Papa John’s 99-Cent Slice


The 99-cent slice at Papa John’s on West 28th Street.

In our coverage of the slice at 99 Cent Fresh Pizza and the superior, one-cent-more slice at 2 Bros., I neglected to mention that a national chain has jumped into the cheap-slice act.

Some area Papa John’s began offering 99-cent slices recently, even though they were never slice places before, and you’d previously been required to order a whole pie. When I entered the franchise on West 28th Street, I could see there was a glass hot case on the counter, with a pie working inside, several slices already sold.

I ordered a slice, and the countergal tried to upsell me a drink and a second slice, but I wasn’t having any of it. I must sheepishly admit to never having tried a Papa John’s pizza before, largely as a result of the repulsive nature of their advertising, but also because I’m surrounded by wonderful pizzas nearly every day of my life.

It was with some trepidation that I took my prize to one of the remote tables and examined it. The cheese stippling on the top was somewhat disturbing, with little brown zits of cheese sticking up from the cheesy mass. I tried to pop one of the zits, but it was hard and unyielding.

The crust, too, looked weird and unappetizing. It was pitted, like the face of a smallpox victim. When I lifted the slice up, it was way too light, as if the crust were made of Styrofoam. I took a bite, and then took another. Wanting to be fair, I took a third bite and chewed it thoughtfully. Really, there was nothing nice I could say about the slice. The cheese had little flavor, other than saltiness and a slightly sour quality; the tomato sauce was as sweet as a lollipop. Unless I’m someday marooned on a desert island and have nothing else to eat … Wait, I think I’d rather starve.

The 99-cent offer is emblazoned all over the facade.