Papa John’s describes the epic stuffed crust as follows:
You want some more cheese? We know the answer. So we filled the original, fresh and never frozen dough with melted cheese and baked it to a delicious golden crisp.
Pizza Hut’s original stuffed crust was introduced decades ago and has been a real success. We’ve all experienced it, in its prefabricated form, the glory of the floppy disk. The crust is so firm and solid that the bottom layer of dough with the sauce, cheese and toppings never seems to stick.
Papa John’s says its Epic Stuffed Crust is actually made with fresh squeeze dough. After talking to my family’s well-known pizza experts, making a stuffed crust from scratch is a long and slow process that involves making a regular pizza dough, layering the cheese around the edges, and then spreading it out to encapsulate the cheese. It doesn’t sound like something you can mass produce on any given day, but that’s exactly what Dad says.
Papa John’s is offering eight pieces of Big 1 Stuffed Crust for $12. Most stuffed crust offerings almost always have only one filling, which always gave me the impression that the cake couldn’t take much more.
When you open the cake, if you focus on the crust, you may notice that it jumps and seems quite firm. The pizza itself has a fairly standard look of Father Jonathan’s pie. Fat, lots of cheese and open peppers.
When you remove a piece of the stuffed crust from the rest of the pie, the classic statement is that the cheese and crust flow back with your arms almost outstretched to stay with your loved ones. It goes without saying that this never happens, even if it is fresh, and unfortunately it did not happen here.
The crust itself is filled with a large amount of cheese. No doubt it was molten enough to burst, but it was so homogeneous and so well maintained that it could not be crushed. In my infinite wisdom, I almost simultaneously imagine a tube of spreadable cheese being rolled into a crust. Whatever the flavor of the crust, it was perfect, warm and sticky. There was plenty of spice, and the part with the cake is a winner.
Pizza itself also came into play. The bottom layer of the crust is stronger than the Pizza Hut version, and there was no significant flop. The standard elements of Papa John’s pie have remained the same, and they still make a pretty solid pizza chain.
For me, Papa John’s Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza might be the moment when fast food switches to a different crust. He certainly doesn’t ruin the setup like Pizza Hut, nor does he suffer from the soggy hooker factor. It just tastes like a regular pizza with cheese in the crust, which is what we’ve always wanted.
Papa John’s Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza: 8/10