With our last several of issues, we began a series where we spotlight restaurants that are now offering a
specific low carb menu. We've spotlighted TGI Friday's, Ruby Tuesday, Schlotzsky's Deli, and Don Pablo's... Watch for other
restaurants to be featured here in the future (Chili's, Blimpie's, Lee's Famous Recipe, Skyline Chili,
Hardee's, Burger King, and others.)
This month, we visited two restaurants offering low carb (or lower carb) Pizza varieties! We went to both Donatos — a
traditional pizza chain (that offers take out, delivery, and dine-in options), and the up-and-coming Papa Murphy's — a "take
and bake" pizza spot that prepares restaurant style pizza that you take home and pop in the oven to bake and serve hot.
You can choose from the Thin Crust deLITE Pepperoni, the Thin Crust deLITE Meat made with Pepperoni, Beef,
and Italian Sausage or the Thin Crust deLITE Veggie with your choice of Crushed Tomato Sauce or Creamy
Garlic Ranch Sauce, plus Spinach, Mushrooms and Tomatoes.
[ALL INSET PHOTOS ARE "CLICKABLE" TO LARGER SIZES FOR DETAIL]
Papa Murphy's now covers more than 1/2 of the United States, and is growing leaps and bounds. We visited the Xenia, Ohio location
on Wednesday, March 17th, 2004. Here's how Papa Murphy's describes their
"Papa Murphy?s Take N? Bake Pizza is the pioneer of the take and bake concept. We are the
largest take and bake pizza company in the world. We offer only the freshest and highest
quality ingredients with our freshly grated cheeses and our dough that is prepared in house
daily. We offer our products at a low price point, and we also offer our customer the
opportunity to cook their pizza when they are ready to eat it."
There are currently over 800 Papa Murphy's stores in 23 states. And the ingredients they pile on their pies is pretty
They use exceptional varieties of pepperoni (made in a traditional Italian method using a unique blend of 8 herbs and spices), mushrooms (using only Number 1 grade button and medium mushrooms), and sausage (specially prepared and aged.) And they don't
use MSG, artificial colors, fillers or TVP (textured vegetable protein) in any of their products.
So how is it low carb?
Because of the crust it's served on... it's very thin and much higher in protein than standard crusts. Yet it tastes like a
traditional thin-n-crispy pizza crust. They call it their "deLITE Pizza", as it has nearly ? the calories of standard
pizza, and LESS than ? the carbs (a 60% reduction, actually.)
Again, these are "lowER" carb pizzas that come in at 13 to 14 grams of total carbs (around 8 net carbs after fiber reduction)
per slice. And a slice is 1/8 of a large (16") pizza. So it's not a bad carb deal for an excellent tasting pizza (WITH CRUST!)
The deLITE has special baking instructions, but they're easy and seemed to be pretty foolproof. We had no problem turning
out fabulous pizza in short order from our home oven.
A short time ago, Donatos Pizza began getting so many requests for a "no crust" pizza by low carbers, that they decided
it was time it debuted as a regular menu offering.
It was a price bargain as well, at $5.99. It was far more pizza than
Neil and I could eat in two meals.
Their Thin Crust deLITE pizza was successfully tested in the Western United States for five months prior to the national
launch (on February 1, 2004) and customers seemed to love it. We did too. So if you're looking for fresh (very fresh!) hot
pizza and you don't want to blow the diet, Papa Murphy's might be just what you're looking for.
Our next stop was Donatos Pizza... a large chain with stores across much of the U.S. and spreading. The largest number are in
Ohio, as the chain was started by Jim Grote, a college sophomore at Ohio State University in 1963.
And so Donatos Low Carb/No Dough pizza was born. Available as an
individual size (7") only, they serve up plentiful toppings baked on top of a "soy crumbles" base. You can order this by creating any
toppings you like, or you can order it made in one of their "standards": "The Works", "Vegy", "Mariachi" (beef or chicken with peppers,
cheddar and provolone cheeses, Roma tomatoes, Mariachi spices, and sour cream), "Serious Meat", or "Pepperoni."
These come in at 14 to
19 net carb grams for the whole pizza. Not bad for a whole meal.... and again, the price is right also at $3.89 to $4.89 each.
While it's not on the regular menu, you might want to try the "Philly Cheesesteak" in the "No Dough" variety.
But are they good?
Well, they're not bad... the toppings are good as you might expect. But we wondered if the "soy crumbles" really added anything to
the dish... they "get lost" in the toppings and add a fair hint of soy taste to pizza if you're sensitive to the taste of soy. (I noticed
it strongly; Neil didn't.) I think the cheese alone made a great crust and the soy was unnecessary.
You might want to try one of their side salads with this... they're big and offer a host of low carb ingredients (Their Tuscan Chicken
Caesar is a gem! Just leave off the croutons.)
Overall, it was a pretty good meal and we do recommend them. And of course we applaud their vision in offering us this new option!
Review content copyright © April 2004 Lora Ruffner and Neil Beaty for Low Carb Luxury.
Inset food photos copyright © 2004 Neil Beaty for Low Carb Luxury.
Papa Murphy's logo and menu copyright ? 2004 Papa Murphy's International;
8000 Northeast Parkway Drive; Suite 350; Vancouver, WA 98662
Donatos logo and menu copyright ? 2004 Donatos Pizzeria Corp.; 1 Easton Oval; Suite 200;
Columbus, OH 43219