Review: Fritos Chili Pizza from Papa John’s
Once again, Papa John’s is the chain pizza restaurant leader in crazy pizza topping combinations. Well maybe not necessarily “crazy”, but some of their limited time offerings have been pretty unique in recent years (and sometimes it actually works). Their newest pizza is equal parts odd and somehow expected. Say hello to the new Fritos Chili Pizza from Papa John’s.
Papa John’s describes their new Fritos Chili Pizza like this:
FRITOS Chili Pizza features Papa John’s signature hand tossed crust covered with chili sauce, real beef, fresh sliced onions & Roma tomatoes, a layer of cheddar & mozzarella cheese, then baked & finished with FRITOS Original Corn Chips for you to enjoy.
Fritos corn chips aren’t anything new in the industry since we’ve seen them in Taco Bell burritos and Subway sandwiches, but Fritos on top of a pizza? Hey, I love Fritos… I think they’re underrated, but on a pizza I’m thinking the idea is a stretch. Let’s review.
How should I approach eating the Fritos Chili Pizza? Should I pick at the Fritos a little first, should I dive right in? This experience appeared to be very un-pizza like and that should not be in the least surprising.
The chili sauce and (minimal) seasoned ground beef layer the hand tossed crust like a paste and work as the base chili flavor with some mild heat. With a combination of cheddar and mozzarella cheese topping the chili/beef concoction, I was expecting to get a better feel for the fact that this is still a pizza. What I was left with instead was the meal feeling like sub-par chili on top of a pizza crust. A smattering of sliced onions and Roma tomatoes work to break up the texture and gives an attempt at a well-rounded chili experience.
To top it all off, Fritos corn chips blanket the pizza and make the eating experience a little annoying. Some Fritos are perfectly crunchy while others have lost some texture in the sauna-like pizza box. The issue here is the chips are obviously applied last in the pizza-making process to attempt to preserve their texture. Some chips get stuck to the melted cheese and lose their texture fast while the chips that kept their texture tend to slip off during the grubbing process. The corn chip flavors are there and they aren’t doing much to add to the experience but become a nuisance. After a couple of small slices, my mind was made up. The Fritos Chili Pizza left me wanting a Fritos Chili Pie or just a regular pizza… not the combination of the two.
The Fritos Chili Pizza is promo priced at $12 for a large for a limited time. It’s an OK value if all you’re getting is the large Fritos Chili Pizza and nothing else, but getting this deal voids all other pizza specials. I didn’t feel like risking $12 for a large pizza that I don’t want to finish so I bought a small for the same price… the non-promo price, so I can use a different “special” for more of a sure thing pizza choice. Whatever the case, my decision wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t a fan of this pizza and I’m just cringing at the thought of it now being leftovers.
Pros: Papa John's takes risks and keep things interesting.
Cons: Bad chili on a pizza crust. Mixed results from Fritos corn chip textures. This won't work as leftovers.
Grubbing on-the-go: 3.25/10
Price: $12 for a small (promo price available, $12 for a large)
Overall GrubGrade: 3.75/10
More Info: papajohns.com