Pros: Low carb pizza is good
Cons: Regular pizza is awful
Im a pizza snob. I thumb my nose at waxy, overprocessed shredded mozzarella. I eschew chewy, doughy crust. I resent sweetened tomato sauce thats riddled with flavorless green and brown specks masquerading as herbs. That said, Papa Murphys Take N Bake Pizza violates almost every principle of making good pizza.
The Skinny on Papa Murphys
Dominos invented the assembly line pizza, but Papa Murphys gave it some class. Rather than hiring pimply stoners to deliver hot, over-steamed pizzas from thermal bags, Papa Murphys hires clean cut kids to assemble your pizza right in front of you. They start with pre-formed dough, stretched across an oven-safe cardboad dish. They add the sauce, cheese, and toppings, then seal the pizza with plastic wrap and send you on your way. This works for Papa Murphys in three ways:
1. Cuts labor costs. They dont need people to cook the pizzas or deliver them.
2. Cuts twenty minutes off their turnover timeevery pizza takes them a minute or two to assemble, so customers move in and out quickly and there are never delays.
3. Baking the pizzas at home seems more wholesome than the delivered stuffsome wild and crazy folks will even compare Papa Murphys to homemade pizza.
Papa Murphys sells a small variety of accessories to coordinate with the pizzas breadsticks, cheese bread, family size salads, and two liter sodas. There are tubs of cookie dough so you can follow your not-remotely-homemade pizza with not-remotely-homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Not My Papa
Papa Murphys business model is brilliant. With their ubiquitous coupons, you can get a positively gargantuan family size pizza for about $7. Its fast, its cheap, its wholesome so why am I complaining?
Because it tastes like crap.
I already admitted to pizza snobbery, which may damage my credibility regarding chain pizza places. Our kids, however, are savage gourmands. They eat pizza in any form. Thick, thin, bad, good, hot, warm, cold, frozen, moldy. They just dont care. They dont like Papa Murphys. They complain about the crust, which always seems underdone and soggy. They hate the sauce, because theres too much of it and its nasty. The best part of the Papa Murphys experience is picking at and munching on the cheese (mozzarella and cheddar) before popping the pizza in the oven.
They dont complain much about the salads, which are giant bowls of lettuce stacked with pizza toppings. There are diced tomatoes, sliced olives, chopped bell peppers, and cheese on the garden salad. Add some pepperoni, and they call that the Italian Salad.
Papa Murphys deLITEful Low Carb Redemption
Its always been easy to find low fat options on restaurant menus, but restaurants are just beginning to offer low carb options. Frozen low carb pizza is available at some specialty stores, but it tastes more like soy protein isolate than pizza.
Papa Murphys introduced their deLITE pizza just two days ago, and theyve managed two impressive feats: theyve created a low carb fast food that doesnt rely on meat wrapped in meat and topped with meat, and theyve improved on their original pizza.
How do they do it? Not with soy, flax, maltitol, sucralose, or any of the other banes of the low carb existence. If the crust contains any of those things, I couldnt taste them. The primary difference in the crust is that its much thinner. Paper thin, actually. It crisps up very nicely in the oven, and most importantly, it tastes good. You dont have to be on a low carb dietor any diet for that matterto enjoy this pizza.
Papa Murphys uses a bit less sauce and cheese too, which cuts the total calories by more than 40%. If youre on Weight Watchers, thats 4 points for a cheese slice; if youre on Atkins, a slice has 13 grams of carbohydrates. A slice is one-eighth of a large pizza; if that sounds like a lot, its not. Its a lot less filling than you might hope, but if youre craving the taste of real pizza, this is your chance. If youre in the induction phase of Atkins, watch out: one slice will wipe out more than half your daily allowance of carbohydrates.
At $4.99 (introductory price) for a large cheese pizza, its also a bargain by low carb standards. The average frozen low carb pizza (which, as we discussed earlier, tastes like sh!t) is a third the size and costs twice as much.
Papa Murphys is still fast food, but now it tastes a lot better, and its not as bad for you as it was before. If they can come up with a decent low carb chocolate chip cookie, I may even give them a fourth star.
For nutritional information:
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