Friday Question of the Day – Reader Request

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

I was gonna ask another tax question about the D.C. Council considering commuter income tax but I’m sorta tired of tax discussions. Though I am intrigued about a commuter tax…

But since it’s Friday and a reader wrote in and I am obsessed with pizza…here we go:

“Dear PoP,

I live in Adams Morgan and last week I found a menu from Many and Olga in my house mail box. In the evening I tried to order the special $15. For 5 toppings, sounds great deal, when the pizza arrived the receipt was $17.80 or so, because tax $1.50 and $1.25 delivery, I know it is not much, but I rather give the delivery guy a 25% tip and not cut him short because he works hard, but I end up give him less, because I did not know of the the delivery charge. Do you know if is only pizza places that do this?”

Hmm, I think most of the big chains do this but I’m not 100% sure. Do you guys think that a delivery fee is reasonable or does it just end up hurting the tip the driver will get in the end?

And now for the Friday question of the day and a topic I will never ever get tired of discussing – pizza. Who delivers the best pizza in DC? I know there are some places where I really like the pizza in the restaurant but when they deliver it’s a bit disappointing. So let’s make this a two part question – who do you think is the best chain pizza delivery and who is the best brick oven delivery?

79 Comment

  • Three words: Italian Pizza Kitchen.

  • A lot of places didn’t used to charge delivery fees. Of course, gas used to be a dollar a gallon, too. I don’t mind them anymore.

    • ah

      So the Chinese and Thai food drivers get cheap gas?

      I’ve seen it only on pizza. And it’s not like delivered pizza is below the usual minimum for delivery from Chinese places and such.

    • The guy delivering from Pizza Hut to my apartment always does it on a moped. He probably gets 60-70 mpg. Nice try.

  • Most delivery places charge a delivery charge. Look on the brochure or small print before ordering so you don’t have to whine about it.

  • Most to all places charge a delivery fee. Why? Because you are having someone run an errand for you. The shop has to pay for their delivery guys somehow, and the tip is a polite, yet necessary additional gesture provided by the customer.

    Get with the program, people.

    If you don’t want to pay the delivery fee, then go pick up the pizza yourself.

    • ah

      Except for any eat-in place the prices include a lot more service that you’re not getting with delivery. It’s not like when you go to the Thai restaurant you get charged for “serving charge”, “dishwashing charge”, and “bathroom charge”. Compared to in-restaurant dining, delivery is probably cheaper.

  • 25% tip on pizza delivery!?! Am I the only one who finds that high? I am a good tipper at restaurants, but delivery guys are paid minimum wage unlike servers. You can argue that minimum wage is not a living wage, but I don’t see you tipping that person who just rang you up at mcdonalds.

    • I am not sure but I think DC pays its servers minimum wage too. Only a handful of really anti-worker states still have different minimum wage for servers.

      • It’s been a few years since I waited tables, so it may have changed, but I was making $2.15/hour in DC. It was the same thing in NJ, before I moved down here for law school.

      • Servers do not make minimum wage in DC.

        • I made the $2.15 in ’01 not sure what it is now… Any one who thinks tips are optional is kidding themselves. That’s how waiters get paid. Even for poor service 10% is the floor as far as im concerned. Plus remember that most places will take out 10-20% for busboys and the bartender so they dont even even get your full tip.

          • I go back and forth on this. Cosmically I believe that people who are crappy servers should not be in the service industry and that not getting paid will get them out faster. But then I feel mean, so it’s really a toss up.

        • They don’t get minimum wage ON TOP of tips. They are still entitled to minimum wage if their tips do not make up for the amount of hours worked.

          Whether that every happens is another story altogether.

      • Actually, its far more than a handful of states. The federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13/hr. It was frozen by Congress 20 years ago. Some states have raised their own tipped minimum wage, but many more have not. Nearly all states have tipped minimum wages far lower than standard minimum wages.

        Interesting captcha: reveling union

        Thats certainly what we need if we will ever get this injustice changed.

        • the better question is what percentage of tipped employees are actually reporting those tips to the IRS? i’d guess not a lot. you can’t avoid factoring that in when calculating salary.

          • Wait… we have to factor in people who are breaking the law when we decide whats fair for an entire population!?


  • Papa Johns. Their pizza is par (unremarkable), but they’re the only chain that is able to deliver a consistent product. I’ve NEVER gotten a sub par pie from any Papa Johns in the country–not even in DC.

    i desperately need a non-chain with good delivery folks. More please…

  • Angelicos. good pizza. good delivery.

  • I’m a big fan of Duccinis.

  • Bistro Italiano on Capitol Hill has the best delivery pizza in DC, though I realize that most commenters here would sooner live in Centreville than Capitol Hill, for unknown reasons.

  • Radius pizza, Angelicos.. good pizza even when delivered.

    And ofcourse dominos for the non hipsters..! love it

    • you mean hipsters don’t like pizza sauce with tons of sugar in it? in that case, count me in!

  • Any idea where the pizza is from in the pic? It looks amazing.

  • The worst delivery service is alberto’s. There is no one even close to being in the same league.

    • I’ve heard terrible things about Alberto’s on other PoP threads, but I love them. I think that their pizza is amazing. It is true that it will take over an hour for them to get the pizza to you, but they are at least up front about the length of time when you call.

  • I haven’t had it in a while, but when I was in college I liked Armands.

    As far as chains: Pizza Hut and Papa Johns are ok (nothing fantastic but you know what you’re getting). Manny & Olgas and Dominos are downright disgusting (again, speaking from college days…they could have improved but have a bad pizza a few times and you’re not likely to order from them ever again).

    I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve lived in CoHi for a year and have not yet tried Pete’s. Perhaps I’ll try it tonight, with all this talk of pizza!

  • I’d be more pissed off about having to eat Manny & Olga’s pizza in the first place. My dog can make a better pizza and he’s dead.

  • Radius Pizza, when delivered, is consistently terrible. It’s a middling pizza that is made much worse by the delivery process. They never, ever deliver to me (in Columbia Heights) on time, which is to say within their outside estimate at the time I order. And when I say they’re late, I mean they will take twice as long, and on more than one occasion it’s been a screw-up, rather than a problem of volume. Also, they will most definitely put the wrong pie in your hands. After about five such episodes I stopped ordering from them. They just didn’t seem to want my business.

    Pete’s delivery has been slow but consistent, and they do a better job of setting expectations.

    • I completely agree about the abomination that is Radius delivery. They shouldn’t even be allowed to call it delivery. Heck, they should barely be able to call it pizza. When I lived in MTP (two years ago, less than a block from Radius on Lamont) and was super lazy and ordered delivery from them, it was awful!! They twice effed up my order, it took eons longer than they said, and once when I called to ask what the deal was, the guy who answered the phone told me that “Oops! Your order ticket fell behind the oven.” Ri-donk-u-lous! And he sounded totally high … that was the last time I ate there, much less ordered delivery.

      Pete’s makes a better pie, the delivery is decent (i.e. within the time estimates) and they seem to actually care about getting and keeping business. Totally agree with mark … Radius blows, delivery or eat in.

    • Radius has new owners, much better pizza. But still bad delivery.

  • me

    Pizza Movers, hands down. I think they’re on Wisconsin, north of Georgetown. And I live too far away for them to deliver! 🙁

    Now we get Pizza Boli’s. It’s good. Their garlic bread with cheese is also a weakness of mine. But, they have a delivery charge of $1.50. Since I live around the block from them, we usually just walk over and get it to avoid that.

    • Holy cow – I didn’t know there was a Pizza Movers still in existence! Flash back to the 80s there.

  • i can’t believe that people would call pizza boli or papa john’s decent. god, you people need to spend some time in ny.

    the best place that delivers is most definitely pete’s (and they do add a delivery charge as well). alberto’s is in the running as well. if only red rocks or 2 amy’s delivered, i’d be in heaven.

    • Yeah, Pete’s is better than Papa John’s but sometimes you don’t want to pay $30 for a pizza.

      • i agree it’s a bit pricier, but there are two factors:

        1) it’s so much better
        2) it’s a lot bigger.

        see the math here:

        One 18-inch pizza equals:

        – 1.25 16″ pizzas
        – 1.65 14″ pizzas
        – 2.25 12″ pizzas
        – 3.25 10″ pizzas
        – 5 (FIVE!!) 8″ pizzas

        • The fact that Pete’s has put that calculation on their website makes me dislike them even more. They are just trying. so. hard. They shouldn’t have to post on PoP every time pizza comes up to defend their restaurant. They shouldn’t feel the need to explain how their pizza is actually a bargain compared to the others. Just make good pizza and let the rest go.

          • no relation to pete’s here. just a dedicated pizza eater who decries DC’s lack of true pizza understanding.

            and yes, pete’s is retardedly expensive.

            i can’t believe i totally forgot the other best pizza in DC: Vace. that place is top notch, even if their hours suck, and the lady behind the counter is pretty mean.

            i actually get dough to make my own pizza from here – it’s wayyyy better than what you’ll get at trader joes. i also have a hard time turning down a few slices of the imported prosciutto.

          • To be clear, I wasn’t saying that you were associated with Pete’s. They’re usually pretty open about who they are when they post on here.

            I agree with you, though, that DC is surprising when you come from an area where you can get pretty decent, non-chain pizza from a handful of places even in a small town (and don’t get me started on bagels or delis). I grew up in NJ and we had very few restaurants other than pizza places until a few years back.

            And anyone who doesn’t like the talk about pizza from elsewhere can just ignore it. I get homesick for food that I can’t get here – pizza, bagels, and delis that know how to make a turkey sloppy joe. For my husband, it’s pulled pork barbecue, or poutine and a stime. Things in DC come close, but it’s just not the same as what we grew up with.

        • That’s great if you take the basic presumption at face value that you can measure the amount of something by it’s surface area. if you put an 18 inch pete’s pizza on a scale, then a 14 inch papa johns, i can almost guarantee you that the pete’s pizza is not going to weigh 1.65 times the papa johns pizza.

  • I like Papa Johns for basic, chain pizza. Though the one near us is carry-out only. (boo)

    For non-chains, I loved New York Pizza. Which POP asked about here

    Captcha: “3,000 morsel” Indeed!

  • The pizza delivery guy works hard?!

  • Got to say that Pete’s is probably the best delivery pizza I’ve had and you get what you pay for.

    However, I will note: The new Dominoes pizzas are actually rather tasty. There, I said it. And you can get two mediums two-toppings for $5 each.

  • I really am starting to like Piccante Pizza that opened recently on 18th in Adams Mo. Their plain cheese was ok, but we’ve ordered the “gourment margharita” a few times for delievery and its been really good. I would definitley give it a try.

    I don’t rememeber if they charge a delievery fee, but I want to say no.

  • I always tip 30-50 percent on all services, depending on the quality of the service. These folks make a living off their tips, not their wages.

    • I tip 200% but I skip out on the actual check so works out even.

    • The idea that we should try to one-up each other with our tipping is what allows us to have such a broken system in the first place. I’m a pretty standard 18-20% tipper, and I will throw in an extra tip for exceptional service (which is appropriate). But you should probably realize that by telling people that they should feel socially obligated to tip more, you’re actually harming the service industry in the long run.

  • Ledo’s is my vote for best chain

    I don’t know if they deliver..

    I used to deliver pizza as a youngster, sometimes you get 3 or 4 orders a trip and so the last one is going to suffer. Sometimes traffic issues or you’re too stoned to find the right address. Because of that, I never get pizza delivered unless I’m too faded to drive. You just get better results by calling in and picking up. Timing is crucial with pizza and I’d rather be in control here.

    And probably 1 out of 10 people won’t or don’t tip, it never really bothered me, cause there’s always someone who’s generosity would make up for it at the end of the night

  • I am a former delivery girl (flowers not pizza) and the business I worked for used the delivery charge to reimburse the driver for mileage and wear and tear of their personal car. If you were to use your car at work you’d probably get reimbursed for mileage by your company too. Also, almost all the capital hill Chinese and Thai restaurants have a 15$ minimum for free delivery. So its not just the pizza places.

  • somewhat off topic, but i’m dying to know what other people here think/do in this situation:

    if you order from redrocks or 2 amys and drive to pick it up, do you tip? there’s the ubiquitous tip line on the credit card receipt…and i feel like a bastard lining through it, but c’mon. i just drove there. all the other person did was answer the phone.


    • Prince Of Petworth

      That’s a great question! I’d be very curious to know what other folks do.

      • PoP, make this a question of the day. I got into a lengthy debate about this with some restaurant friends. No consensus emerged (other than servers like to be tipped for everything they do).

    • If the food expediter doesn’t make me wait for 5 minutes standing near the edge of the bar like a doofus, I’ll tip 10% or a couple bucks.

      If I sit around waiting for someone to acknowledge me for 10 minutes while my food gets cold, you get nothing.

      I’m talking to you TUNNICLIFFS!

      • a couple bucks? seriously? on a $11 pizza? am i really that cheap for thinking that’s nuts?

        • Probably not on an $11 pizza, but I might drop a buck or round up.

          Rarely does my takeout order anywhere amount to $11. I’m usually more in the $25 range. I’ll get enough for lunch the next day, a salad, and I don’t often eat alone.

    • tip the delivery guy. if you walk there to pick it up, YOU are the delivery guy. give yourself a pat on the back and cross out the tip line.

  • I think tipping something should always be a default, even if you go to pick it up. You’re tipping because someone else did something for youn that you didn’t want to do. Just like tipping when you sit at a retaurant. Do people just tip because they have a server? What about the folks in the back who are actually cooking your food, clearing the table when you leave, and washing your dirty dishes?

    • Those people make a wage that’s already built into the cost of the food. If you want me to tip everyone from the farmer to the cook, then you need to charge me the actual cost of producing the food. Technically servers should be on wage too and their cost should be built into the cost of the food, but then you’d get service like you do at the DMV. No one’s nice to strangers after 4 hours on their feet just so that they can feel all warm and fuzzy. They’re doing it for the money.

      I tip people who do something like, bring the food too me or pretend to be nice to me when I’ve had a crappy day. I don’t tip people when I have to stand to get my food from a little bag.

    • yes, you’re only tipping your server. trust me, the server does NOT share their tips with the cooks or the dishwashers (though sometimes the busboys do get pooled in).

      all the other people doing the things “i don’t want to do” are accounted for by salaries. should i tip the person giving me popcorn at the movie theater because i didn’t make my own? how about the dry cleaner for ironing my shirts?

      i realize i’m getting defensive about the question i myself posed…d’oh

      • I usually tip the guy selling popcorn/candy/drinks at the movie theater. Usually one dollar. I also tip the dry cleaner, but I do it once a month, 10 bucks. I tip anyone who provides a service to me that benefits me and doesn’t own the business.

  • I like Papa Johns and Pizza Boli, in that order, for delivery. No, the pizza is not fantastic but it’s good (in my opinion) and you get good volume for the money.
    Moroni Bros. in Petworth is my pick for the best of the “designer” pizza places. I have not had delivery from them but have picked up pizza. Pete’s is good as well, though I have heard their pizza is not as good when it is delivered.
    I am a pretty generous tipper for delivery people. I don’t tip for pickup because the only person whose done anything worth tipping for is the cook. Why should you tip a server or hostess just for handing you a pizza box?

  • What’s up with the delivery drivers around here that always call as they arrive? It’s a rowhouse, come knock on my door.

  • Pete’s is by far the best delivery pizza, the only one we order from. Yes, others cost less, but if I’m worried about price I eat a frozen pizza.

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