Papa John’s has been busy lately with a bunch of new offerings, including the Triple Bacon, Shaq-a-Roni, and Epic Stuffed Crust pizzas, all of which earned generally positive reviews from my esteemed colleagues of culinary critique. Now comes the NY Style Pizza, which launched nationwide on December 27 and will be available through March 13, 2022.
I’m sure this will shock you to your core, but no, Papa John’s did not successfully replicate true New York-style pizza. Yes, these are foldable and (somewhat) oversized as Papa John’s advertises, and I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt that it is also hand-stretched as the website claims, even though I was not there to witness that. But if you tried serving this at a pizzeria in New York City, then a brouhaha, fracas and/or kerfuffle would probably ensue. Perhaps even all three.
Usually, my main qualification to do a review on this site is simply that I have a functioning mouth, but in this case, I do bring some pizza credentials. I grew up in New York (actually New Jersey, but we decided long ago as a state that it’s better to just say New York), so I’ve had my share of authentic New York pizza. And now, as a resident of Texas, I’m used to be being both disappointed and amused when I try New York pizza around here. Truthfully, some local joints come reasonably close, and maybe even closer than I give them credit, but I do deduct authenticity points when someone says, “Here’s y’alls pizza.”
With that said, this isn’t bad — it is still pizza after all — and it’s a bit better than I thought it would be, especially considering it’s made using the standard Papa John’s crust, sauce, and cheese. To me, the two things that define New York pizza are the crust being both chewy and crispy with a few of those big air bubbles and the cheese having some stretch and snap along with an unhealthy amount of grease/oil.
Papa John’s fared well on the first requirement, and I think they probably did as well as they could using their regular crust, which I’ve always found to be a little too thick and chewy. This pizza fixed both of those issues, and it comes close to the overall thinness of New York pizza. The outer crust doesn’t quite hit the mark as far as the right balance of crisp and chewy, but it did contain a few modest-size air bubbles and faintly reminded me of New York crust.
The shortcoming here is the standard Papa John’s cheese, which has very little of the stretchiness, snap, or general oiliness you might get with a New York pizza. The toppings (I went with pepperoni) were plentiful, so bonus points for that, and even though the slices were a little smaller than most New York pizza I’ve had, they did fold quite well.
I didn’t expect to get anything close to real New York-style pizza when I ordered this — and I didn’t — but if you temper your expectations based on what a big chain can deliver using its standard ingredients, and you don’t have many other options in your area, then this is a serviceable pie.
Purchased Price: $13 with one topping
Size: Extra-large (16”)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Detailed nutritional information not available on the Papa John’s website, but it does say each cheese slice has 310 calories.