Mike Caprio
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Mike's Pizza Reviews

An Explanation Of Mike's System ™

I rate pizza on six different categories, as explained below. Every pizza gets a score from 1 to 10 in each category; the lowest possible score is 6 and the highest possible is 60. I've never eaten a 60, but I've come close! I've divided all possible scores into eight different ranges of total pizza eating experience - in general, I will only recommend pizzas that fall in the four highest categories, as shown at the bottom of this page.

Additionally, if a pizza scores below the lowest average value in that range in any category, it is scored one rank lower regardless of total points. In other words, Good pizzas have at least a 7 in each category, Great pizzas have at least an 8, and a pizza that does not have at least 9 in all categories can never be better than Great. This imposes a very high standard for the Rising Star and Superior classes of pizza.

All pizzas are ordered at the place of business - all pizzas are ordered "small" size for take out. Speed timing begins immediately after the order is placed and ends when the pizza is in the hands of the reviewer. The pizzas are then taken from the establishment to be eaten and measured further.

The heart of every pizza, in my opinion; watching people toss away uneaten crusts makes me cringe - but it's understandable when they don't taste very good. This category indicates the type of crust used to make the pizza, and the numerical value indicates how well the pizza makers create it. Typically crust falls into one of the following categories: Napolitan (thin crust), Greek (thick, rounded crispy crust), Sicilian (thick, chewy crust), or Chicago (deep dish).

This category represents all things that go between crust and toppings. This could be red sauce, oils, a number of varieties and mixtures of cheeses, or even barbecue sauce; it can be anything that is part of the "basic" pizza. Many of the truly complex and rich flavors of a pizza can reside in its base, hence it is worth evaluating separately.

A pizza without toppings can still be a great pizza - but variety is the spice of life, and pizza experience can be greatly heightened by the choice, quantity, and quality of toppings. Pizza makers who do not offer a great variety of toppings are not penalized, nor do they lose or gain points based solely on the weight/volume of toppings! Uniqueness is rewarded, as well as creative combination of toppings. Technically, cheese is not considered a topping - but extra cheese would be!

Like it or not, pizza is primarily a convenience food - no matter how gourmet a restaurant would like to make it! It is the ultimate take out meal, and it is completely appropriate to rate a pizza based on the amount of time it takes to prepare and serve. Unlike other factors, this measure is fairly concrete: the minimum possible time to prepare a pizza is realistically somewhere around 15 minutes (around 7 minutes to prepare and 8 minutes to cook)... giving the servers another 10 minutes to cool/hand off the pizza is also quite fair. To be completely impartial, this only counts for pizzas picked up at the establishment, not for delivered ones.

If a pizza can be ready to eat in 25 minutes or less, it will receive a 9 in this score; if it is ready in 20 minutes or less, it will receive a 10. For every 5 minutes after 25, the score will drop by one point - 8 for 30 minutes, 7 for 35, 6 for 40, all the way down to a possible 1 for waiting over a full hour.

This factor is also somewhat more concrete that the other metrics; it is easy to calculate value by dividing the price of the pizza by the area of the pizza (Pi * r^2). Small pizzas are always purchased, and size does not vary much on a regional basis, so this value only changes when there is significant deviation from the standard. When a pizza barely fits in the box, it scores big! While toppings are considered part of this measure, pizza value is usually judged on a case by case basis and not on a complete by weight or by volume comparison of all pizzas everywhere.

area of 12" pizza 113.09724
area of 11" pizza 95.0330975
area of 10" pizza 78.53975
area of 9" pizza 63.6171975
area of 8" pizza 50.26544

This metric takes into account all other indefinable measures and represents an overall number that reflects the total pizza experience.

Score ranges: *
6-18Never Again!
34-41Needs Work
54-57Rising Star

* Please take note - as stated above, if a pizza falls below a certain average value in any category, it is downgraded one level.

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The information on this page is copyright ©2000-2002 by Mike Caprio, mikecap@theWorld.com. Permission to quote passages or use information herein is granted for personal, non-commercial use only. All other uses must be approved of in writing by the author and copyright holder. Unauthorized use will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act