Mama Leone’s vs. Papa John’s: which one takes the cut?

| January 14, 2013 | 0 Comments

With the new arrival of Papa John’s in the Student Activity Center, UNC Charlotte students have found themselves with another option to satisfy their pizza cravings. With two Mama Leone’s already on campus, which restaurant should you try?

Well it all comes down to personal preferences; I went to both restaurants and ordered pizza as I would normally.

First I went to Papa John’s. Located within the Student Activity Center, it was not that hard to find. They offer personal sized pizzas of various toppings with prices varying from $5 to $5.50, not including a drink. Side orders of cheese sticks and garlic breadsticks can be purchased for $2 and $3 respectively. The wait was not too long at all and I received my pepperoni pizza hot and fresh. To my delight the pizza box included Papa John’s signature banana pepper.

photo by Chris Crews

photo by Chris Crews

The pizza was good, the sauce was robust and full of great flavor and the pepperoni was crisp on the top, making it the perfect topping. Overall the pizza was slightly greasy, which is no problem if that is how you like your pizza. The crust was also very full and bready. Papa John’s also offers tiny packets of crushed red pepper, special seasoning, parmesan cheese and of course their signature special garlic dipping sauce for students doing take-out or eating in. Despite only offering personal sized pizzas, they offer not only the traditional cheese pizza and pepperoni pizza, but you can also order personal sized versions of “The Works” and also the “Garden Fresh Pizza.”

Mama Leone’s is  located in the Student Union, across from Wendy’s and also in Prospector. It has a wider menu selection, as well as size variations. You can buy pizza by the slice for $2.59 or get a slice combo meal, which includes two slices and a soft drink for $5.59. This is the same price as a personal pizza. I ordered a single slice of cheese pizza and a soft drink.

photo by Chris Crews

photo by Chris Crews

While the sauce isn’t that flavorful, the cheese is. And it is really wonderful. I also loved the crust, which was crisp and crunchy. It was also less greasy than the Papa John’s pizza, and while the slices were quite sizable, I wished I had ordered the combo instead of a single slice.

Overall, both pizzas were really good. Personally I prefer a thinner crust and amazing cheese, so Mama Leone’s is the place for me. However, I do love Papa John’s now and then. I think it is just based on preference and what type of pizza you love. When it comes to the prices, a 50 to 90 cent increase is not as bad as it could be. There is certainly great pizza on campus, with Papa John’s operating from Monday to Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Mama Leone’s operating all week, with hours on Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday hours at 4 p.m. to 10 p.m..

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