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Feb 26, 2000 10:02 AM

Papa John's

  • j

Anyone know this chain?? I read articles in Time, Newsweek, etc. stating that it's the biggest pizza chain in the country -- recently edging out Dominoes and Pizza Hut -- and yet I have have never seen even ONE.

Every 3 months or so, they start having ads on Boston TV, but after a week or two the ads disappear completely. Their website indicates several branches out WEST (Weston/Wellesley/Lexington...), but I have yet to find one on the North Shore. (The local "Papa John's" in Swampscott is unrelated.)

Any leads?? I have **GOT** to try this!! Need I go plant myself in some janitor's closet in Newton just to phone in an order??

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  1. Papa John's Pizza's ads may have dissapeared because there are no outlets in the greater Boston area. The chain has stores only in western Mass. If you want to locate an outlet near you , you can go to ---

    In general, these questions can often be better answered by checking the web for information. I found this site in about 30 seconds.

    I do recall that Papa John's spun out of Papa Gino's (?) when one of the founders of PG's decided things had gotten bad enough to warrant his leaving. There are lots of PG's in Boston.

    PJ's claims to use better imgredients. PJ's is mainly located in the megalopolis on the East Coast.


    6 Replies
    1. re: Tord

      > no outlets in the greater Boston area. The chain has stores only in western Mass...In general, these questions can often be better answered by checking the web for information. I found this site in about 30 seconds.

      As did I. You'll note that I already STATED all of that in my letter!! I was hoping someone would have some info over and above the website, commentary as to the accuracy of the website, or insight as to the reasons why the North Shore of Boston seems to be the only square inch of the country without a branch.

      > I do recall that Papa John's spun out of Papa Gino's (?)

      "No" to the first half; "correct" to the question mark.

      Papa John's had absolutely nothing to do with Papa Gino's...but as PJ's grew big, the founder/former CEO of PG's invested a bunch of capital, and bought 600 or so least on paper. His final snubbing of the recent management of PG's (to which he sold the chain AGES ago) was his participation in some PJ's ads in which he says "Sorry, boys...I found a better pizza."

      There was talk of lawsuits, but I think everyone decided that the "non-competition" period (term of sale) had long passed.

      Founder of Dominoes is even MORE colourful...*GAVE* the business away...entered a monastery...later returned (reluctantly) as consultant or CEO-at-large or some such thing, after new management nearly drove it into the ground, and BEGGED him for his help....

      1. re: julie id

        The PJ's website has some humorous elements -- such as the recent court decision barring them from using the slogan -- "Better Ingredients = Better Pizza" I've never eaten PJ's pizza. My wife brought home some PG's slices from work -- it was awful.

        Isn't PG's a Mass. based outfit? Perhaps they made a deal when their former CEO left to work for PJ's that keeps PJ's at bay --or at least away from the bay?

        I have to wonder if Chowhounds are interested in pizza chains.
        PS: Where do you live? --like --which state?

        1. re: Tord

          > Perhaps they made a deal when their former CEO left to work for PJ's

          No, there is a HUGE gap there. CEO sold off PG's a LONG time ago -- 5 or 10 years maybe -- well before anyone had even HEARD OF PJ's. He was just some rich retired guy when he started sinking his millions into PJ franchises. He didn't "leave PG" in any way shape or form related to PJ's.

          And YES, I suppose chowhounds are not interested in pizza chains simply because the chains in the US are so damned BLAND!! In some Asian countries -- especially Japan -- Dominoes has everything from tofu to kimchi to chicken tikka to shumai as toppings. Even WESTERN stuff -- meat loaf and buttered potatoes, for example (though I do confess that SPAGHETTI atop a pizza is horrendous).

          Simply put, Japan has better American food than the States. Although, I HAVE heard that CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) has recently built up a business peddling much of the same "fusion" pizza. Though I have yet to find a branch of THAT chain either....

          Back to PJ's -- the best advertisement I have ever seen in my life wasn't an "ad" at all....During the first Pathfinder mission, every time the TV news cut to the camera in mission control (at times like 3 AM), there were PJ boxes scattered all over the consoles.

          Hey, if it's good enough for NASA....

          1. re: julie id

            I am a Miami transplant, and Pappa Johns was hot commodity down there. The fact of the matter is-- which I think was your original question to begin with-- that the pizza doesn't really taste that great. In fact, it's super greasy, and is particularly famous for coming with a "dipping sauce." The dipping sauce is garlic and oil flavored, adding to the already high clog level on the pizza. As I recall, their service was horrid as well.

            1. re: Anisha

              For more on this pizza--and a recipe for the dipping sauces (which I read in horrified fascination), check out this link.


            2. re: julie id

              Why would you possibly think that the sleepless nerds who work at NASA would be authorities on cuisine?? I'd say "run the other direction."

              Papa John's is pretty terrible.

      2. We have Papa Johns out here in California. The pizza is pretty good, but the franchises are all independently operated. Our local franchise here in Saugus, California does not honor the chain menu and pricing, so they basically charge double what is on the corporate menu, so most people I know don't deal with them.

        1. Papa John's is indeed nothing special, and their service is spotty at best. When they have a good coupon special and it's convenient to pick up, I like their thin crust much better than the regular pizza.

          The garlic dipping sauce is truly vomitous (IMO).

          And I GOT your "janitor's closet" reference : )


          1. "I have **GOT** to try this!!"

            Nah, you don't. You're better off ordering somewhere else or making your own. The pizza is mediocre at best.

            1. Its an _Eight_ year old thread.

              I rather like Papa John's pizza.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ccbweb

                HA! I didn't see that :-D. I wonder if their pizza was any better 8 years ago....

                1. re: linguafood

                  It wasn't any better. Nor worse.

                  Papa John's is, btw, based out of Louisville, Kentucky, not Massachusetts. At least that's where we sent all the stuff when I was working on their national yellow pages account about a decade ago. The football stadium there is named after them.

                  1. re: Fibber McGee

                    Yep. I sure was taken aback upon my first tour through Louisville this past Autumn...on the way to Churchill Downs. Here's the thing(invigorating this eldritch thread), I like Papa Johns(and I like Pizza Hut...and I used to like Little Caesar's before they went to pot)...I'm a pizza snob as far as needing my pizza cut in triangles with a puffy crust to thin base ratio. I don't and never will be interested in the aformentioned chains bizarro world crust cock-ups(i.e. cheese stuffed/flavored/layered/whogivesacrap lab testing)...

                    Having said that, I'm a certified NY pizza afficianado(duh...of course a great neighborhood slice place bests the chains). And, in descending appreciation I will enjoy Neapolitan woodfired styles, Chicago thin crust, and Chicago deep dish.

                    Unfortunately, my latest city is chain Midwest central=crappy Midwest, squarecut thincrust. My previous home, Chicago boasts great thin crust and deep dish, but you have to look carefully for the NY slice. Chicago does have a burgeoning woodfired/coalfired Neapolitan artisan movement, tho'.

                    Here's the thing tho'...I learned to like Papa John's in college(hated, hated, hated it at first...that sweet sauce, the mushy crust, the saline injection garlic sauce)...but, sans any asinine grew on me...

                    it's good for what it the right environment(better than Dominos, anyway)

                    before, when I lived in Chicago(in The Gold Coast...not some benighted 'burb...I might add) we had a choice between mom n pop and chain Chicago pizza(which I'm only in the mood for once in a blue moon) or freakin' Domino's. The nearest Pizza Hut wouldn't deliver. At some point I spied a Papa John's banner in the window of a storefront under construction in the neighborhood. And, oh! joy!

                    And, for whatever reason, they eventually stopped work and vanished...never opened.

                    So...there's room in my belly for both mom n pop and chain pies...

                    If my current city offered accessible NY slices I'd be on top of it. That's not the case. I don't order pizza for delivery often(um...I get the craving *maybe* once every few months). But, here, when I do, it's Papa John's.

          's the thing...and I'm sure this is how it works with most chains; you have to use coupons or you'll be suckered into paying "sticker price" for merely "good enough at the moment" pizza.