In episode 18, season eight of Seinfeld, “The Nap,” (yes, the one where George sleeps underneath his desk and triggers a bomb threat at Yankee Stadium) Elaine walks through the streets of New York with her new love interest (Hal Kitzmiller) and says “I like that stuffed crust pizza,” to which Hal, foolishly responds “It’s just more cheese!”
“Hey, let me tell you something,” Elaine quips. “It’ll be years before they find another place to hide more cheese on a pizza,’
How many years? 26, apparently. But now, after nearly three decades, those beautiful bastards at Papa John’s have finally done it. Enter the new Crispy Parm Pizza.
Available from now until an unspecified limited time, the Crispy Parm Pizza takes Papa John’s thin crust and adds a layer of shredded parmesan and Romano cheeses to the bottom, resulting in a crispy-fied crust that adds another dimension of cheesy notes to your pie. It’s the only way to enjoy thin crust, and extra cheese without, you know, just ordering extra cheese on your pizza.
So is it any good? We found out for you so you don’t have to spend $12.99 to satiate your curiosity. Let’s dive in.
Crispy Parm Pizza
My first job was at a Domino’s and during our free time (which there was a lot of) my fellow employees and I would experiment with the dough to make all sorts of off-menu items that would absolutely dunk on anything we had on the menu. I’ve had a calzone at Domino’s, even though they’ve never made one. I’ve had a Brooklyn-style pizza topped with spicy Chicken Kickers (Dominos side chicken snack). But my greatest creation was what I called the “Double Decker Thin Crust.”
This pizza consisted of a thin-crust pizza dough covered in a layer of cheese and topped with an additional thin-crust pizza dough, smeared with sauce and whatever toppings I was feeling at the moment. This resulted in a pizza that was one part quesadilla, one part stuffed crust, one part pizza, and all parts delicious.
To this day I’ve been waiting for a pizza chain to follow my ingenuity and make something equivalent, The Crispy Parm Pizza is not that, but it comes pretty damn close.
Whether or not you like this pizza is going to come down to how much you like the taste of fried cheese (spoiler: I like it). By covering the entire bottom of the crust with shredded parmesan and Romano that is then baked in an oven, you lose some of the complex nutty and creamy qualities that those cheeses give, but what you do get is a wonderful crispy mouthfeel that snaps with each bite and adds a caramelized, earthy tone to the mix.
My pizza was topped simply with pepperoni and the way the zesty and pepper-forward savory meat flavor played with the salty blend of cheeses tasted great. And yet, if you told me this pizza didn’t have cheese on the bottom of the crust, I might not have noticed. The flavor that it adds to the mix is ultimately very faint unless you go looking for it. In that way, it’s not as significant a change to your pizza as something like stuffed crust, but it is a way to hide more cheese in a dish that consists mostly of cheese.
I wish there was an extra component to this crust that made it feel just a bit more special, as it stands it’s delicious but completely inessential.
The Bottom Line:
Papa John’s found a brand new way to sneak more cheese into a pizza and for that, we commend them. Definitely order this pizza to satiate your curiosity but don’t expect it to blow your mind. If you make pizza at home, this might prove a nice hack but the Papa John’s version is a tasty-though-not-revolutionary concept.
Now my Double-Decker Thin Crust? That would blow your mind. Until someone makes this happen, this is a generally solid consolation price.
Find your nearest Papa John’s here.