Donatos Does Pizza Better Than All Its Competitors—PERIOD!!!
Written: Mar 21, 2005
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:THE BEST PIZZA! Seasoned, hot, tasty! Good service, extensive menu, & flexible atmosphere.
Cons:Skimpy on cheese. Plain pepperoni not so good. Uncomfortable chairs.
The Bottom Line: Eat this pizza the next time you have the opportunity, and you will be forever spoiled, never looking at another pizza again without comparing it to the best—-Donatos!
Background of a Pizza Connoisseur: I can say without resolution that this is the best pizza Ive ever had in my entire life, PERIOD! And likely, its the best pizza in the world. I say this as a pizza lover who has traveled and moved around a lot in the last few years, and thus has had a heck of a lot of different pizzas; not just the standard Papa Johns, Dominoes, and Pizza Hut, but pizza from New York city, Chicago, Ohio, St. Louis, and numerous others.
Let me start by saying a word about the atmosphere of the restaurant, a relatively important aspect of any good restaurant review.
The Donatoss atmosphere cons include only three minor ones:
1) BRRR! The temperature in there can be gosh-darned cold at times! (Of course, this is true of many restaurants, and I even read a study somewhere that showed that you eat more when youre cold, so restaurants deliberately keep their temperatures low.) If youre eating in, Id recommend taking a sweater, dressing warmly, or if the weather is comfortable, eating outside; most Donatos have a number of outdoor picnic tables and chairs that arent the most comfortable in the world but at least are shielded from the rain and sun with attached table umbrellas.
2) Size: Donatos tends to be pretty small inside, and thus, rather cramped for sitting to eat. Also, the smaller size makes for fewer tables, and at peak times, longer waits to be seated and to get your order.
3) Uncomfortable tables and chairs inside: The chairs are just too hard and probably too short unless you are a child or a little person. This is a problem, however, that can be easily alleviated by sitting in one of their booths, which are more comfortable because they have padded seats.
Now the atmosphere pros:
1) Hostess seating: To me, a hostess who seats you adds a touch more of class to a place.
2) Telephone Ordering: Each table is equipped with a little red telephone for placing your orders, an aspect that is a unique plus. You look at the menu, which the hostess gives you as soon as youre seated, then pick up the telephone, and it dials directly into the kitchen. Thus, you place your order directly with the kitchen staff, which helps eliminate the communication errors that often result from the third-party go-between of a waiter or waitress.
3) Drink fountains: Most Donatos locations have self-service drink fountains like in Burger King, where you can refill your cup repeatedly or change drinks (which include a pretty good selection of colas, juices, lemonades, or waters) without having to wait around for a waiter/waitress to do it for you.
4) Drive-in/Carryout/Delivery: If you dont want to eat in, you can opt for the first two options, or the third if you live close enough. Since the wait for your pizza can be lengthy at times, I recommend phoning in your order from home before going to pick it up.
5) Party room available, if you want to host a party there. Most of the time, these rooms have French doors that close for privacy during your party. I dont know what the rental cost is, though, as Ive never had a party there.
The menu is quite extensive. Donatos has signature pizzas (their specialty pizzas, such as Serious Meat and The Works), regular pizzas, vegetarian pizzas, and options to make your own by adding toppings of your choice. Also, they have two types of cheese bread, salads, hoagies, and dessert pizzas, cherry or apple. Now I must say, one of their breads is really good because it has lots of cheese and flavor, and one isnt so hot b/c it has little cheese or flavor. Unfortunately, I cant remember which is which at this point because I dont usually order the bread; the main course tends to be plentiful enough to skip appetizers like that. I also cant tell you a thing about how their salads and hoagies are, because if I go to Donatos, I aint messing around with that stuffIm ordering the best, the pizza!
1) Expensive, usually in the $15-$25 price range. But you get what you pay for, and believe me, this is worth it, as youll see below.
2) Pepperoni Pizza: Ive had the edge-to-edge Donatos pepperoni pizza twice, and I dont know why, but it simply isnt as good as their other pizzas. I think that it may be because, in doing the edge-to-edge pepperonis, they almost give you too much pepperoni, so that they kind of drown out the cheese. Also, and again this is just with the pepperoni, they tend to burn the pepperonis.
3) Skimpy cheese, unless you order extra: Im a cheese lover, and there just isnt enough cheese on the regular pizza to suit me. Donatos has this thing about not drowning out their toppings with too much cheese; they even have a poster that says something like, Toppings are supposed to be on top. Thats why theyre called toppings, and not cheesings. But we alleviate this problem simply enough by ordering extra cheese. I do suggest stressing to the staff that you want the cheese on top of the pizza, because I think the toppings being on top drown out the cheese.
Whats Good Here
Before I get into the pros, Ill tell you what my husband and I normally order. He doesnt like veggies but instead prefers a lot of meat on his pizza. On the other hand, I enjoy just about everything on a pizza except for olives and anchovies. Donatos will let you divide up most of their signature pizzas. So we always order a large pizza, ˝ Serious Meat for him, the other ˝ The Works for me. The Serious Meat half includes pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, ham, and hamburger. The Works includes all of that in slightly lesser portions to make room for bell peppers, onions, and mushroom. And of course, we order both halves with extra cheese. Also, I always get an individual order of Donatos dessert pizza. Ive never tried the apple but always get the cherry. Now, without further ado, lets get into the pros of the pizza itself.
1) Toppings Fresh and A Plenty! You will get plenty of toppings on this pizza. If you eat in, they will give you a fork; take it, youll probably need it. And make sure you have an abundance of napkins, because the toppings literally fall off this pizza, there are so many of them. In fact, you almost have to eat it with the fork, at least until youre almost through with a slice, because it is so weighed down by toppings. And when you get extra cheese, its piled on, too, and comes off in strings. The sausage isnt that flat crap like you get in some cheap pizza places, particularly in the Northern and Northeastern U.S. No, its big, round pieces of the ground stuff like they cook on the stove down South, and man, does it ever make the pizza good!!! And if the veggies and sausage arent fresh, Donatos has me fooled, b/c they sure taste that way!
2) The cherry dessert pizza is in a category all by itself. It is the perfect dessert and tastes great. If you like the Southern dish cherry cobbler, or just hot cherry pie in general, you will love this. It is always hot, it is baked on a thin crust with small cherries and lots of cherry sauce. The cherries are sweet yet tart, but not too much of either, just enough of both to be irresistible. Also, as an added bonus, there are pie bread crumbs sprinkled across the top of the cherries that top the pizza, giving them just a hint of added flavor.
3) Seasonings: The pizza is well-seasoned and even kind of spicy, especially the ground sausage. Plenty of flavor in this pizza! But in case you want extra red pepper, garlic, or Parmesan cheese, there are shakers with each on every table.
4) Hot with heat even more so than with spice, smoking hot, usually. You shouldnt have to reheat it unless you get it to go and have to sit in traffic or have a long commute home.
5) Not too greasy, like Pizza Hut and many other popular competitors that usually make me sick to my stomach because they dont give me enough pizza with my grease.
6) Easy on the stomach for pizza: We dont tend to have stomach problems immediately after eating it (a common ailment following many restaurant meals these days), and thats with my having a sensitive stomach,
7) Good customer service: With occasional exceptions, the staff tends to be cooperative in making your pizza like you want and fulfilling whatever other needs you have. Also, if its not right, they do what they can to make it right. There have been three occasions in which we didnt get the extra cheese we ordered, and the restaurant just made us an extra pizzafor no extra charge, and let us keep the first pizza.
Bottom Line: The pizza is just plain delicious! Mouth watering, succulent, scrumptious--I cant stress enough how good it is. Certainly, it is the best pizza Ive ever had, period, and worth every penny you spend on it. The pros of Donatos are much stronger than the few cons. Trust me, order this pizza the next time you have an opportunity, and you will be forever spoiled, never looking at another pizza again without comparing it to the bestDonatos!
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