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Reviews of pizza at chain restaurants.

Papa John's New Zesty Jalapeño and Meats Pizza

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[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

Papa John's recently introduced a new specialty pizza, the Zesty Jalapeno and Meats Pizza (pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, jalapeño peppers, and a blend of three cheeses—Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Romano). It caught our attention because it looked oddly familiar (but more on that—and some possible intrigue—after the jump).

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Anyway, the Zesty Jalapeño and Meats Pizza is pretty good, as far as chain pizza goes. We ordered it on PJ's thin crust, which, as J. Kenji Lopez-Alt points out, is often the best way to order any of the chain pizzas — "In general, the thin crust don't have that fake butter flavor built into them." (Though Maggie Hoffman said, "I found the crust papery.")

The flavor combination is good. The jalapeños add just enough spiciness without being too overwhelming, and the meat brought saltiness, texture, and a little porkiness to the table.

Nobody in the office really complained that much about this pizza, and in fact I think I kinda ate 2.75 of the eight slices myself.

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The intrigue, such that it is? Oh, yeah. It's pretty similar to the Workin' Fire pizza I tried as judge in PJ's Specialty Pizza Challenge in summer. Actually, it's pretty much the same damn pizza! Why is that even a thing? Because the Chicken Cordon Bleu pizza officially won the contest (which meant up to a $10,000 cut of the sales and free pizza for life). It would be nice to see Workin' Fire creator Kendra Chapman, get some recognition here, too!

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