When Papa Johns showed up fashionably late to the stuffed crust pizza party in December of 2020, it may not have been timely, but it certainly arrived with a splash. The somewhat silly-titled “Epic Stuffed Crust” was no different than what Pizza Hut innovated in 1995, and yet, in my humble but experienced opinion, the Papa beat the Hut at its own game.
As a child of the 90s, the stuffed crust is an ever-shining beacon of culinary genius and one that will keep Pizza Hut in my heart forever. But its quality has gone so downhill in recent years that I never go there unless it’s to try a new unique item, unlike Papa Johns, which I keep on speed dial. For its third iteration of the Epic Stuffed Crust, Papa makes the pizza even more Papa-ified by incorporating the signature garlic sauce that makes it stand out amongst the other chains. It’s an Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza with a garlic parmesan seasoned and drizzled crust, original pizza sauce, melty cheese, and your choice of one topping, which comes standard as pepperoni.
This review is pretty straightforward – if you like Papa John’s Stuffed Crust and its Special Garlic Dipping Sauce, you’ll like this pie. In fact, I only have two gripes with this pizza.
- I just moved to a denser and crazier part of the city where, for some reason, the one topping promotion is $20.99 instead of $13.99, so it cost more than I expected.
- I wish there was more garlic.
This is a cheesy, indulgent, downright delicious, and addictive pizza that very well might be my favorite iteration of Papa John’s best-in-class stuffed crust, but it isn’t all that garlicky. The seasoning on the crust is excellent and does very well to elevate the epic-ness of having tons of perfectly ooey gooey cheese in the crust, but it leans much more into the parmesan than the garlic for a nice crunchy umami bite that’s wonderful, but not garlicky.
The toppings at Papa Johns have always seemed like the freshest and most abundant of all the mainstream chains, which is why it has been my favorite for over a decade. The sauce is sweet yet robust, the cheese has a nice dense flavor, and the pepperoni brings a nice crispiness and a hint of spice. Speaking of which, any time you’re ordering a pizza from a chain like this, make sure to get it well done. You’re very rarely, if ever, going to get a burnt pie, but these places crank out so many pizzas at such a fast rate they may pull it when it’s a touch underdone, and requesting well done, like I did, will ensure you get a properly cooked and delicious pizza.
While this could use some actual diced garlic like you’d find on garlic knots to really bring the concept home, it’s still an absolutely delicious pie that’s, without a doubt, my favorite new fast food item this year. Plus, if you’re getting this for $14 instead of $21 like my unfortunate metropolitan-dwelling self, it’s a helluva deal, and I’d grab it while you can.
Purchased Price: $20.99 (but should be $13.99 in your area)
Size: Large 1 Topping
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 slice) 420 calories, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 990 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.