In April of this year Boston Pizza introduced a new menu item: the Pizzaburger. According to the original press release, it was an attempt to “pizza-fy” their menu, making their burgers and sandwiches bun-less. Thus, the Pizzaburger was born. It is a half-pound prime rib burger, with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and bacon wrapped in their hand-pressed pizza dough. It is the anchor to their “pizza-fied” menu, which also included a PizzaSalad, ChocoPizza, Pizza Toast and more.
Last week they announced the anchor of their bun-less menu was to become a permanent menu item. They called it “one of [their] biggest triumphs in food innovation and [their] guests agree.” I’m guessing they were referring to first time buyers, because this hybrid burger-pizza is not going to have any return customers.
It’s bad. There, I said it. It’s gross. I know that it is a novelty item, so it’s not supposed to be delicious, but it’s also not supposed to be inedible. I literally took two bites of it and had to stop. My poor poor arteries… and taste buds. The Pizzaburger is anything but innovative—it’s a flavourless gimmick.
First things first: aesthetics. I’ve taken into account that I had it delivered, so I’m sure it looks fancier in the restaurant. But it looked nothing like the promotional picture that’s featured on their menu. It looks like it’s been deep fried, because the pizza dough is borderline burnt. I’m actually a fan of Boston Pizza’s pizza dough; it’s crisp, light and not greasy. It’s one of the best pizza crusts out there, in my not-so-humble opinion. It almost made me weep when I saw the state of it, the dark crusty edges, and blackened spots where the air bubbles once were.
The inside wasn’t any better. It was a beef patty, sitting on top of a thin layer of bacon and pepperoni. The burger completely takes over any other flavour, I didn’t even feel the texture of the cheese, let alone taste it. Even the dominant flavour, the burger, was lacking. It tastes average and of filler. If only it had the smallest bit of seasoning in it, it would have been a quality novelty item.
The thing is, if you’re doing a hybrid, everything has to be made perfectly, or it falls short. Anyone can shove a burger patty on pizza dough; it takes a chef to match the flavour profiles of both dishes to make one great hybrid item. For instance, Susur Lee makes a killer cheeseburger spring roll. I know Susur Lee and Boston Pizza are not in the same league, hell I think Susur Lee is playing in a completely different court, but they should take inspiration and work with the ingredients they have. I’ve worked in franchise restaurants before, and I understand the people sitting in offices are always on the cooks to use items that are already available. It helps with costs. But I don’t think that’s a good enough excuse. Chop up the patty, throw some seasoning on it, add some pizza sauce to make sure it doesn’t dry out and then you can wrap it up in your hand-pressed pizza dough.
Nonetheless, it will be a hot menu item for a couple of weeks out of sheer curiosity, but customers will not be coming back. What Boston Pizza has done is hardly innovative and I can’t see it making it past the next menu edit.