Food Review: Papa John’s Shaq-a-Roni Pizza

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I’ve been bad. I’ve been fairly regularly updating this blog with my progress and (so far!) success with counting calories and dropping a few of those pesky pounds. Well, it would only be fair to show when I slip a little. Tonight, I was craving pizza, and I didn’t go for the cauliflower pizza I reviewed a week ago.

Instead, I went for the newly promoted Shaq-a-roni Pizza from Papa John’s. There’s nothing too fancy about it. Shaq, aka, Shaquille O’Neal the NBA legend, is known for being one of the world’s largest athletes, ergo, the pizza he’s championing is extra big: it’s an extra large pizza (16-inches) with extra pepperoni and extra cheese. It certainly lives up to that billing, as the pizza box it comes in is huge, and the slices are huge. There are eight slices in total, which is apparently the biggest cut they’ve done, as this size is usually 10 slices.

You could say it’s all Shaq-a-rific.

So there’s not much of a “review” here to be had. If you’ve had pepperoni pizza before, particularly from Papa John’s, then you know what to expect — only you’re getting more of what you usually get.

The other “perk” I saw advertised with this pizza is that it’s the “most foldable” pizza Papa John’s has put out. That means you can take the slice and fold it when you eat it. But I’ve never been a pizza folder, have you? I didn’t even try that here. Maybe I’m old fashion (actually, I don’t know which way would be considered old fashioned), but I take the slice in my hand, start at the tip of the slice, and work my way in to the crust. Typically, I go left to right as I make my way to the crust. Once I’ve gotten enough of the pizza part of it, then I work my way down the crust. Apparently, the pepperoni goes all the way to the crust, which is yet another small perk of this pizza. I honestly don’t mind a lot of crust, but I also am not going to complain about more yummy pepperoni.

I will say, I was mildly good compared to my usual self from six weeks ago. Six weeks ago I would have plowed through all eight of those extra large slices and hated myself. Or maybe I would have plowed through five, took a two hour break, and eaten the other three, hating myself even more (because that means I’m probably eating those slices later at night, which is extra bad). I probably would have done the latter given just how big this pizza is.

But tonight, I ate three slices and feel sufficiently full. The other five slices are sitting safely in the refrigerator. I’m done for the night. I will not be tempted!

Those three slices amount to 855 calories. That’s not as bad as it could have been. If I can eat terrible and stay under 1,000 calories, I feel mildly better about myself.

The best part about this pizza is that it’s only $12. For an extra large pizza with extra cheese and extra pepperoni, that’s a good deal. Fortunately, I had some “papa dough” saved up, and only paid $2 for this pizza. That’s another reason I feel mildly better about eating out tonight is that I didn’t spend even a fraction of what I had been spending six weeks ago when I was eating out regularly.

Papa John’s also claims that, “For every Shaq-a-Roni pizza sold, $1 goes to the Papa John’s Foundation to support the COVID-19 relief, the fight against racial injustice, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and general community involvement.”

So hey, being a glutton has positive social benefits, too.

But it was a good pizza. I like Papa John’s pizza. I know it’s a “chain” pizza restaurant, so I know that gives it a negative connotation to pizza snobs. However, I can enjoy the full range of pizzas, both your basic school cafeteria (some say cardboard) pizza up to your most gourmet, high level pizza you can think of.

I also appreciate the crust. That is perhaps my favorite part about Papa John’s pizza is that they have solid, crunchy crust. I think in terms of already eating a large pizza, the thin crust helps offload some of that extra size.

If you’re looking to indulge some Shaq pizza, aka, an extra large, fairly priced, and for a decent cause pizza, then go ahead and pick you up that large box of the Shaq-a-Roni pizza. It won’t disappoint.

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