Papa Johns' Newest Pizza Creation Features Cheese on the Bottom of the Crust

“We have taken cheese where we’ve never had it before."

A large Philly cheesesteak pizza from a Papa John's

Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Most of the time, if you open a pizza box and see a layer of cheese on the bottom of the pie, your delivery driver either dropped it on the way to your door, or the restaurant is having a really weird day. But if you order Papa Johns’ newest pizza, that’s exactly what you’ll be getting: a pie with cheese baked underneath the crust. 

The chain’s just-released Crispy Parm Pizza puts a blend of shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses under a crispy thin crust — and what goes on top of the pizza is up to you. 

“At Papa Johns, we pride ourselves on our dedication to innovation. For this product, we set our sights on one of the most fundamental pizza ingredients—cheese,” Kimberly Bean, the vice president of menu strategy and calendar planning at Papa Johns, shared in a statement. 

“We have taken cheese where we’ve never had it before — flipping the pizza over and putting it underneath the crust. In doing so, we are providing consumers with more ability to customize their pizza experience, while also enjoying a unique and surprising twist on a fan-favorite meal,” Bean added.

Papa Johns seems to enjoy tweaking the idea of what pizza can be. In early 2020, it launched its Papadias, those fold-over slices that you can eat with one hand. (And Pizza Hut seems to have been inspired by the Papadia for its just-released Pizza Hut Melts). Last summer, Papa Johns also released the Papa Bowls, which took everyone’s go-to pizza toppings off the pizza, baked them together, and served them in a bowl instead of on a crust. 

There are still three Papa Bowls on the chain’s menu. The Italian Meats Trio features "signature pizza and alfredo sauces," along with meatballs, pepperoni, sausage, three cheeses, green peppers, onions, and tomatoes; The Chicken Alfredo Papa Bowl layers grilled chicken, alfredo and garlic parmesan sauce, spinach, mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes, and tops them with a three cheese blend; and the Garden Veggie version which is a combo of banana peppers, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, and spinach, with pizza sauce, garlic parmesan, and three cheeses.

"Our signature crust continues to be a beloved favorite, but we know that sometimes customers crave something different,” Scott Rodriguez, the former senior vice president of menu strategy and product innovation at Papa Johns, said at the time. “We want them to know we are committed to delivering on all of those cravings through our menu."

As for the Crispy Parm Pizza, Papa Rewards members can already order it, while everyone else will have to wait until Thursday, February 2. A one-topping Crispy Parm starts at $12.99. Just don’t forget: that’s where the cheese is supposed to be.

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