Oct 13, 2016

Review: Papa John's Pan Pizza

Papa John's Pan Pizza features a new "hearty" tomato sauce and a thick and crunchy crust with cheese to the edges.

I picked one up with three toppings (spicy sausage, onions, and mushrooms if you're wondering) for $10.

The new sauce is more tomato-y and less sweet than Papa John's regular sauce and also adds a heavy dose of herby notes. It reminds me more than a little of spaghetti sauce but I enjoyed it.

There was a good deal of toppings and the combination I went with packed a good deal of flavor. The cheese was a little scattershot though. The cheese to the edge was more a few light sprinkles rather than an even layer like you'd find on Little Caesars or Domino's pan pizzas and didn't quite supply the same satisfying caramelized crispiness.

Undercooked under the toppings.
While the toppings and sauce were quite nice, the crust itself was disappointing. It was crunchy but dry at the surface like toast. I'd guess that they don't brush it with much oil or butter before cooking. Either a reasonable sweep of olive oil or butter (or buttery spread more like) would have also helped in the taste department as it was pretty blah there. It probably didn't help that it was also undercooked and doughy just under the topping and sauce. It was more cooked through at the edges, where the airy, spongy dough was more defined but still very plain.

Fortunately, cooked through at the edges.
Overall, Papa John's Pan Pizza was very disappointing to me. The crust falls far behind similar pan pizzas from their other three big competitors. Fortunately, the toppings and sauce made eating it easy enough.

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