There are three true constants in life: death, taxes, and a lovingly placed pepperoncini pepper inside every Papa John’s pizza box. Approximately 2-to-3 inches in length, with a mild spice level, the yellow-green pepperoncini is Papa John’s trademark pro-bono garnish. It is a throw-in that that has evolved into a fan favorite.
"It was like the world was ending.”
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For the answers, you must head to a small town in Indiana. Before John Schnatter became the owner of an international pizza brand -- and started calling himself “Papa” for some reason -- he was washing dishes at Rocky’s Sub Pub in Jeffersonville.
“At Rocky’s, they always included a pepper with every pizza,” Muldoon said, “it was just a nice extra touch that their customers really appreciated, and John noticed.”
“It was actually a worldwide pepperoncini shortage, and it was our fault.”
Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Combining pizzas with pepperoncinis isn’t a widespread tradition outside of pizza shops in middle Indiana. And Papa John’s is really the only major chain to offer this combo. This is surprising, because as a flavor complement, the pepper just works, according to Muldoon.
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