Papa Johns Pizza Opens in Envigado

Papa Johns Envigado
Papa Johns Envigado

Papa Johns Pizza has opened its third restaurant in the Medellín metro area located in Envigado in the La Frontera neighborhood. It is not far from the Euro grocery store in Envigado. I happened to notice this new restaurant recently and stopped for pizza for lunch when in the area.

But Papa Johns is not the only U.S.-based pizza chain expanding in the city. Domino’s also recently added a new restaurant in Sabaneta.

Papa Johns opened its first restaurant in Medellín on September 2015 located in the La Strada mall in El Poblado.  It opened its second restaurant last year in El Poblado at Carrera 30 #10C-228.  With its new Envigado location, the company now has three restaurants in the Medellín metro.  The new Envigado location is larger than the company’s first location in El Poblado.

Papa John’s Pizza has been in Bogotá for a while. And they now have 16 restaurants in Bogotá. Plus, they have one in Chia and one in Cajicá.

The company opened restaurants in Barranquilla and Villavicencio before they opened a restaurant in Medellín. But Papa John’s now has three in Medellín and still only one in Barranquilla and one in Villavicencio. I have heard that Papa John’s is also scouting locations for additional sites in Medellín.

Inside the new Papa Johns in Envigado
Inside the new Papa Johns in Envigado

More About Papa Johns Pizza

Kentucky-headquartered Papa John’s Pizza is the third largest take-out and pizza delivery restaurant chain in the world after Pizza Hut and Domino’s. Papa John’s Pizza restaurant franchise was founded in 1983.

Papa John’s now has over 5,080 restaurants in 45 countries. In Latin America, the chain now has restaurants in 16 countries: Bolivia, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. Latin America is a growth market for the company.

According to Papa John’s recent earnings disclosures, in their development pipeline are 200 units in North America and 1,100 units internationally, which are planned to open over the next six years.  The company is expecting growth to be faster outside the competitive U.S. market.

Medium Italiana pizza at Papa Johns
Medium Italiana pizza at Papa Johns

Papa Johns Menu

The menu for Papa Johns in Colombia can be found online here.  Prices in the new Envigado restaurant match what is found online.

The pizzas at Papa Johns in Colombia come in four sizes: personal for one person, mediana for two people, familiar for three people and mega familiar for 4+.

For example, for the Italiana that I ordered, the personal size cost is 16,500 pesos, the mediana size cost is 28,900 pesos, the familiar is 37,500 and the mega familiar size cost is 43,900 pesos. For a thinner crust available for the familiar size add 2,000 pesos.

The newest Domino's Pizza in Sabaneta
The newest Domino’s Pizza in Sabaneta

Domino’s Opened Restaurant in Sabaneta

Papa John’s is not the only U.S.-based pizza chain expanding in the Medellín metro. Domino’s opened its second restaurant in Sabaneta late last year. So it now has a total of 14 restaurants in the Medellín metro area.

Domino’s has a restaurant located in the large Mayorca mall in Sabaneta.  But the company found that this single restaurant couldn’t handle the volume of pizza delivery business in the rapidly growing Sabaneta market with all the new apartment buildings being built in the area.

As a result, the company decided to open a second location in Sabaneta.  It is located a few blocks from Parque Sabaneta.  The new restuarant is much larger than the Domino’s at Mayorca mall with several tables inside for dining in.  And it is better located to provide delivery (domicillio) services to apartment buildings in Sabaneta.

The Pizza Market in Medellín

The big pizza chains in Medellín such as Jeno’s and PizzaDoblePizza don’t have very good pizza in my opinion. That is why the U.S.-based pizza chains Domino’s and Papa John’s are encountering success in Medellín and other cities in Colombia.

There are also a handful of individual restaurants in the city with really good pizza that have been covered on this site.  In Sabaneta, Pizza en Leña also has two locations owned by a Dutch guy that are popular with good thin-crust pizza cooked in brick ovens .

How does Papa John’s Pizza rank? I would personally rank Papa John’s pizza a step above Domino’s.  And in my opinion, Domino’s is better than the Colombian pizza chains like Jeno’s and PizzaDoblePizza.

I also happen to like Chicago-style pizza since I previously lived in Chicago for two years. But I haven’t yet found any really good deep-dish pizza anywhere in Colombia.

More U.S.-based Chain Expansions are Likely

Krispy Kreme opened its first donut shop in Medellín in March last year, which is located in a new building in El Poblado along the Milla de Oro (Golden Mile). Since that time, Krispy Kreme opened a second donut shop in Medellín.  It is located in El Poblado at Carrera 32 #2 Sur-47, which is located in the Mall Zona Dos.

Starbucks opened its first store in Medellín on September 1 last year located next to the first Krispy Kreme shop. Since that time, it opened two more and reportedly has plans to add up to five more this year.

Medellín now has several U.S.-based chain restaurants and fast food places including Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Hard Rock Café, Hooters, McDonalds, Subway, KFC, Domino’s, Papa John’s, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks and Wingzone.

Bogotá has several more U.S.-based chain restaurants and fast food places that aren’t available yet in Medellín, including Pizza Hut, Chili’s, TGI Fridays, P.F. Changs and Taco Bell.

The Bottom Line

For expats that don’t want to see U.S.-based chain restaurants and fast food places that are expanding globally, you’ll have to go to a much smaller city than Medellín. The Medellín metro area is approaching a population of 4 million. There are already over 125 locations of U.S.-based chain restaurants and fast food chains found in Medellín.

With the continued growth of the city of Medellín and the success U.S.-based chains are finding in the city, additional expansions are likely.  But some expats are not happy to see all the U.S.-based chains in the city.

Keep in mind all these U.S.-based chains have come to Medellín primarily looking for Colombian customers, as there are only a few thousand expats living in the city.  And perhaps a few thousand more expat tourists in the city at any point in time.

What do you think about Papa John’s and other U.S.-based chains expanding in Medellín?

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  1. When I’m in Envigado, I’ll go to Olivia’s or jump on the bus and head up to Cafe Zorba or Graspo de Uva. Papa John’s, uh, no thanks. It will probably do OK because it’s an “American” restaraunt but won’t taste any better than Piccolo’s. The last thing I want to do in Medellin is be reminded of bad American pizza.

    • Growing up in New York and now living in Florida I still do not walk into nor order from any of the “big three” it’s just not good quality pizza. If I were living in Medellin I would be disappointed in these chain fast food pizzerias!

  2. I came to Colombia because it is not the U.S. where you can be in any state and any city and hardly tell the difference because of all the franchise stores that are all the same.

    Not to mention, soon to be following the expansion of the franchises, will be the expansion of the waistlines of the Colombians. Just like in the U.S.
    Well, unfortunately you can’t stop change.

    • Yes. That is exactly correct. for those who wish wish to eat good old Anerican food. Knock yourselves out. If living in barrio popular means guaranteeing papa john wont be there then thats what I will do. There is nothing less inviting than good old USA fast food. What’s next White Castle? If you really must eat Good old usa highly processed chemical laden food with all the growth hormones added the join pricesmart in Belen. Its a duplicate carbon copy of costco usa. Everything American is there. For me i avoid it like the plague. Irs why I moved here. I remember golden corral all you can eat chain in my adopted state of Kentucky seeing 400 pound Americans gorging themselves on Good Old Anerican Food. For me good old native Colombian cuisine is why I am here.

  3. Thanks, nice to know. I think it’s nice to have another choice. I happen to like Papa Johh’s and so does my Colombian girlfriend and they do deliveries. To me Papa John’s has better pizza than Dominos and much better than Jenos. I wish Papa John’s would come next to Laureles where I live.

  4. I am from Kentucky. Papa Johns is very expensive but good, I prefer the local pizzerias here and support local business owners instead of enriching foreign corporations who come here and charge usa prices in a country that pays its employees on average one us dollar an hour.

  5. Thanks for writing this or I wouldn’t have known about it. A friend lives close and we went there for lunch today. They have very good pizza that we both liked and good service.

    • It is nice to hear an American respond in English. I am losing my English communication skills as all my friends are Paisa.

  6. I do enjoy a good Pizza from time to time, and Pizza has to be pretty bad for me not to like it. Unfortunately, Jeno’s is that bad. Sure, Domino’s and Papa Johns aren’t the best Pizza in the world, but they aren’t trying to be. I have always found the detractors of such Pizza, to dismiss it entirely because it is not “authentic.” Sorry to tell ya, but there is no authentic Pizza. If Colombians like Pizza from these places, then so be it. I don’t see how eating Pizza is going to solely contribute to rising obesity rates in the country. I think some of the posters have forgotten that Pizza and other unhealthy foods, have been available in abundance here in Colombia for quite sometime. Bottom line, is that if Papa Johns offends you so, then don’t eat it. As for me, I’ll continue to have it in the rotation of my weekly cheat meal.

  7. How wonderful can this be? Wonderful Sabaneta, with it’s true Colombian environment unlike Poblado now has real authentic US pizza in two locations. Go USA!

    Can’t wait until I move there next month and can treat the Novia to good old American food!

  8. Krispy Kreme also has a location at the San Lucas Mall, it’s in between Percimon and Mixtura.

    Is there better pizza than Papa Johns in the world, yes of course, but i’m just a little tired of the olivia style offerings available through out the city. As a life long NYC resident I really miss a new york slice of pizza if anyone knows where i can find one in Medellin, please let me know.

    • Personally I enjoy Colombia because it has not turned into another exit on the interstate littered with fast food junk food palaces. Who really needs to see all of this here in Colombia? i left the United States in search of sovereignty and local culture and cuisine. Papa Please go home to !ouisville.

    • Honestly there is only one place here in Medellin where one can get an authentic York City Slice of Pizza and that is at the food coirt at Price Smart in Belen. Everything else is Fake News. But for a truly Authentic slice of Pizza from Sicily, Antonio from Sicily makes his amazing pizza fresh daily in Floresta one block from the metro, he also makes authentic Italian bread daily and it is to die for. I was born and bred in Queens. New York. I know aurhentic Italian cuisine. Papa,Johns and all the rest don’t have a clue. Antonio also makes fresh Lasagna daily. Mangia and enjoy.

      • I Antonio from Sicily the name of the restaurant?

        There is also a Krispy Kreme on the small Zona Dos mall.

        If you want Chicago deep dish pizza have you tried Chicago’s Deep Dish in Envigado? I recall seeing another location somewhere but I don’t recall where.