If you’re not hip to the lingo, Papa John’s defines its Papadia as “a delicious pizza sandwich calzone combo.” Previous Papadia flavors, featuring stalwarts like Philly cheesesteak and Italian meats, were pretty squarely on the “sandwich” side of the spectrum. But there’s no question which of those three words the new Pepperoni Crusted variety most evokes.
You may be able to tell that this is not my first Papadia rodeo, but it is the first time I can remember distinctly thinking, “Wait… isn’t this literally just a personal pizza folded in half and with extra pepperoni added to the outside?” It’s also possible that I’m more observant than usual today on account of being three cups of coffee deep and so highly caffeinated that I’m hearing colors. But in any case, any potential pretense that you might be eating something healthier than you actually are is out the window with this one.
Sure, it doesn’t look THAT much different than the previous Papadias, but somehow, seeing that familiar exterior festooned with pepperonis so red and round they’re nigh cartoonish just makes the same triangular shape, smattering of parmesan, and rounded crust-like edge scream “PIZZA!” so much louder.
You probably already have a good idea of what this tastes like just by looking at it. The crust is buttery, the cheese mild, and the pepperoni zesty (plus there’s a side of Papa John’s signature sweet sauce if you feel like making a dish that’s advertised for its portability slightly less convenient to eat on the go). All of those flavors are wonderful, but they’re not really what I want to focus on, because to me, what’s just as, if not more, important for a pizza or pizza-adjacent product is its texture. I want my crust chewy, my cheese dense, and my pepperoni tough enough for a primitively satisfying give when I tear into it. How does this Papadia live up to those super-specific standards? Well, I am not exaggerating when I say that that first bite was a near-religious experience (though again, that might just be the three-times-my-usual-caffeine-intake talking).
As a native New Yorker, I’m used to folding a slice of pizza before I eat it, and I hope this delicious Papadia officially validates that behavior for all the out-of-town friends who’ve made fun of me for it. Because, like I said, a folded pizza is basically what this Papadia is and that improves the experience tenfold (yes, emphasis on the “fold”).
To test this assertion, I took a small bite of my Papadia after I’d opened it up, and it just didn’t hit the same way. Perhaps the crust was a bit thinner and the layer of cheese and toppings a bit thicker than I’d usually expect from Papa John’s, but the dissected Papadia still didn’t feel like anything extraordinary. There’s just something about biting into those two thick layers while they’re squished up against each other and masterfully enveloped by a crisp bready crunch on either side that’s so gratifying that I can barely put it into words, even as someone who is literally paid to put food into words. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing, because that means that in order to really understand the magic of the Pepperoni Crusted Papadia, you’ll just have to try one yourself.
Purchased Price: $7.99
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 1080 calories, 61 grams of fat, 29 grams of saturated fat, 2710 milligrams of sodium, 77 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugar, and 50 grams of protein.
2 thoughts to “REVIEW: Papa John’s Pepperoni Crusted Papadia”
You have the best words.
I’m glad you liked it, but that cross-section pic looks awful. And I realize restaurants have a lot of overhead, but man, that looks like about $1.00 worth of food.