Started in 1973 in Omaha, Godfather’s tried to go elbow to elbow with Pizza Hut, and at the time, Shakey’s.
The chain was spun off to Pillsbury when they thought they wanted to be in the restaurant business, at the time they also held Burger King, and a pie chain which I have long since forgotten the name of. Pillsbury got out of the restaurant business, and the chain was the object of an MBO.
This year seems to be all about me going into places I haven’t been to for 20-30 years, and Godfather’s would fall into that category. There was one in my home town, but lots of people had kind of a hard on about it for two reasons, it was the first national competitor to try and make a dent in hometown favorite Sammy’s, and also because the franchisee chose a location near and dear to young Duluthians – it was the site of THE local high school hang-out drive in. All of us from that generation miss the “Inn” every day.
What I remember of Godfather’s from that vintage, was lots of cubed meat toppings, and an obnoxious jingle and icon that riffed on the Godfather movie with “A pizza you can’t refuse.” Apparently they are still using that tag line, but believe me, this is one pizza you CAN refuse, thus my post’s headline.
I happen to be driving by an outlet today, and it was lunchtime, so I figured I try it. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even know they were still around, they are that low profile these days. I came to find out during my visit they have a dozen locations in the Portland, OR metro, and while i SHOULD be aware of that, I don’t ever recall seeing a single bit of marketing in print, radio, or tv. (Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been surprised when I did see it. Duh.)
Godfather’s offers a pizza and salad buffet, like many pizzerias do, theirs is 6.99 here for all you can eat and drink, except adding a salad adds a buck to the price. I didn’t add the salad, and I didn’t look at that portion of the buffet, and I should have. Might have add ingredients that would have made the pizza more interesting.
OK, it’s not awful. It’s just nothing special. It’s as good, or bad, as Pizza Hut, Domino’s, or Round Table (I tried their buffet a couple months ago, posted here).
There were portions of 3-4 pizzas on the buffet (some left over from earlier pies placed out, no doubt). There was also “mojo potatos” (deep fried wedges) who dreamed up “mojo potatoes” anyway, and why didn’t they trademark the name? Also available, the ubiquitous bread sticks (long slices of pizza crust), and a dessert concoction of the same ilk.
There were about a half dozen diners in the joint, it was high noon, this was a free-standing unit in a strip mall out lot in suburbia. It was decorated with sports crap (why are there so many sports-themed bars and restaurants?). I want there to be “news and information” restaurants, where you go in and the big screens are blaring Rachel Maddow, or reality shows like Ax Men!
Anyway, I quipped to one of my fellow buffeteers (Is that a word? It is now!) that the restaurant must have gotten a deal on pineapple that day, because there were seemingly diced chunks of canned pineapple on nearly every pie. Note to anyone: there are certain pizza toppings that just don’t GO with pineapple, i.e most of them.
Godfather’s offers three types of crusts, according to their menu (below), “Original Thick and Chewy”, “Golden- Buttery Pan Style”, and “Thin – Light and Crispy.” If all three were represented on the buffet, I couldn’t tell the difference. At least the first two were, and they were virtually indistinguishable.
The Godfather’s napkin says something like “You’ll need this, cause we pile on the toppings,” but such was not the case with the buffet pies, and I get why they do that, even if I don’t agree with it.
My biggest gripe about the pizza I had (mostly very strange combinations like sausage, pineapple, and mushroom), was that the topping ingredients are very apparently food service products. They use those little sausage crumbles, which since they are pre-cooked (in my opinion) tend to harden under heat lamps. Pepperoni was cupped and charred, a sure sign of high fat, low cost salami.
And so it goes. But hey, they did have video poker, so that’s probably paying the rent anyway.
The place was clean. But the pizza is about as good as any gas station or c-store heat and eat. They get $20.99 for a jumbo two topping, and you’d be better off to spend the same $20 on four ‘ready to go at anytime” Little Caesar’s Pies.
I’m just saying. But if you want to go to this location, map and pix of slices below.
Here endeth the lesson.