Okay, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way: I was more of a Showbiz Pizza kid than a Chuck E Cheese. In fact, I can only recall going to Chuck E Cheese maybe once, whereas I went to Showbiz Pizza quite a few times. Here’s even a picture of me running around at a young age.
With that being said, there is no way I can dismiss Chuck E Cheese for the role it’s played in my childhood and the childhood of so many others. It was part pizza place, part arcade, part scary animatronic show and I loved every minute of it.
The one part of Chuck E Cheese I don’t remember as much as was the pizza. I was so distracted by the animatronic creatures and arcade games, I remember eating was sort of an afterthought. Something you sat through during the birthday party so you could get up and shoot basketball for tickets.
I have been to Chuck E Cheese exactly one time as an adult, maybe ten years ago. It left no impression on me whatsoever and that includes the pizza. But a few weeks ago, I was power walking through the frozen food section of my local grocery store when I saw the horrible reimagining of Chuck E Cheese starring at me from the front of a box. I took a picture and showed my wife, who hates pizza. She then told me one of the only pizzas she ever liked was Chuck E Cheese, which made me think about divorcing her. After I let that moment pass, I told her I’d pick it up next time I was in the store and we could try it out.
Well… that day came last week when I cooked up this overpriced frozen pizza as a sort of side dish to our teriyaki chicken and rice. I didn’t have high hopes for the pizza and wante to make sure we had a full meal, so we decided to try it and if it was any good, we’d save it for my lunch the next day.
My wife is a bit of a creative cook, so instead of trying the pizza straight up she covered it with turkey bacon, pickles, balsamic vinaigrette, and a bunch of other hipster ingredients. By the time she was done with it resembles absolutely nothing you’d receive at a Chuck E Cheese, but rather something you’d pay $20 for that someone would call a fancy toast. I, however, tried it plain and it was pretty meh. Well below the quality of a Tombstone or Red Baron, but not the worse pizza I’ve ever had. Close… but not the worse.
Despite the seven-dollar price tag, the stupid grinny cartoon mouse, and flavorless pizza, for some reason this whole experience made me happy. It was like I was able to bring home a little piece of my childhood. Even though it wasn’t as good as I remember and felt a bit like a rip-off, it made me smile.
I never knew there were so many grown Chuck E Cheese fans until I posted these pictures on our Instagram. I’m afraid I borderline insulted a few of them for expressing my lack of enthusiasm for the taste. For that I do apologize, but I would be lying if I said this was a good pizza. However, it’s actually very much what I remember about getting pizza at Chuck E Cheese. It was something worth calling a pizza, but it wasn’t memorable or all that enjoyable.
I’d still recommend a couple Tostinos over buying this and you’ll save a few dollars, but if you want a little Chuck E Cheese magic in your life, or maybe just want to make your kids smile, suck it up and grab a Chuck E Cheese pizza. Those few extra dollars may be worth it.