Charlie's Hamburgers, Folsom, PA


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No-Bull Burger Purist, born and raised in NJ, the heart of the tri-state area and home to the oldest (and best) burger joints in the country. I don't need all the frilly toppings, happy servers or trendy decor, just a good burger...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Double Cheeseburger Pizza, Papa John's, Park Ridge, NJ

Where: Papa John's, Park Ridge, NJ
What: The Double Cheeseburger Pizza.
Build: “Zesty" burger sauce covered with a double layer of 100% real beef, dill pickle slices, fresh cut Roma tomatoes and 100% real cheese made from mozzarella. The buzz words being "made from" which means it's not 100% mozzarella - (SOP for the big pizza chains).
Comments: Let me begin by saying, this was the first time I've ever eaten (anything) from Papa John's menu.
What can I say, I should have listened to my family and friends.  I got caught up in all the media buzz, after all, they were advertising a cheeseburger pizza!  I'd like to grab Papa John's founder and current CEO, John Schnatter, and shake some sense into him. I mean, without much effort, this pizza could easily have been a winner. But I'm sorry to say, it's quite the loser.
After opening the box I got my hopes up. The pie was visually appealing and smelled like a fast food burger. I was getting excited. The first slice pulled away easily and I instantly began to salivate. I noticed the generous portion of dill pickles and the underlying tomato sauce alternate that resembled McDonald's Big Mac sauce. Again, I was stoked, but bite after bite had me searching again and again for burger flavor that never came. Even when I zeroed in on two or three of those sausage-textured pieces of "beef" there was still no burger flavor to satisfy my taste buds. It was like eating a Big Mac without the meat. And given the scarcity of the meat, it's just plain silly that they are advertising a "double layer" of it.  
Once in a while I'd get a blast of dill pickle and then a little zing of tomatoes (I could do without the tartness of hot-house tomatoes) however, the overall flavor just fell flat. And where the hell were the onions? I ask you, as a fellow burger lover and member of the human race, what in God's name is a cheeseburger without some form of onion? Sauteed, fried, raw or caramelized - something! This was a travesty of toppings. 
The crust, however, was not as awful, it actually had a real-tasting pizza crust texture to it which wasn't bad for a pizza chain restaurant. The cheese was mostly flavorless and the burger "sauce" was a bit too sweet for me. Again, I kept thinking this could have been a blockbuster for P J's if only a bit more effort (and ingredients) went into its creation and execution. EPIC CRAP FAIL! on the BC rating scale.  
*All you fast food pizza chains might want to take a look at what a small (577 location) pizza joint is doing with it's pizzas. The pies at Chuck "E" Cheese are surprisingly (and consistently) fresh - and more importantly, they taste like a good "real" pizza. 

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