The year is 1995. Coolio is busy living in a gangsta’s paradise. Alicia Silverstone — as Cher Horowitz or Hamilton (they accidentally gave her two last names) — was falling in love with her stepbrother, but no one cared because hey, it was Paul Rudd. And, an innovation that would change the junk food world forever, Pizza Hut was stuffing cheese in its crust. The chain also attempted to convince the American people that “eating your pizza backwards” was a thing everyone would start doing.
(Spoiler alert: no one actually did this.)
Fast forward 25 years. Coolio is living…man, who knows where Coolio is living these days. Paul Rudd has eclipsed his stepsister’s fame by a wide margin. Pizza Hut is still slinging cheese-stuffed crusts, and has even been known to occasionally put other things in there, too. (Hot dogs, bacon, shrimp and mayo, Marmite.)
Meanwhile, competitor, Papa John’s? In all these years, they’ve never stuffed anything into a crust.
So, if you were in Product Development for Papa John’s, what would you do? Why you’d introduce your own version of the stuffed crust pizza to capitalize on an idea Pizza Hut begat a quarter-century ago.
It’s 2020, so sure, why not?
Here’s the absolutely bizarre thing about this pizza: the pizza body is no different than a normal Papa John’s body, but the hat? Tastes exactly like Pizza Hut’s Stuffed Crust. It’s almost like a Frankensteinian operation that involves surgically grafting the two pizzas together.
From the slice’s point up to the crust, it is distinctly Papa — the sweet sauce, the cheese that doesn’t do much stretching (and sadly, wasn’t even melted uniformly on mine), and whatever toppings you choose to make it your own. (For the sake of the review, I went with pepperoni.) The point being, you’ve had this pizza. And you are either fine with it or don’t like it; this particular incarnation won’t do anything to change that.
Then you get to the crust. And, like I said, you’ve probably had this, too, just not from Papa John’s. The thing I find most unusual is that the dough used to make this crust is probably Papa’s regular hand-tossed, or “original” dough, just, you know, stretched. It’s the same way Pizza Hut does it. But Pizza Hut’s hand-tossed dough is decidedly different than Papa John’s, wouldn’t you agree? They’re distinct until they’re stretched and stuffed with cheese around the perimeter! Something about that act makes the two crusts indiscernible.
Overall the cheese in the crust is warm and appropriately stretchy and a nice way to end a slice. With Pizza Hut’s version, you can add some flavor to the crust, like a garlic buttery blend or toasted parmesan, which elevates things. Papa John’s crust didn’t have butter, but it would’ve added a little something. Not to be a broken record, but if you like Hut’s stuffed crust, you’ll like this, too.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go see if I can find out how Coolio is doing.
Purchased Price: $12
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Unavailable at time of publication.
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