This week, I reached out for an Italian Papadia, one of the entries in the expanded quartet of Papadias from America's No. 4 pizza chain, Papa John's, with 5,199 restaurants dotting all 50 states, including 50 locations in the Houston area.
I know you're asking, what are the Top 3? Everybody figures Pizza Hut and Domino's, but what's No. 3? It's Little Caesars.
Here's the Italian Papadia breakdown: Papa John's signature original dough, Alfredo sauce, Italian sausage, salami, banana peppers, and a side of pizza dipping sauce. Total calories: 940. Fat grams: 53. Sodium: 2,670 mg. Carbs: 76 g. Dietary fiber: 4 g. Protein: 38 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $6.
The other Papadias are: Philly Cheesesteak (Philly sauce, cheese, steak, onions, green peppers, with side of garlic dipping sauce); Grilled Chicken & Bacon (BBQ sauce, grilled chicken, bacon, cheese, onions, and BBQ dipping sauce); and Meatball Pepperoni Papadia (pizza sauce, cheese, meatballs, pepperoni, and extra pizza dipping sauce).
All the Papadias are $6 each. All Papadias come with a Papa John's trademark pepperoncini.
Papa John's labels its Papadias as "part pizza, part sandwich." Here's a better description, a folded-over, small original-crust pizza. Folded over, but not sealed on the open side, because that would make it a calzone, or a P'zone at Pizza Hut.
Papadia is a made-up word, with "Papa" jammed in for easy brand connection. Both the sandwich and its name are inspired by the piadina, a similar sammie that's popular in Northern Italy. The best thing about a Papadia, it fits neatly in your hand and you can walk around eating it. But during the coronavirus pandemic, where are you walking to? Sit down and eat it like a human being. The worst thing? Well, for some, it tastes like a Papa John's pizza.
I'm a fan of hot sandwiches, so I enjoyed my Italian Papadia, but I would have switched out the Alfredo sauce for pizza sauce. I'm guessing that the Meatball Pepperoni will emerge as the most popular Papadia because it's closest to a pizza. It's the simplest and meatiest member of the cluster.
During the pandemic, Papa John's is offering "Contactless Delivery." Here's how it works. You need to order online (or the Papa John's app). Pay online, including the tip. Don't be cheap, these are hard times for delivery people, too. Leave instructions for the delivery person to leave your food on a clean surface outside your door.
When your food emerges from Papa John's 450-degree oven, it will be placed in a box which is then sealed so you know that nobody's touched your food. The delivery person will leave your food by your door and notify you by phone or text to come and get it. You will have no physical interaction with the driver.
Ken Hoffman reviews a new fast food restaurant item every Wednesday. Have a suggestion or a drive-thru favorite? Let Ken know on Twitter.