As an Arizona native I grew up with Peter Piper Pizza. As a young child I remember seeing founder, Tony Cavolo, iconic TV commercials beckoning viewer’s to “c’mon over!” in his jovial east coast accent. Peter Piper was a favorite hangout after Friday night football games when I was a teenager; and now as the mother of a pre-schooler, I have been to dozens of Peter Piper birthday parties over the years.
Peter Piper is an institution that has catered to families and children for decades; but when most folks think of it, they don’t think beyond pepperoni pizza and arcade games. It’s not known as a culinary destination….but things are changing.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Peter Piper Pizza test kitchen in Phoenix to sample some menu items, old, new and some still in development. I was so impressed with everything I sampled and for all the deliciousness that is in store!
Chef Gregory is thinking outside the (pizza) box and creating delicious menu items including new appetizers, pastas, calzones and desserts; and because it’s important to stick to your roots, he’s also playing with ideas for new pizza creations!
One of my favorite things he’s come up with are the Loaded Tater Tots, drenched in cheese sauce and generously topped with real bacon bits. This is an item that is already on the menu and well worth the splurge!
I also sampled a couple other appetizers, although both are still in the concept phase and not yet available to consumers – Sweet & Spicy Fried Pickles and Meatballs with Marinara. Both were spectacularly delicious and worthy of a spot on the Peter Piper line-up.
The fried pickles were fantastic, a mix of dill pickles and spicy and sweet peppers, breaded and fried. They were salty bites with a subtle heat that was deliciously cooled with the accompanying ranch dressing. Absolutely addictive.
The meatballs are a savory blend of beef and pork, the interior was tender and seasoned just right. I was actually shocked at the great quality and excellent taste. You can currently find these meatballs in the Meatball Calzone (we will get to that later) but not yet as an appetizer.
My fingers are crossed that both will be on the menu soon.
Now, onto those calzones. They are fantastic and currently available in a handful of Peter Piper Pizza locations for a consumer test phase. They come in a couple different options but my favorite is the meatball. The calzone is full of those delightful meatballs I spoke of earlier, creamy ricotta and melted mozzarella all stuffed into an excellent crust, perfect golden browned and crisp.
I also loved the Pepperoni Mac & Cheese. I am a sucker for a creamy mac and cheese and Chef Gregory has made one of my all time favorite comfort dishes even better with the addition of pepperoni. The pasta was perfectly cooked and super creamy and the pepperoni are baked on top, forming crispy circles of salty, spicy meat.
Of course you will still find the pizza that have made Peter Piper Pizza famous. But Chef Gregory has added a few pies that will appeal to more sophisticated tastes and is working on even more! I loved the creamy, savory combination on the Chicken Alfredo Pizza and the conceptual Tuscan Pizza-iola. The latter is a familiar Italian classic in pizza form and the former is a serious pie loaded with veggies, meats and savory herbs and spices. I can’t wait to be able to order them both!
Now here is a taste that is still in concept but I’m telling you, Chef Gregory, this item is ready, it’s perfect and mankind needs this kind of wonder. It will make the world a much better place, just by being on the menu. The Nutella Calzone.
Nutella Calzone. The crust on this dessert is perfect, crisp and light. Chef Gregory nailed it. The inside is a gooey marriage of marshmallow and Nutella, the entire thing was served piping ht and dusted with powdered sugar. It’s what my dreams are made of and I am putting my plead in now…..Chef Gregory, please add this to the menu. PLEASE!
So there you have it folks, Peter Piper Pizza isn’t just for kiddies anymore! The menu has matured, and sophisticated palates will feel right at home with new and upcoming options. Kids can enjoy their cheese pizza while the grown-ups can enjoy pastas, salads, calzones, and their own pizzas with a gourmet spin!
Here’s a treat for you! Peter Piper Pizza is offering my readers a Family Fun Pack inclusive of 2 Large 1-topping pizzas, 4 drinks, and 30 game tokens for just $29.99 (offer expires May 14, 2017). That’s a night out for a family of four and a double date with diner and entertainment for under $30. Can’t beat that!
Like Mr. Cavolo said, many years ago….”c’mon over to Peter Piper Pizza!”
Disclaimer: I was invited to the Peter Piper Test Kitchen to enjoy the above mentioned items free of charge, to help facilitate this write-up. All opinions stated within this post are entirely my own.