Little Caesars Test Kitchen Recap

Last week I got the chance to check out the Little Caesars test kitchen in Detroit, Michigan and sample the DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizza.  On a recent news post I let you guys know about the current promo Little Caesars is running where their normally $8 DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizza is priced at $6 through Sunday, November 15th.  Well this test kitchen visit wasn’t for an upcoming new pizza, even though I sampled a couple of interesting pizzas, it was basically to get acquainted with the DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizza.  As some of you might already know, the DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizza isn’t a new item to the Little Caesars menu (it was first introduced in 2013). What is new is the angle this pizza is now taking with the marketing of “Detroit-style” and the limited time only sale is kicking that off.

Deep Deep Dish Pizza Little CaesarsTechnically, I never truly had the DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizza before I visited the test kitchen.  I guess also “technically” I sort of did have it when I reviewed the Bacon-Wrapped DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizza earlier this year.  I was pretty overwhelmed by the 3.5 feet of bacon and I guess that was what LC was going for. It was somewhat refreshing to get a taste of the original product without the bacon overload.

I was given the chance to experience the pizza making process by checking out the machines that mix the ingredients to make the dough, then struggling to form my dough ball.  I made my own DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizza by spreading out my dough into olive oil coated custom metal pans, laying out the sauce and applying the cheese edge to edge.  The crispy cheese edge requires you to make sure every corner sees some cheese so the perimeter of the pizza gets coated with cheese first, then you work your way to the rest of it.  I made these…

As for the “couple of interesting pizzas” I mentioned before, there were a couple of “Detroit-style” combinations made from the DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizzas by the experts.  So they combined Detroit-style DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizzas and gave them even more hometown flavors by created a Greek Gyro DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizza and a Coney Dog DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizza.  The Greek Gyro version had gyro meat, cucumber, tomato, red onion, dill, and tzatziki sauce while the Coney Dog version had chopped hot dogs, chili, cheddar cheese,  onions, and yellow mustard.  These aren’t test products, just good representations of popular food in Detroit.  Take a look:

LCWhile visiting the test kitchen, I was able to get an overview of the product as well as get some Q and A.  Some takeaways from the day:

  • The DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizza is the #2 best selling pizza behind the $5 Hot-n-Ready brand.
  • The Little Caesars test kitchen is actually located inside of Comerica Park, the home of baseball’s Detroit Tigers (the founder of LC owns the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings)
  • Little Caesars doesn’t deliver so I asked “Why not have drive-thru windows?” Well it was news to me that they’re the first pizza restaurant to have a drive-through/pick-up window… a bunch of locations have it, I just haven’t come across one yet.
  • Little Caesars uses fresh, never frozen 100% real mozzarella and Muenster cheese.  I looked up Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, and Domino’s and they all use “pizza cheese” which is made with modified food starch.
  • The sauce is made from farm fresh crushed tomatoes and the pizza dough is made in-house daily at every Little Caesars restaurant.
  • The DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizza $2 off promo is the first nationwide sale at Little Caesars in over ten years.
  • Little Caesars was the first national chain to introduce Detroit-style pizza to its core menu in all 50 states.
  • Little Caesars is the largest carryout-only pizza chain in the world.

24 comments on “Little Caesars Test Kitchen Recap

  1. Jay says:

    Nice report Ryan. My first real job was a mom and pop pizza joint many years ago and any time I see photos like those, it brings me back.

    BTW, I purchased one of the deep deep’s this week for the first time. It had many of the characteristics of the Pizza Hut pan pizza of the 80’s. I was pleasantly surprised and I’ll be back.

  2. Frank says:

    If they made a gyro pizza I would buy it!

    I had my first deep deep dish pizza 2 weeks ago and I gotta tell you, it is so heavy that one slice actually filled me up. It looked really small when I opened the box and I was prepared to be disappointed but it actually fed me for a few meals.

    I won’t try it again for a while, I don’t really have the $6 to spend, but please tell them to make that gyro pizza, or at least make the gyro meat an option for toppings. Hopefully by the time that rolls out I’ll be able to afford it!

    • Lance Rocke says:

      One slice filled you up? What are you 80 lbs or something?

      …and why wouldn’t you have a measly $6 to spend? (BTW the $6 promo will end the 15th, its normally $8, guess you’ll have to save up for a few more days to afford that

    • BBB says:

      I guess I don’t know your financial situation but if one slice filled you up then you have 8 meals for $6. Not sure where else you can get something that cheap. Even a bowl of cereal with milk would probably be more than 75 cents.

  3. Tom C. says:

    Nice work. I have been to my local place a few times this past week trying to get the $6 deep dish and they are always sold out. Without that dough they can’t even make the italian cheese bread either. I have had the deep dish before and it is much more enjoyable than their regular pizza.

  4. Patrick Bateman says:

    I had some today as part of the Veteran’s Day promo. The pizza was good, but I felt it had too much sauce. Either way, it was free, so I’m not really complaining. The cheese was good and very stretchy. The dough was good too. Value-wise, LC can’t be beat (outside of when Dominos does the $5.99 large two topping deal).

  5. Rene says:

    Where I live there are four Little Caesars locations but the one closest to my home is the only one with a drive thru window. When I do go I notice the people who use the drive thru window end up waiting in the parking lot for their order to be taken to them when it’s ready, it’s rare I see someone getting their pizza though the drive thru window.

  6. Daniel Fletcher says:

    I know of Pizza Huts that had drive-thru pickups windows back in the 80’s.

  7. doctorx0079 says:

    So why is the pizza at my Little Caesar’s so bland??? D’OH!!

  8. Sascha says:

    How did the Greek and Coney pizzas taste, because, surprisingly, they both sound pretty awesome.

    To my knowledge LC is the only pizza chain that uses Muenster in their cheese mix, and if you take everything else away, of the national chains (Dominos, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, Hungry Howies, Little Caesar’s) LC has far and away the best cheese.

  9. MR. Gnarly says:

    I’m not a big fan of this pizza, nor am I a fan of cold pizza. But this one is sooo much better the next day straight out of the fridge. Thanks for the free lunch on veterans day Little Caesars.

  10. sandy says:

    Nice review! I could so go for the Coney or Gyro version of their deep dish. For the price, LC’s deep dish pizza is quite the deal. Even the regular price of $8 is a good value.

  11. ahecht says:

    Man, I would totally go for those Greek Gyro and Coney Dog pizzas! They look better than anything on the menu.

  12. Ryan says:

    Papa’s does use 100% real cheese. I don’t know where you got the modified food starch from. lol

  13. Tony says:

    Whey protein concentrate? No wonder why their pizza is so filling. Its defintely cheaper than real cheese and skews perception of value. A win win for Mr. Schnatters fat wallet

    • Robert says:

      Mr Schnatter is a jerk and his pizza blows.

      I love LC deep dish. Jet’s is, confusingly, nearly identical. I’ve been to half a dozen locations of each chain, so I know. I think LC is horribly managed, though. They could be a great chain yet again, if they expanded into more areas – and invested more in their $5 pizza. The dough is actually the problem with that one.

      • Sascha says:

        I know you tried to convince people of this in the last LC post too, but Jet’s is simply better than Little Caesar’s in the deep dish pizza department. LC’s is good, but Jet’s is great. Better, crunchier crust and more cheese.
        Now, to be fair, I’m going to order a LC Deep Dish with extra toppings and extra cheese next time, instead of just picking up a Hot & Ready, at that point I’ll see if it makes a good substitute, plus compare prices.

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