Chuck E Cheese - Dickson City

Chuck E Cheese Pizza - Better than Domino's?

Chuck E Cheese has updated their pizza and now they deliver, and I explored whether the new recipe is better than Domino's!
Chuck E Cheese had made some serious efforts recently in advertising the quality of their pizza, using fresh never frozen dough, and freshly grated mozzarella cheese.  Domino's has very successfully rehabbed their image and pizza quality perception in recent years as well.  I've certainly tried both iterations of Domino's pizza many times as well as the "old version" of Chuck E. Cheese, and both have served their purpose of convenience, speed, and affordability.  Neither has ever particularly impressed me, but I was interested to try the newer Chuck E Cheese formulation and to answer the question - is it better than Domino's?

Personal pizza from Chuck E Cheese in Dickson City, PA.
Before I explore whether Chuck E Cheese is better or worse than Domino's (in my opinion), we have to acknowledge that this debate may carry a little more weight in other parts of the country which don't feature the quality of pizza that places like NEPA have.  It is very difficult to compare dough made fresh in-house daily, using tried and true processes, family recipes, and good old fashioned blood, sweat and tears of locally owned small businesses to more value engineered and standardized processes, lower cost ingredients of large corporations.  It's really an apples and oranges comparison, and I've yet to find a large chain pizza that compares in quality to even an average local pizza in NEPA.  There's no substitute for doing it by hand, and although Chuck E Cheese's website says they stretch their dough by hand and shred their cheese every day, that's not the same thing as making fresh dough from scratch in-house daily, using high quality ingredients, and using unique methods that produce the kind of charm, character, and satisfying flavor and texture of a local NEPA (and other locations) pizza.

Unlimited game pass includes unlimited trips to the Chuck E Cheese photo booth!
With that housekeeping out of the way, let's have a little fun with this.  After all, the Pizza Princess, Pizza Prince, First Lady, and myself all had a blast playing games using the unlimited game pass for an hour.  If you haven't yet tried the game pass, it's a ton of fun because you don't need to carry around tokens and if you're like me and try to get the most out of your hour, you'll play a ton of games and work up a good sweat.  I'm a sucker for skee-ball and any games where you throw a ball through a hoop or hole so running around between those physically demanding (lol) games made us work up an appetite for some pizza even though we just completed a pizza review at Bartari a few hours before!

A look underneath a Chuck E Cheese pizza.  Note the dimples from the dough docker.
After gaming like crazy, we sat down to try a personal cheese pizza.  Although we received this as part of a package, a personal pie retails for $7.49 so always look for coupons before you buy here (there are always a ton available on their website, GrubHub, and local ads).  The pizza actually looked pretty decent and was cooked consistently throughout.  The white cheese had some charring on top and was applied a little lightly and skewed toward the middle, exposing a good amount of the crust. This gave me the opportunity that they run a docker (tool that pokes small dimples in dough) over the dough before baking.  The crust was really nicely browned and had a bread-like crumb.  It was soft and chewy and sort of ate like a thin cheesy bread with sauce.  The sauce was smooth, fairly neutral in flavor with a hint of sweetness and a touch of zest.

Overall, the pizza was pretty tasty and hit the spot after some heavy gaming.  There isn't anything remarkable about the pizza but one thing is for sure - kids will love it.  I believe Chuck E Cheese hits the mark on creating a pizza for kids with a long shelf-life and an appetizing look and flavoring.  

Finally we come to the final question - is Chuck E. Cheese better than Domino's?  I'm more experienced with Domino's product than I like to admit (what parent of young children isn't?) so I have a solid frame of reference on Domino's different crusts: Brooklyn, Hand tossed, deep dish, and crunchy thin crust.  The Chuck E Cheese crust is probably most similar to the Domino's Hand tossed so I'll base the comparison on that pizza.  Here's how the debate breaks down:

Crust: Chuck E Cheese
Sauce: Domino's
Cheese: Chuck E Cheese
Overall Taste: Chuck E Cheese
Price/Value: Domino's
Winner: Chuck E Cheese
One final interesting tidbit is that Chuck E Cheese is now delivering through services like UberEats and GrubHub so the competition of these two pizzas aren't as far-fetched as one would think.  Obviously they both have different business models, but the pizza is very similar and who would ever think you'd be ordering delivery from that crazy mouse that showers kids with free tickets?!

The Ratings
Restaurant: Chuck E Cheese
Location: Dickson City, PA
Date: January 2020
Eat In/Take Out: Eat In

Pizza Ordered: Personal Pizza
Price: $7.49
Crust: 6.5
Sauce: 6.2
Cheese: 7.4
Overall Taste: 7.1
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 7.5
Overall Value: 6.6
Similar to: Domino's, Pizza Hut


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