I'm A New Yorker But Here's Why Domino's Pizza Is Still The Best

Before I receive a barrage of nasty emails from fellow New Yorkers, let me begin by saying New York has some of the best pizza in the world. Mom-and-pop pizzerias dot the state, particularly in the five boroughs, with thin-crusted, blistered slices that we comically fold in half to fit more in our mouths on every bite. Even in the small town of Mamaroneck, a suburb of New York City where I grew up, pizza making is taken seriously. My hometown pizzeria, Sal's Pizzeria, still makes the best Sicilian-style pizza I've ever had. 

Like our love of mom's or grandma's cooking, we crave what we are familiar with, and I'm very familiar with Domino's pizza. I loved my neighborhood pizzeria growing up, but when we wanted delivery there was only one option: Domino's Pizza. I'm talking about a time before the internet and cell phones when consumers didn't have Doordash, Uber Eats, or Grubhub. We had two delivery options, Domino's or Chinese food (which we ate on Mondays). 

For many communities, if you wanted pizza on a Friday night "in 30 minutes or less," you knew the local Domino's phone number by heart, which is an unnecessary skill today in the age of cell phones. However, as an adult, I can't help but feel judged when the delivery car pulls into my driveway with a logoed placard on the roof — as if this somehow discredits me and my knowledge of good food. 

Domino's brought pizza to the masses

Domino's is credited as one of the main places that took pizza to the mainstream when it began franchising the Midwest in 1967. Until then, pizza was eaten primarily by Italian immigrants on the east coast. As a New Yorker, pizza was always around, but as an adult, I moved across the country several times and relied on my Domino's order no matter where I was. 

As a kid, Domino's wasn't where you took the soccer team after a game, as it only offered deliveries, but it was who you called when you were having a sleepover or your parents were going out. During the '80s, Domino's delivery was guaranteed to arrive in 30 minutes or less, or the order was free. My family loved the challenge, ordering the pizza often. We would start the stopwatch immediately after calling in our order, and there are reports of consumers turning off porch lights to obscure house numbers, scheming to get a free pie (but we never did). 

When that policy ended in the 1990s, consumers began complaining about the sauce and crust, forcing Domino's to address the taste of its pizza, which had slipped during its rapid expansion. While I don't remember ever disliking their pizza, Domino's listened and revamped their original recipe, which we've enjoyed for the past 15 years. The result is a lick-your-fingers-clean buttery garlic crust with plenty of zesty tomato sauce that's completely customizable and consistently good. And, I'm not the only one that thinks so. 

David Chang agrees

I was as shocked as any other viewer when David Chang admitted to New York pizza nobility, Mark Iacono, that he liked Domino's pizza in an episode of his docuseries, "Ugly Delicious." To a stunned audience, the Michelin-star chef shared his go-to order from the chain, a thin-crust pizza topped with Alfredo sauce, bacon, and onions. Suddenly I felt seen and no longer embarrassed to admit that I, too, love Domino's pizza. Is it the best pizza I've ever had? Probably not, but I'm never disappointed when I order my usual.

As Chang explained to Stephen Colbert, ​​"It's okay to like something that isn't a food snobby thing." However, it's difficult to justify eating something as "low-brow" as Domino's when you are in the food industry. The fear is that saying you like Domino's somehow negates your credentials and leaves some people questioning how anyone who likes its pizza could have a sophisticated palate.

I tried Chang's favorite Domino's order, and it wasn't for me, but I can see the appeal. I prefer good old-fashioned pepperoni on half of my Domino's pizza so I can enjoy a plain cheese slice too. The pepperoni is sliced thin and plentiful, and crisp from the oven, delivering a dose of umami the same way good cooks do. The hand-tossed dough is crunchy on the outside but chewy towards the center, and the pizza sauce is robust, with a hint of spice. 

Say it proudly

While I love the taste of Domino's pizza, it's not the only pizza I eat. I will experiment with toppings when I'm at a restaurant or using my pizza oven at home. That's how I discovered clams on a pizza are delicious. Thank you, Frank Pepe, in New Haven, Connecticut. Or that Todd English's prosciutto, fig, and gorgonzola cheese flatbreads have the perfect balance of sweet and salty. But, I don't stray regarding my Domino's order; no need to experiment there. 

Despite the negative connotation associated with franchises and quick-serve restaurants, there's something commendable about a company that worked hard to perfect its product like Domino's has. I love that you can order a pie in four sizes, adjusting the amount of cheese and sauce on each slice, giving each person an individual pizza made exactly how they want it, dipped in ranch, or smothered in buffalo sauce if they like. 

It's time we all follow Chang's lead and admit what we like to eat regardless of where it's made. After all, shouldn't a sophisticated palate appreciate food from a taco truck and high-end dining at Le Bernadine? It's liberating to say I'd go through the McDonald's drive-thru just for their fries and enjoy the occasional dirty water dog in the city. Yep, I'm a New Yorker, and I love Domino's pizza.