I remember vaguely the small, crudely drawn "Caesar" in the orange toga with the crown of laurel leaves, munching a piece of pizza while shouting the phrase "Pizza, pizza" from the commercial days of my youth. I also remember the day that the store up the street from my mother's house closed forever, due to poor sales in the face of such strong competition as Pizza Hut and Papa John's.
But, Little Caesar's pizza had the funnier commercials. Remember the little baby holding the cheesy piece of pizza and slingshot-ing through the house? Comedy gold, that.
On a recent trip down Route 20, in one of the seedier plazas of Painesville, I saw something I thought had disappeared entirely from Northeast Ohio: a Little Caesar's pizzeria... free-standing, offering fresh pizzas and my personal favorite... Crazy Bread. I had to stop.
Upon entering the small shop, complete with an ATM and a clean lobby, I was greeted with the familiar smells of any pizzeria... only this one was different. It had Crazy Bread! And, by the sign above the counter, a special... an order of Crazy Bread, ready to walk out the door with dipping sauce, for $2.50! (Cash only).
I promptly walked up to the long-haired cashier and placed my order. Only, unlike what the sign promised, none was immediately available. I had to wait. No big deal, really; my husband and I took a seat on a bright red bench in the lobby, and waited. We watched the cashier stock the small warming unit on the counter with ready-made large pizzas; only $5 each.
About 10 minutes later, the cashier called us up, and we retrieved our breadsticks. An order of 8, hot and fresh from the oven, with a small cup of pizza sauce. The bread smelled yummy... with buttery goodness and the signature parmesan garlic flavor... it was as good as my 10-year-old memories could recall. Flavorful, warm... I was in heaven.
The only jolt to reality was the bland pizza sauce. I didn't recall that part, but the sauce was watery and not very tasty. Think tomato sauce with minimal flavoring. A disappointment, however, not necessary to enjoy the Crazy Bread.
All in all, this is a great little trip down memory lane. The prices are competitive, and they also have the "Walk In and get a Large Pizza, $5, Anytime" deal. The shop was clean, and the employees, if a bit tattooed, were polite and professional. A definite recommendation.