, deliverable pies do not exist, you could certainly do worse.