Fool Me Once

The Pizza Ninja proceeds cautiously with Franklin’s “bonus pizza.”

Hello once again loyal pizza fanatics. This month’s pizza adventure is Franklin’s Pub & Grill on Bowman street. Will the Ninja be April fooled? Keep reading to find out.

Franklin’s is a self-described gastropub that has casual American dining, poutine, 14 rotating beers on tap (10 of them are craft beers that constantly change), a specialty cocktail menu, and 16 HDTVs.

Gastropub, casual American dining, and…pizza? Ever walk into a restaurant and not expect to find pizza on the menu? That, my friends, is what we refer to in the industry as “bonus pizza.” Let’s see how this bonus pizza fares:

The Ordering Experience (3 out of 5)

Franklin’s is a sit down restaurant/sports bar.  Keeping in line with other restaurants reviewed in the past who don’t offer delivery (and are not primarily pizza shops), your ordering options are pretty limited:

  1. In Person
  2. Over the phone

The Ninja placed his order over the phone at 5:30PM and was quoted a pick up time of 20 minutes.  The pizza was brought out of the kitchen by the hostess at approximately 5:57PM,  seven minutes after the quoted pickup time.  While not egregiously late, every minute counts when it comes to pizza.

So why the higher score for a less than perfect ordering experience?  Franklin’s offers extraordinary pizza value in the form of two deals:

#1. On Thursday nights, Franklin runs a $5 cheese pizza deal.  You read that right, one whole pizza for $5.  This is good for dining in only – not applicable for carryout.

#2. Franklin’s is a member of the Restaurant.com network.  That means you can purchase a $10 gift certificate for Franklins on the website at a discounted rate of $4 (sometimes even less!).  The catch is that you are required to spend $20 in order for the gift certificate to be applicable.

Lets do some pizza math.

If you are dining in at Franklin’s on a Thursday, you could order 4 pizzas at $5 each to hit $20, which you would then pay $14 total for.  $20 bill minus $10 gift certificate = $10 plus the original $4 you spent on the gift certificate = $14 overall spend. 4 pizzas at $3.50 per pizza!

If you are doing carryout OR dining in on any day other than Thursday, you will be charged the normal pizza rate of $8 for a plain cheese pie.  So that means 3 pizzas at $8 for $24 to get you to the $20 threshold.  You would then pay $18 total after gift certificate. This ends up working out to 3 pizzas at $6 a piece, still an incredible value.

The Pizza Experience

Presentation (1 out of 5)*

Well, OK…

This isn’t a box.  This is a bag.

It’s a black plastic bag.  No branding.  It’s thin, but the pizza appears to be double bagged.  Which is a nice touch. The material is sturdy enough that it won’t rip.  It’s tied in a nice knot that isn’t overly tight, you can untie it easily.  Maybe the pizza box is in the bag?   Lets open up the bag and see what is inside.

We have two standard clear plastic carryout containers.  I like that the containers are clear, you can preview what the pizza looks like.  “Hello little pizza!  I see you hiding in there! Ready for my mouth!”  It appears that the pizza has been divided in half due to the size of the containers.

*A little bit of a background is necessary.  When the Ninja arrived to pick up his pizza order, the hostess apologized and explained that they had run out of pizza boxes.  Being that Franklin’s primary trade is not in pizza, or delivery, or carryout, this is completely understandable.  The Ninjas experience may not be indicative of the normal Franklin’s pizza carryout experience.  With that being said, Professor Ninja never grades on a curve.

On to the pizza.  Dr. Ninja performed some surgery and voila! — our pizza is whole again.

Well it looks interesting.  It also appears to contain two types of cheeses.  Is that a melted cheddar?  Bonus cheese for bonus pizza?  Let’s taste it:

Cheese (2 out of 5)

I would like you to close your eyes and imagine breathing in fresh mountain air.  Then imagine you are taking a sip of refreshing, clean, crisp spring water.  Both of these items would be an accurate description of the cheese.  It is surprisingly devoid of any flavor.  I literally could not taste a thing, good or bad. I’ve given 2 points because there is a lot of cheese, which some people are into, and 2 cheeses ARE always better than one.  But cheddar on a pizza?  April fool #1

Sauce (3 out of 5)

This is a curious sauce.  It is quite zesty and tangy.  It’s also fairly chunky, and very dark in color.  In fact, when I first laid eyes on it, I thought for a second it was BBQ sauce based on the coloring.  This is a very sweet sauce…and it’s not a bad sauce, but dare I say – not a pizza sauce at all.  The Ninja wonders if Franklin’s is merely re-purposing its pasta/marinara sauce for double duty as a pizza sauce as well.  The whole bay leaves and large chunks of onions in the sauce seem to give weight to that theory.  April fool #2.

Crust (4 out of 5)

The crust is the standout of the pizza by far.  It has a great buttery taste to it.  In fact, keep some napkins handy for your fingers, it’s THAT buttery.  Imagine an Olive Garden breadstick in crust form.

The weight of the crust and how it feels in your hand; each slice just like the last.  All the same size, density, weight.  It’s almost too perfect…it feels a bit, manufactured.  That’s right, this crust did not appear to be baked from scratch and made in the kitchen.  This seemed to be a pre-made (potentially) frozen crust.  It’s not delivery, it’s not DiGiorno, it’s Franklin’s.  Frozen crust? April Fool #3.

Conclusion (2.6 out of 5)

Known for it’s numerous TV’s playing the latest sports games, great drinks specials, and pub food, Franklin’s is sometimes labeled as the “college bar” of East Falls.  If you’re feeling nostalgic for cheap pizza that reminds you of something you concocted in your dorm room, this is for you.

4 Comments

  • Terry

    While I respect the level of detail that went into writing this review, I can say in all honesty that you should be more respectful. You have complained about not receiving a box and the cheese being “flavorless” when you paid mere pennies for this pie. As an oldhead, I remember when things were different.
    Before I moved to East Falls, around 1996 I bought a pizza from a place in the Northeast called Frank’s. It’s no longer there (thank God). I ate the entire pie myself. It tasted fine but I got a terrible case of food poisoning a few hours later. I had diarrhea and was vomiting simultaneously. My bathroom was plastered with liquid. This is par for the course when eating out so I wasn’t disturbed until I saw blood in my vomit. Then I went to the hospital. They pumped my stomach. I missed enough work from my hospital visit that I was fired. It really messed my life up for a long time. I met my wife in 2000 and moved in with her (in East Falls) and the rest is history. I’m a happy camper now. I know how bad a pizza experience can be. I’ll say my experience with Frank’s was a 1 out of 5. or maybe a 0 if that’s an option. So to give Franklin’s a 2.6 is a little ridiculous. Did you get sick? Did you lose your job over this pizza? If the answer is no then up your rating. I’m tired of how picky and pretentious this new generation is.

  • Brendan

    Terry youre an idiot. You said yourself you would have given a lower score. He is giving a pizza review he gave better than half for what looks like crap. He probably would have given a 0 if he got sick.

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