In a busy year for menu development at Papa Johns, Kimberly Bean, the brand’s senior vice president of menu strategy and product innovation, and her team have been adding to the chain’s lineup without venturing too far afield from its core offerings. And they’re not ready to stop just yet, even though 2023 is almost over.

Papa Johns kicked off 2023 with a new product called the Crispy Parm Pizza, with a blend of shredded Parmesan and Romano cheeses added to the bottom of the crust. “We have taken cheese where we’ve never had it before—flipping the pizza over and putting it underneath the crust,” Bean said at the time.

In May, Papa Johns followed up with the heavily hyped Cool Ranch Doritos Papadia, a flatbread-style sandwich with a crust coated in Doritos Cool Ranch seasoning. CEO Rob Lynch called that special item the chain’s “biggest innovation ever.”

Now, to wrap up 2023, they’ve introduced the Cheesy Calzone Epic Stuffed Pizza. In a press release, Papa Johns described the new item as “a calzone-inspired stuffed crust that delivers crave-worthy flavors in a never-before-seen way.” It’s the latest iteration of Papa Johns’ Epic Stuffed Crust line of pizzas, following the popular pepperoni and garlic varieties.

That’s Papa Johns’ third new menu item in a single year—by a major U.S. pizza chain’s standards, that’s an explosion of creativity on the culinary side. Not to mention Papa Johns unveiled its Oreo Cookie Papa Bites at the tail end of 2022.

The Cheesy Calzone Epic Stuffed Crust features Papa Johns’ dough hand-stuffed with a blend of mozzarella and savory garlic-herb ricotta, offering a combination of flavors that tastes like a calzone. This pizza comes with the customers’ choice of toppings and is served with extra pizza sauce on the side for dipping.

“Papa Johns has made a name for itself in the stuffed crust game by continuing to innovate and offer new flavor combinations that deliver on the quality we’re known for,” Bean said. “We know fans are looking for more indulgent, savory flavors and deliciously surprising textures, so we can’t wait for them to get a taste of the newest spin on the Epic Stuffed Crust they love.”

The new menu item is available exclusively for Papa Rewards loyalty members beginning December 18 and nationally on Tuesday, December 26, starting at $14.99 for a one-topping pizza.

Meanwhile, Papa Johns will ring in the new year with the launch of Cheesy Calzone Papa Bites, delivering the calzone-inspired flavors in a new shareable side. They will be available starting January 22 for Papa Rewards loyalty members and for all fans on January 29.


Food & Ingredients, Papa Johns