Hold The Crust, Please

Papa John’s introduced a limited-time only Papa Bowl essentially pizza without the crust.


Angie Jaramillo, Adminstrator

The food of the gods for teenagers is pizza. Personally, I’m not a huge fan. But on a good day, I like garlic-herb-cheesy-crust pizza, with Italian tomato sauce topped with extra mozzarella cheese, soft green peppers, crunchy onions, and buttery mushrooms from Pizza Hut. So, when its rival, Papa Johns, introduced a limited time only Papa Bowl, I decided to give it a try.

I knew ahead of time that it was essentially pizza with a plastic bowl in place of the usual pizza crust. What I wasn’t expecting was the smell of greasy cheese bread hitting me in the face as I walked into my local Papa John’s on Hollywood Circle. It was not pleasant.

On top of that, the staff of the joint was dull and dry . What looked to be like Gandolf from “Lord of the Rings” was folding pizza boxes while two teenagers were joy-riding on a food cart. A middle-aged woman took my order. Good thing I looked at their website before arriving at the store, because there was no menu. So, I knew ahead of time that the chain offered three bowls: a Chicken Alfredo (chicken, alfredo sauce, veggies, and melted cheese), an Italian Meat Trio (the basic pizza meats with Papa’s original pizza sauce and cheese), and a Garden Veggie (basically a veggie sub, but a plastic bowl instead of a bun with pizza sauce and cheese). I went with the Chicken Alfredo, because I love chicken alfredo pasta, so I thought it was something I could handle.

In a little over 10 minutes, the cashier handed me a pizza box with a plastic bowl nestled inside filled with what appeared to be a mish-mash of microwaved frozen Lean Cuisine chicken alfredo. Although I wasn’t expecting it, the first three bites were amazing. The juiciness of the alfredo sauce melted with the cheese; It was divine. The chicken was moist and tender. The veggie toppings were spot on, the earthy mushrooms and the sweet spinach perfectly combined with the sauce. But after that, I wanted to gag. The alfredo sauce became heavy and pungent. It was like eating a tub full of mayo – not a nice ending to a meal. In all, this dish was meh. I felt like it was more of a dipping sauce. So, if you’re on one of the fad no-carb diets, like Keto or Paleo, and you order one of these, buy some garlic bread on the side. And maybe, just maybe, it could be worth your while.