Papa John's cheese dipping sauce: Another Fall Of Man

As far as I’m concerned, there’s really only one reason to order from Papa John’s: the cheese dipping sauce. I mean, the butter-garlic sauce is fine, if you like dipping a piece of bread into liquefied butter, but for me it’s always been about the cheese dipping sauce. The marinara sauce I won’t even bother with. I mean what’s the point? It’s like you’re trying to re-create the pizza experience at the end but without any cheese or toppings. Just eat another piece of pizza already.

Way back when–college? high school?–when Papa John’s first came on the scene, it was all about the dipping sauces. That was their schtick. Okay, the weird inclusion of those random pepperoncini’s in the box was nice, but I never really got where that was coming from. Oh sure, I ate them anyway, but they were all limp from basically being steamed in the cardboard with the hot pizza…they just seemed like such a random inclusion. Why not throw a cherry tomato in there instead? Or a few raw mushrooms? Or maybe a hot dog?

No, the whole thing that set PJ’s apart was the sauce thing. Revisionist advertising is trying to make us all believe it was somehow always about fresher ingredients or something, like everybody else used produce from yesteryear, but it was really about being able to add a bunch more empty calories to an already dangerous meal. It seemed like such a revolution. Stodgy old Pizza Hut and Dominoes would never have thought so far outside the box to include such a novelty at no extra charge. Papa John’s was going out of its way to help us enjoy our last bites of pizza. So nice. So thoughtful.

The last couple of times I’ve ordered from Papa John’s, however, they neglected to put in the cheese sauce, and it’s been pretty damn hard for me to conceal my disappointment. Being that I’m the only cheese eater in the house, I’ve contained my frustration. Not that the stuff is actually cheese…I mean, who know’s what it is? It’s more akin to “cheese food” or a creamier, liquider version of the canned squeeze cheese, something I’ve always felt guilty about liking but still find completely irresistable.

This last time we ordered pizza I had to speak up; as indefensible as my love of that stupid cheese-ish sauce is, I couldn’t let another Papa John’s experience go by without it. So I told my wife, “Remind them about the cheese dipping sauce. They forgot last time.” I nagged her about it while she was on the phone. “Don’t forget.” “The Cheese Sauce.” “Don’t forget.” She finally told the person on the phone, she listened, said, “Oh…I see.” Then she got off the phone and said to me…

“They’ve discontinued the cheese sause. They’ll throw another garlic sauce in there.”


“Calm down honey.”


“I don’t know. She didn’t say.”

I cannot conceive of this. I mean, what is the point of ordering Papa John’s instead of Pizza Hut now? They both get things wrong with equal frequency. They both taste marginally good. The only edge Pizza Hut has is that their prices aren’t like the stock market. Whenever we call the Papa John’s in whose praxis delivery wave we live in we have to play this game to find out what the special price of the day is. “We want two medium pizzas.” “That will be twenty-five dollars.” “Oh…yeah…do you have any specials?” “Um…yeah. Two mediums for twelve dollars.” “That’s what I ordered. Why didn’t you tell me that price?” “You didn’t ask for the special.”

God I hate them. And now that they’ve ripped cheese dipping sauce out from under me like so many Persian rugs, without warning, without apology, without so much as a shrug, I can see no reason to return to them.

I guess I’ll have to settle for one of the three hundred and fifty thousand local pizza joints in my area that have much better pizza, but no sauce at all.

Oh well.


Kitsune has started a trend. Now, every post will read like a blog.

That’s right, a post about food I had nothing to do with. You’re welcome.

You know why I don’t at Papa John’s?

  1. I shit green the three times I ate there. I learned my lesson.
  2. I worked for them two days back in college. Quit on the second day when they made all the employees sign the Papa John’s song. No joke.

Amanpour, I hate to be the one to break this to you, since it seems like you’re already teetering on the edge of madness, but: the rest of us get cheese sauce with our Papa John’s pizzas all the time. It hasn’t been discontinued. I had some with my pizza that I ordered just two days ago. In fact–and I’m not even joking–they gave me an extra cheese sauce with that pizza, presumably stolen directly out of your pizza box.

There has been one change, though: cheese sauce is now 50 cents extra, which means you have to ask for it specially (garlic sauce is still free). IIRC the spice packets (the other great thing about PJ’s) are also 50 cents now. Still, a dollar is a small price to pay for spicy, cheesey goodness.

If you don’t want to deal with PJ’s phone-service defectives, just order your pizza online. That’s what I do, and they almost never screw it up because now my order comes in written form, from God, to me, to Papa John’s. It’s like the Ten Commandments of Pizza. Feast your eyes, my friend:

I just want to take a second to note that I’m providing you this valuable information despite your scandalous libeling of Papa John’s by comparing them to that whorehouse of pizzadom, Pizza Hut. PJ’s pizza is so much better than either Pizza Hut’s or Dominos…uh, Dominoses…that it makes me think I shouldn’t even bother to tell you how to get Papa John’s pizza, since you apparently have some congential pizza-tasting defect. But here it is anyway.

I can second the fact that ordering Papa Johns online has relusted in cheese sauce arriving with my pizza.

If Papa Johns pizza crust didn’t taste like cardboard in the first place you wouldn’t be nearly so dependant on their sauces. Long Live Pizza Hut!

Get thee behind me.

i… i no longer feel entirely shamed for liking, on occassion, a pizza from the ‘fast food’ pizza places (dominos, pizza hut, papa johns).

also, what’s this talk of paying for the mini cheese buckets? heresy, i say!

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the pizza.

If any of you find yourselves in Edmonton or Calgary, try and get some Panago.

I’m gonna have to put in a vote of support for the Garlic sauce… mmmmm butter.

Whatever happened to dunking the crust in your Pepsi or A&W Root Beer? Man, that beats spicy cheesy garlic butter sauce hands down!

One time my smartass friend and I ask for extra peppers from Pappa Johns and were rewarded with a whole breadstick box full of them, something coming up on three dozen or so - enough to eat a whole one with each bite of pizza.

That was a two hour mistake.

Ditto. That is the only reason I get Papa’s.

Having worked at Papa John’s for 2.5 years, and at Domino’s for 4.5 years, I can categorically and without bias say that Pizza Hut has the best pizza.

Not to mention the cup or two of sugar they put in the sauce. Double yuck.

Holy crap! I wondered who kept those freaks in business. My pizza rule is, if they have more than one location, the pizza sucks.

In Ohio, it’s all about Donatos.

I thought Ohio was the home of Casano’s… or am I showing my out-of-touchness?

We used to have those hereabouts, but they closed down all the Michigan locations. (Or at least any of 'em anywhere near where I live). Worst pizza day of my life.