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Big Cheese Pizza

Posted by DID 21 Sep 2010 41 Comments

Big Cheese Pizza – the name kind of says it all.

They sell hot, ready large cheese and pepperoni pizzas for $5. For extra, you can customize your pie with a variety of the traditional veggie and meat toppings, but you’ll have to wait for it to cook. They also sell wings and breadsticks. From their website, Big Cheese Pizza seems to be part of small NC franchise and this spot is owned by a Durham family. When we stopped by, the owner was super friendly and assured us she makes the dough and sauce from scratch every day.

In need of a quick dinner, we just picked up a cheese pizza to go. It was as advertised – big. The crust was tasty (better than many other chain pizza joints) and the cheese was, well, cheesy. My only complaint is that the pie could have used more sauce.

Is this the best pizza in Durham? No. But it is hot/ready, indulgently tasty and $5. Large enough to feed a family of four, we (two adults) easily made two meals out of one pie. Big Cheese Pizza is a good option when you’ve eaten at Chubby’s/Cosmic/the Taquerias one too many times and are in need of a quick, cheap non-fast-food meal in Durham.

Big Cheese Pizza
3405 Hillsborough Rd
Durham, NC 27705-3041
(919) 381-6268


  • Justin Wehr said:

    Looking forward to trying it.

    My question is what is the best pizza in Durham? Any suggestions are appreciated.


    judas_escargot replies on September 21st, 2010 at 1:15 pm:

    I haven’t eaten any pizza in a while for dietary reasons, but for me it was always a toss-up between Randy’s, Alfredo’s, and Brooklyn Pizzeria… a lot of variation in the quality at those places though. Pop’s is pretty good too, different style of pizza.


    Nick D replies on September 21st, 2010 at 7:53 pm:

    Randy’s is my fav


    Jamie replies on September 22nd, 2010 at 2:47 pm:

    My favorites in Durham:

    1) Randy’s
    2) Mellow Mushroom — crust is amazing
    3) Whole Foods — they have surprisingly good pizza. Had a slice of the Bronson the other day, which was topped with bacon, pinapples, and ground jalapenos.

    This is very hard for a hard-core Durham-ite to admit, but my absolute favorite pizza in the area is Lilly’s Pizza in Raleigh. I don’t ever venture to Raleigh to eat (because we have the best places in Durham!), but I will make the trip for Lilly’s! Pistaschios and potatoes on your pizza. Enough said…


  • DID (author) said:

    I’m a big fan of Cinelli’s Grandma pizza for take-out and grabbing a Pop’s pizza at the bar.


  • TSQ75 said:

    hmmm…nice option. :)


  • T-NC said:

    Italian Pizzeria on Roxboro Rd in the shopping center where Burlington Coat Factory is located. They have been there for many years. Generous toppings, free drink refills, great salads etc. Have not found anyone else with better pizza ! Sooooo much better than Randy’s !


    Sausagelinks replies on September 22nd, 2010 at 9:24 am:

    Italian Pizzeria on Roxboro Rd for sure!


  • Tooth said:

    My faves:

    The Nonna’s pizza at Bocci
    The Brick Oven pizza at Bocci
    The Neapolitan Pizza Pomodoro at Pulcinella’s

    For all the raves about the pizza at Pop’s, I find the crust is too thick and doughy for my taste.


  • Barbara L said:

    I like Brooklyn Pizza for good NY pizza – Randy’s used to be tops for me but Brooklyn took it over. The guy is really from brooklyn.


  • steve said:

    Best Pizza in Durham:

    Broad Street Cafe: Their oven is small so the wait can be long, but it is worth it.

    Second place: Pop’s Backdoor Pizza

    Honorable Mention: Mellow Mushroom, Satisfactions

    Most Missed: Rockwood Filling Station


    steve replies on September 22nd, 2010 at 11:30 am:

    Oh, and Randy’s as another Honorable Mention. It’s my fave for cheap, thin crust, pizza by the slice.


  • Mike said:

    Enzo’s? Is this a chain? It seems like a chain but I can’t tell.


  • aburtch said:

    It may not be the popular choice and it is a chain, but Mellow Mushroom at the ATC gets my vote. The crust is easily the best in Durham.

    When I don’t want to drive that far, or am feeling cheap, then Randy’s is my go-to.


  • Jackie said:

    My new favorite pizza is The Northerner at Pop’s Backdoor Pizza South with a side of fries.


    Box replies on September 22nd, 2010 at 12:53 pm:

    Big fan of Pops Backdoor South

    Also agree on Italian Pizzeria

    Would add Bocci’s Brick Oven style pizza – the only thing I will get from Bocci’s


    burgeoningfoodie replies on September 23rd, 2010 at 4:10 pm:

    I also like Pop’s Backdoor though slight tip of the hat to the one at the original location for having a Potato Pizza. Randy’s is alright and a good lunch deal, but I’ve only eaten at the one in Morrisville. Wasn’t there a pizza place in North Durham.. like Pizza Palace that relocated… are they still open?


    Gary replies on September 25th, 2010 at 9:21 am:

    No, Pizza Palace is sadly departed.


  • matimus said:

    I also like Mellow Mushroom and Pops probably more than other places I’ve tried (and I haven’t tried everything).

    My question is: why aren’t there any Chicago-style pizza places here? New York thin-crust style is fine sometimes, but not every time. Is there some place out there in Durham serving deep dish that I just haven’t found yet?


  • Hub said:

    Enzo’s is great, it’s not really a chain, they have one other store in Ohio. If you haven’t tried them I would highly suggest trying them out, my favorite in Durham, hands down.


    JB replies on September 22nd, 2010 at 1:33 pm:

    I was partial to Pop’s until Enzo’s opened up, and now they are my hands down favorite. Their crust is excellent with a nice toasty crackle on the edges. And they’re generous with the sauce and toppings – no two or three inches of exposed crust here. My only complaint is the busy and awkward parking lot, but that’s not their fault.


  • megan said:

    Pop’s definitely. Randy’s too (I don’t think you can put them in the same category though). Ricky’s on N Roxboro is pretty good- their medium bogo’s are great deals.


  • Donny d said:

    Without question, Pops has the best pizza in Durham. I highly recommend the white pizza with apples and truffle oil.


  • jenn p. said:

    I must try Pop’s soon. I use to be a HUGE Randy’s fan (and still am) and even though it’s technically not in Durham, A Slice of New York Pizza at Brier Creek is pretty darn good…Their meat lovers (which I rarely eat) consists of Pepperoni, bacon and ham. WOW ! it is tasty.


  • peanutbutter said:

    All of this talk of pizza is making me want to make the drive from Durham to Raleigh to go to Lilly’s. sigh


    hlh827 replies on September 22nd, 2010 at 3:24 pm:

    Oh, I love Lilly’s – and this from a hard core Durham foodie! I may have to make the drive soon, as well…it’s been way too long.


  • Gavin said:

    Hands down Pop’s Backdoor Pizza. Preferably the old location by Parker & Otis, but the new location will do.


  • TSQ75 said:

    @Gavin: I Believe Backdoor is still running out of the spot across from P&O, its only the sit down restaurant that moved.

    ….um, wasnt this post about Big Cheese Pizza? Which I am happy to hear about because its always good to have a cheap option for rushed evenings, or that precarious munchie time late at night or right after a day of moving and strenuous work…:)


  • Tooth said:

    What are the hours of operation for Big Cheese Pizza. That’d be helpful to include in this post.


  • Jethrine Bodine said:

    Just got back from TBC.
    Hours 11a- 10:30p daily… Friday and Saturday until midnight.

    It is a Little Caesars class pie but with a less greasy crust.
    LC can be a bit heavy on the garliq lo-melt.
    If they served this at a Kwik-E-Mart, movie theater or a bowling alley or some other place that shouldn’t have pizza at all you would be pleasantly surprised. Not to be compared with actual pizza.
    At $5 I’ll go back. If it was $6.50, prolly not.

    My current non-Randy’s favorite is Cinnelli’s eggplant pizza.
    Lots of little slivers of breaded eggplant that taste like good Italian sausage (probably slightly less healthy than the sausage).

    Enzo’s… way too liberal with the olive oil.
    I have officially renamed it Penzoil’s.


    burgeoningfoodie replies on September 23rd, 2010 at 4:11 pm:

    I use to like Little Caesars compared to Pizza Smut and the other chains, but they disappeared for the most part. Anything beats Cici’s that is for sure.


    TSQ75 replies on September 24th, 2010 at 8:59 am:

    CiCi’s was much more tolerable when the Buffet was still $2.99…at $4.99? not so much…lol


  • burgeoningfoodie said:

    Just so you all know… those who like Randy’s pizza.. GroupOn sale today..



  • Birthday Blog said:

    To The Big Cheese…

    [...] ut Mellow Mushroom at the ATC gets my vote. The crust is easily the best in Durh [...]…

  • rock lobster said:

    Cinelli’s is where it’s at. The joint up on Roxboro is also good. I’m surprised nobody mentioned Costco.


  • comboman said:

    Bocci’s pizza is hand’s down the best! I’m partial to the Chicago deep dish, but NY, Brick Oven & Nonna’s are all wonderful. Not crazy about the margherita pizza though. Definitely the best patio dining in the area!


  • squidproquo said:

    This place is great if you’ve been out for a couple of drinks, don’t feel like cooking, and don’t have much cash left in your pocket. These were the circumstances my husband and I found ourselves in when we checked out Big Cheese. We had to wait for a couple of minutes because it was the dinner rush and they were temporarily out of cheese pizzas (which are supposed to be “hot and ready”). It took about 5 minutes to get one, which wasn’t a big deal at all. We’re not busy people. As we were walking out, my husband looks at the box and says, “I don’t care what is in that box…it only cost $5″. We were pleasantly surprised when we opened it and found a normal looking pizza (with perfectly browned cheese, I might add), which tasted just fine. Not amazing, not great, but certainly decent. It may have tasted better because it was only $5, or because I had a pint of beer in me, or because I got out of cooking dinner after said pint, so your mileage may vary. I actually like Lil’ Greasers more than any of the other fast-food pizza joints, so maybe I was predisposed to like Big Cheese. As mentioned above, it is similar to Little Caesars, but lighter on the grease. Also, someone mentioned that it could have used more sauce. I concur. Overall, though, it was good. The two of us ate the whole thing easily, but we hadn’t eaten much during the day and were really hungry. As far as the best non-$5 pizza in town…eh, I’m not in love with any of them. I like Sat’s best, then Pops, though they always get our order wrong. The crust at the ‘Shroom is too doughy and salty and never quite done to my satisfaction…I always end up getting a small meatball sub there instead. I’ve only had Enzo’s once. I liked it very much, and I would like to try it again, but something about that whole Erwin Road complex gives me the creeps and I dislike going over there. And of course they don’t deliver to TP. As much as it hurts to say this, Lily’s in Raleigh really is the best around. That was the only pleasant thing about living there…date night at Lily’s followed by a film at the Rialto.


  • BD Knight said:

    I second italian pizzaria on roxboro road.

    whole foods pizza is cardboard–awful.

    randy’s is ok but if you want more flavor try italian pizzaria.


  • Leigh said:

    I tried Big Cheese last night. First, as of now the cheese pizza is 6.00. On Mondays only it is 5.00. The pizza itself is fine – nothing special. I live near Pomadoro and often get their pizza and have found it to be significantly better.

    I got my pizza around 6:00 and had to wait five minutes. Not a big deal. I might eat there again if I was hungry and driving past the place. I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit.


  • Pizzaman said:

    The “best Chicago deep dish pizza” in the South is at Joe’s Flightpath pizzeria in Morrisville. Everything about this pizza is perfect. The crust is outstanding, sliced mozzarella instead of grated, the sausage is from Chicago and the tomatoes are the same as they use at all of the great Chicago deep dish joints. The place is tucked back behind a Mobil gas station by a Jersey Mikes and an Indian place. Casual sit-down


  • Shetarra said:

    All I can say is I love it. It is very convenient to my home. I can definitely tell you it beats Little Ceasars. Great price, taste, service and overall I love it. Have no complaints.


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