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.

IMG_3847Papa 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.

IMG_3853The 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.

IMG_3851 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.

IMG_3856Now 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.

Chicken Margherita Papa JohnsAt 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.

Taste: 5.75/10
Value: 4.50/10
Price: $12 for a large

Overall GrubGrade: 5.50/10

More Info:
Nutrition Facts:
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

8 comments on “Review: Grilled Chicken Margherita Pizza from Papa John’s

  1. Adam Bomb says:

    Excellent and thorough review, Ryan! Though you weren’t a big fan, I 5hink this pizza might be right up my alley. Your detailed description told me exactly what I wanted to know about this pizza.

  2. Brad says:

    I used to feel thin crust was a racket, less food for the same price. But then I thought about it and crust is by far the cheapest part.
    Inexcusable however that Papa John’s omits the garlic sauce in favour of a seasoning packet that should be free with all pizzas.
    However I do like thin crust and I was very pleased last time Papa John’s gave me a garlic cup, probably by mistake. A nice surprise nonetheless.

  3. Raul says:

    Great reveiw, whish I had a location near me to try the famed garlic butter sauce.

    Is there any chain the has thin crust pizza that is truly “worth it”?

  4. I have eating Grilled Chicken Margherita Pizza from Papa John’s , and i thinks this is one of the best pizza besides Olio Pizzeria & Cafe


    • Bubbs says:

      If you’re going to try to advertise your new blog, you may wish to proofread your adver-comments you inject into other bloggers’ sites.
      By the looks of it, maybe pay a writer instead of doing it yourself.

      Just a suggestion.

  5. Tiffany G. says:

    The crust was revolting!!!! I wish I hadn’t gotten the large pizza because I ate 2 pieces before I have up. I love Papa Johns Pizza, but not this one. I am very disappointed.

  6. raiders757 says:

    Back when I used to actually eat chain pizza regularly, I preferred the thin crust at Papa John’s over their abominable excuses for pizza crust. This combination sounds interesting, but $12 for a chain pizza is no deal to me at all. Once you add taxes, we’re talking nearly $15. For the same price I can order a standard peperoni pie at my local mom and pop shop that blows papa Johns right off the map. Not only that, but their large and chain pizza large is like night and day. A large at Papa Johns is more like a medium pizza.

    I’m also wondering if they changed their garlic butter sauce. It’s been a long time since I had PJs pizza, and had some a few weeks ago at kids/family members Mutant Ninja Turtle Themed birthday party (Seems those turtle were big pizza fans). What I noticed was that the garlic butter sauce seemed really oily and less buttery. it wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered it being.

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