I first became a Papa John’s convert (okay, maybe addict is a better word?) in my freshman year of college. In a coup of brilliant marketing, their phone number was easy to memorize – 564-PAPA (see, I still remember it many years later!) and they delivered until the wee, wee hours. Nary a weekend went by that Papa wasn’t at the door with his breadsticks.
Then, there were many sad, lonely years where Papa was not within a reasonable distance from home. My husband grew weary of hearing about the Legend of Papa’s. He claimed to have tried them and not liked them, but I told him that this was impossible (I’m stubborn like that). Finally, a local branch opened, and we ordered take-out. It was like introducing him to a long-lost friend, and it was really important to me that they get along. To my relief, they did – we all did. Now Papa is a regular guest in our house. My husband particularly loves the breadsticks, which are great – they are nothing like the limp, fatty breadsticks of rival chain pizza places. Papa’s isn’t lazy…they don’t take a bare pizza crust, butter it, and bake it. This dough was born to be in breadsticks – they are thick and they actually taste like good bread, with no butter or fakey herb toppings. Even better, there are myriad dipping sauces to choose from – ranging from the healthy (pizza tomato sauce) to the artery-clogging (cheese or garlic) - though dipping sauces beyond one token pizza sauce come at an additional cost. I should mention that Papa John’s also offers flavored breadsticks, but I’m a purist – I like good, basic, doughy bread.
The pizza is nothing to sneeze at, either. I am shocked and dismayed when people claim that other pizza chains like Domino’s, Pizza Hut, or Papa Gino’s (wrong Papa!) are better – I don’t think that they come close. Papa’s is generous with the toppings, they taste relatively fresh for having come from a chain/delivery place, the toppings are proportionate to each other (i.e. it’s not all sauce, no cheese) and the crust is almost as delicous as the breadsticks – and equally great with the dipping sauces. More importantly, Papa’s is consistent – I don’t worry when we order that it will be an “off night” like I do with other pizza places.
At about $18 for an order of breadsticks and a large pizza (together, enough to feed about 4 people) the price is reasonable.
On the down side – I guess there’s always a down side – but it’s relatively minor…there are no gourmet toppings to choose from – no eggplant, no fancy cheeses, just the basics – though Papa’s does have some specialty pizzas available. Also, my husband seems to run into at least one snafu every time he places a take-out order by phone (we have yet to try their online ordering) and every time he goes to pick up the order…but it doesn’t stop him from craving and retrieving the pizza and breadsticks. He is now a fellow convert (or addict). So, call Papa, and enjoy!