Papa John's Pizza
I feel silly posting this, but has anyone here tried Papa John's pizza? We've all seen the commercials on US networks. I have American friends that say it is by far the best chain pizza. I decided to hop on to their website and see if i'd be able to find a location near Buffalo. Low and behold, I discovered a few locations in Ontario! There are a couple in London and one in Kitchener. Has anyone tried any of these Canadian Papa John's locations?
I like Papa John's pizza okay, but my two teen sons do not. The main issue they have with the pizza is the crust. At our location (not sure about others), they must put a lot of garlic in the dough and sprinkle it also. Actually, it may be garlic salt. In any case, the garlic smell and taste is strong. I'd also agree that the sauce is awfully sweet. This is in the U.S. though, so they may not have the same in Canada.
The two worst pizza chains I have experienced:
Little Ceasars and Papa John's.
Fast food pizza:
Dominos and Pizza Hut.
NYPD, Srbarros or Villa Pizza
An old local chain from the late 70's to early 80's was Gino's.
Ran by a family from Chicago who had maybe eight locations here in the Valley.
I can still envision and taste the proper mix of sauce, cheese and dough.
And they would deliver the pies in a plain white pizza box, no fancy "promotional" lingo.
One could see the cheese oil permiateing the box.
Some fine pie.
I recently moved from a very small town where there were no pizza delivery options to a much larger town where I could have about 20 places deliver, so we've had Papa John's deliver a few times just for convenience sake. Definitely pricey for chain pizza, but we always seem to have more leftovers from them, and the leftovers heat up pretty well, so that makes the cost a little more reasonable. It's not bad. Really, the fun part is the dipping sauces and spice packets; we order online and ask for a few extra sauces/seasonings, and they always just throw handfuls of everything in the bag. With a little of their "spice blend" (which I think is pretty much just Italian seasoning), a little parmesan cheese, and their garlic sauce, it's pretty good. And I swear, even though I know the garlic sauce is pretty much just margarine with garlic flavoring, it must be made of crack - it's just so addictive.
I tried the one in Kitchener tonight.
I didn't even get to the point of eating...
Never in my life have I let a food delivery and human incompetence get
me worked up. But tonight Kitchener Papa John's really took
I booked my pizza order online at 8pm...SUPER pricey, but I
was sold just to try it.
An hour and 25 mins later, I get a call on my cell phone. I can't
understand the guy, but I think he's down stairs...so I run down to
let him in...nope, not there...so i call him back...he says he's
outside, I tell him i'm at the door and there i no one in sight.
Honest mistake, even if my apartment was on the same street at the
Papa's and 10 blocks away...so I stay on the phone with the guy,
telling him every land mark in sight (keep in mind this is 6 blocks on the same street away from where the pizza place is) - Being literally 20 feet from
City hall being the main land mark - cant miss it. Nope. No comprehend.
Minutes pass, and he hangs up on me in the middle of his humming and
hawing and mumbling. I try calling back, no answer, tried one more
I'm about to head back in when I realize my keys are on my table and
my auto lock door is closed because I was chasing a delivery guy who
got lost 6 blocks from his home base. (even if he was close, i would
have saw him.he was no where in sight...not even on the right block.)
after 2 hours of being stuck outside, i get in to my apartment to get the papa's
number; i call them and get a friendly fellow who offers me bread
sticks as soon as he answers the phone...
i asked him what was up with the pizza and explained what happened on my end, getting stuck outside (now hungry as a horse!) The guy says "he couldn't find your place, it was a bad address." - I told him i was standing in that address and on the street and didn't see his driver...
the guy on the phone develops a bit of an attitude and says "gimme a
minute, i'll talk to the driver..."
8-10 mins pass while i'm on hold. WAY more than enough time to
investigate the pizza issue.
so i hang up and call back. the same guy answers on the first ring and
says "hold please" and puts me on hold. I hang up and call back...this
goes on for 15 mins or so. (i was just working on principal after the
2nd time.) at one point i shouted "NOOO" when they said "hold", the guy
stopped and said "what...?" and i said "wheres my pizza?" and he hung
FINALLY the next time i call they actually answer the phone like
nothing happened with the "pappa's" phone answering speal...as if they
weren't looking at the call display this time (as they were the first
finally i ask this guy "where is the customer service papa's states
they have on their site?"
he says "you know what buddy, you should have called back about your
pizza 2 hours ago! don't call here again."
I will never call there again.
I went into the pizza pizza that i live right above. I should have
went there in the first place. They have whole wheat crust, gluten
free crust as well as crispy crust on top of their regular dough - on
top of that, they have WAY more toppings and they have WAY better
prices...what was I thinking trying to switch Papa John's?
Nice. I'd call corporate and see what they say. Sounds like the delivery guy could get lost in an elevator.
I tried PJ's on our last trip down yonder and was duly impressed. It's the nearly the greatest pizza I've had but since my SIL always orders from Domino's when we order it beat the pants off it.
I grew up in the Midwest so believe me I ate a LOT of Papa John's at birthday parties and the like... I would put it in the category of "eatable". The crust is far too doughy and has no char whatsoever. It's better if you burn the hell out of it in your own oven, but I still wouldn't call it good.
At last year's NCAA Lacrosse Finals in Foxboro, MA, they were giving away Papa Johns Pizza at the "Fan Fest" or whatever the promotional area was called. It was so horrible even my pizza obsessed kids tossed it in the trash. Doughy crust, sickeningly sweet sauce, cheese that didn't seem to melt. We were all shocked.
Chain-wise, Papa Johns isn't bad but their pizza is horrid (as is any other chain pizza) compared to the independent joints you can find in the neighborhood. Papa John's is probably one of the better ones chain-wise but in the overall scheme of things that just means they are in the upper part of the lowest 10% of all pizzas you can buy.
When I was back in school a few years ago the school had pizza Wednesdays. I got my two slices (veggie) and soda and took my first bite. My instant reaction was "Why would anyone put ketchup on a pizza?" It was repulsive.
My friend who attended the same school told me that I'd probably like the pan pizza much better as they use "zesty robusto" sauce on the pan 'zzas. I'd just moved to new digs and didn't know the neighborhood pizza situation and had a coupon for Papa Johns. I ordered the pan pizza and, golly what a difference!
I don't know if they allow substitution of sauces but stay away from the ketchup sauce and see if you can order pizza with "zesty robusto sauce" or just order a pan pizza instead.
In my experience, they do vary a lot by location. At the one nearest my home, they always seem surprised to learn a special's being advertised and half the time they say they're not honoring it. The pies are skimpily topped and not worth the price.
On the other hand, I picked up one of the four-cheese pies they had on special a few weeks ago from a location in an upscale part of town. It was every bit as good as anything I can get from an independent in the part of the midwest where I live.