Review: Grilled Chicken Margherita Pizza from Papa John’s
The first and only time I can remember trying a Papa John’s pizza on thin crust was that abomination known as the Heart Shaped Pizza on Valentine’s Day 2013. That thin crust was bad enough to make me avoid it since then. Papa John’s recently released their new Grilled Chicken Margherita Pizza on thin crust and it seemed interesting enough to review with hopes to erase the bad memory.
Papa John’s describes their new Grilled Chicken Margherita Pizza like this:
With grilled all white meat chicken, fresh cut Roma tomatoes, basil pesto sauce, mozzarella and pizza sauce, all on our crispy thin crust. It tastes light, it tastes fresh, and it’s perfect for summer.
So Papa John’s is aiming for “light” and “fresh” and from the ingredients list, that looks to be on the right track for the most part. I am a little concerned with the combo of basil pesto sauce and pizza sauce, and of course the thin crust… let’s review.
The grilled all white meat chicken was plentiful enough to get two to three meaty pieces per slice. I’d say the chicken was one of the better parts of this pizza. You might remember basil pesto sauce featured on the Greek Pizza that Papa John’s was promoting recently. On the Grilled Chicken Margherita Pizza, the mix of herbaceous basil pesto sauce and salty punch of pizza sauce actually worked a lot better than I had expected. There’s a clean, mildly garlicky flavor from the basil pesto that wakes up the tastebuds. Thankfully there wasn’t a heavy dose of the sauces and I felt its application was just right. Since we’re working with a thin crust here, it’s important to not go overboard on any one ingredient.
I’ve found Papa John’s to go overboard with their Roma tomatoes at times which makes for some unwelcome moisture pockets. With this pizza, the Roma tomato pieces were scattered evenly and sparsely enough to be a decent addition to add some freshness. I love cheese and I’m sure most would agree that the amount mozzarella is crucial to a good pizza. With a thin crust style pizza, it’s a challenge to really get things as cheesy as you’re used to with a standard slice so the Grilled Chicken Margherita Pizza had me craving something traditional after my second slice. This pizza works better for me as a one or two slice pizza to mix things up in between a go-to slice with pepperoni and sausage.
Now for what I think about the thin crust. I disliked the thin crust when I tried it on the Valentine’s promotional pizza because it was too cracker-like and dry with the ends suffering burnt spots. I like thin crust pizza just fine but just because the crust is thin doesn’t mean it has to be limp, flaky and way too delicate. There hasn’t been any change from my last shaky experience with Papa John’s thin crust except that this time, luckily no burnt ends. I sometimes crave Papa John’s and their overly bready crust because of the garlic butter to dip it in. There’s no garlic butter to dip these cracker end pieces… just the “special seasonings” packet that just isn’t the same experience.
At a promo price of $12 for the large, I can’t help but knock this pizza down a notch for value points. It seems that $12 for a large 14″ size is pretty standard for a limited time only specialty item, but since this pizza is promoted with thin crust, it’s just a lot less weight and that makes me feel it’s a bit overpriced. All that missing crust makes someone with a carb addiction still feel hungry. I came away a little underwhelmed by the Grilled Chicken Margherita Pizza overall. It had a couple of bright spots, but for the most part it’s quite forgettable and the thin crust needs work.
Pros: Good amount of grilled chicken pieces in each bite.
Cons: $12 felt high for a thin crust pizza. Flaky, cracker-like layers of crust... a denser, chewier thin crust would have improved the experience.
Price: $12 for a large
Overall GrubGrade: 5.50/10
More Info: papajohns.com
1 slice of the large 14" pizza
Calories - 250
Fat - 12 grams
Saturated Fat - 4.5 grams
Cholesterol - 35 milligrams
Sodium - 660 milligrams
Carbs - 21 grams
Fiber - 1 gram
Sugar - 3 grams
Protein - 12 grams