Papa Murphy's

93 ratings (90 Epinions reviews)
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Papa Murphy’s Low Carb Redemption

Feb 4, 2004 (Updated Feb 4, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Low carb pizza is good

Cons:Regular pizza is awful

The Bottom Line: No tacky bottom line cracks here.


I’m a pizza snob. I thumb my nose at waxy, overprocessed shredded mozzarella. I eschew chewy, doughy crust. I resent sweetened tomato sauce that’s riddled with flavorless green and brown specks masquerading as herbs. That said, Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza violates almost every principle of making good pizza.

The Skinny on Papa Murphy’s
Domino’s invented the assembly line pizza, but Papa Murphy’s gave it some class. Rather than hiring pimply stoners to deliver hot, over-steamed pizzas from thermal bags, Papa Murphy’s 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 Murphy’s in three ways:

1. Cuts labor costs. They don’t need people to cook the pizzas or deliver them.
2. Cuts twenty minutes off their turnover time—every 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 stuff—some wild and crazy folks will even compare Papa Murphy’s to homemade pizza.

Papa Murphy’s 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 Murphy’s business model is brilliant. With their ubiquitous coupons, you can get a positively gargantuan family size pizza for about $7. It’s fast, it’s cheap, it’s 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 don’t care. They don’t like Papa Murphy’s. They complain about the crust, which always seems underdone and soggy. They hate the sauce, because there’s too much of it and it’s “nasty.” The best part of the Papa Murphy’s experience is picking at and munching on the cheese (mozzarella and cheddar) before popping the pizza in the oven.

They don’t 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 Murphy’s deLITEful Low Carb Redemption
It’s 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 Murphy’s introduced their deLITE pizza just two days ago, and they’ve managed two impressive feats: they’ve created a low carb fast food that doesn’t rely on meat wrapped in meat and topped with meat, and they’ve 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 couldn’t taste them. The primary difference in the crust is that it’s much thinner. Paper thin, actually. It crisps up very nicely in the oven, and most importantly, it tastes good. You don’t have to be on a low carb diet—or any diet for that matter—to enjoy this pizza.

Papa Murphy’s uses a bit less sauce and cheese too, which cuts the total calories by more than 40%. If you’re on Weight Watchers, that’s 4 points for a cheese slice; if you’re on Atkins, a slice has 13 grams of carbohydrates. A slice is one-eighth of a large pizza; if that sounds like a lot, it’s not. It’s a lot less filling than you might hope, but if you’re craving the taste of real pizza, this is your chance. If you’re 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, it’s 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 Murphy’s is still fast food, but now it tastes a lot better, and it’s 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:
http://www.papamurphys.com/public/menu_nutritionalInformation.cfm

For locations:
http://www.papamurphys.com/public/about_storeLocator.cfm

For pictures of men with mullets:
http://www.mulletsgalore.com/


Recommend this product? Yes

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