Papa John’s New York Style Pizza Review

If you like to eat at Papa John’s, you might have heard that they released their own version of the famous NY pizza. Therefore, be sure to check out thisPapa John’s New York style pizza review.

Pizza enthusiasts know what a New York style pizza means, and in my opinion, Papa John’s has not been able to capture that style well. If we just consider the basic characteristics and assess it like a regular pizza, it isn’t at all that bad. However, since it is being advertised as a New York pizza, there are certain expectations that Papa John’s doesn’t meet.

Pizza being taken out of the oven

Let’s First See What the Main Characteristics of a New York Style Pizza Are

New York style pizza has a long history, and according to some historians, it originated in Manhattan at the beginning of the twentieth century. The recipe was based on the traditional Neapolitan pizza. Although it has certainly been modified over the years, there are a few characteristics that always stay the same when it comes to New York pizza:

  • The dough is wide and thin. But, most importantly, the dough should always be hand-stretched and a lot of olive oil should be added. Papa John’s also advertises hand-stretching, but this is questionable since it requires more time for preparation which goes against the fast-food restaurants’ tenets.
  • The crust is thin, crispy, and foldable. Another recognizable characteristic is numerous air bubbles that form in the crust. The traditional way of eating this type of pizza is to take a slice and fold it.
  • The traditional toppings are fresh mozzarella cheese and heavily seasoned tomato sauce. Any extra toppings are placed additionally on the cheese (pepperoni slices, sausages, and other types of cheeses are the most popular additional toppings).

New York style pizzas are often sold by the slice since they are huge (usually, they are 18 inches and cut into eight slices). In the past, people used to bake them on coal, and restaurants with a long history still use this method, but regular gas ovens are certainly the most popular choice now.

Here’s the Review of the New York Style Papa John’s Pizza

Now that we have established what a traditional New York style pizza looks like, let’s make a comparison with a Papa John’s pizza.

PresentationImmediately after opening the box, I wasn’t thrilled, to be honest. The pizza looked like any other regular pizza sold by the slices. It was larger, that is for sure, and the dough was thinner than usual. Yet, when compared to traditional NY restaurants, it should have been way thinner.
Dough and crustEven though it is decent pizza dough, it does not capture the New York style. It seems that they have just taken the regular Papa John’s dough. The New York style dough is extra chewy because of the additional olive oil. It seems that Papa John’s saves money on olive oil. On the other hand, the crust was decent. It had crispiness, but it could easily be folded. Also, it contained many air bubbles, which is another prominent characteristic of the NY crust. 
SauceThe classic New York tomato sauce is made from quite a few ingredients like garlic, ground red pepper, oregano, basil, olive oil, and fresh tomatoes. Such a sauce has a strong and authentic taste, which Papa John’s certainly didn’t have. Also, for me, they also seem to save on the sauce as well. I can’t say that the pizza was dry, but a bit more sauce wouldn’t hurt. 
CheeseThe cheese was probably the biggest disappointment. On a traditional New York style pizza, the cheese should be stretchy (but not too much) and oily. However, Papa John’s didn’t meet the requirements when it comes to cheese. The flavor was rather bland (although sauce contributes to that as well,) and there was no stretch to it at all. 
ToppingsI went for standard pepperoni slices and was pleasantly surprised. The pepperoni slices were fresh and had perfect spiciness. Moreover, they were quite generous. Although I didn’t add anything else, I believe that other toppings are good as well, judging by this one. 

Unfortunately, Papa John’s Pizzas Have Higher Nutritional Values

In general, we should be moderate with fast food, however, Papa John’s is known to have pizza slices with greater caloric values which is not a good characteristic at all. Here is the nutritional value of a single Papa John’s New York-style pizza:

Total CaloriesDepending on the size, from 210 to 340 calories
Sodium530-610 mg
Protein10-12 mg
Carbohydrates22-30 g

As you can see, the situation is not good. The slices are packed with sodium and carbohydrates and are low on protein. Truth be told, you can’t expect anything different from fast food, but Papa John’s has higher sodium and carbohydrate content compared to many other popular fast food chains, which is not good at all. High levels of sodium are especially dangerous.

Person taking a slice of pizza

Don’t Hold Any High Expectations When Ordering This Pizza

To conclude, if Papa John’s hadn’t advertised this pizza as New York style, I would probably now have a different, more positive opinion. But, since it is advertised as it is, it fails to meet the traditional standards of the famous New York pizza. In addition, the nutritional value doesn’t make it better at all. My advice is to search for some traditional New York-style pizza parlors. There are bound to be some, as this is truly an iconic style of pizza.