Once a week, my mother and I go out to a restaurant or pick up dinner to eat at home. (The latter is the only option for us recently.) And we always get pizza once a month. My mother’s favorite pizza place is Papa Murphy’s, which is in the Gold Country Center in south Jackson, so that’s where I always go for pizza.

Papa Murphy’s is a restaurant chain founded in 1995 and based in Vancouver, Washington. Their value proposition is to give customers a lower price for pizza if they come in to pick up the pizza and bake it at home. This “take and bake” model has been so popular that Papa Murphy’s now has over 1,500 locations throughout the United States.

Papa Murphy’s offers specials throughout the week, and my mother and I order our pizza on Tuesday because that’s when they offer $12 for any large pizza. Papa Murphy’s also rolls out specialty pizzas throughout the year, such as their “Triple Pepp” pepperoni pizza and Hawaiian pizza that are being advertised as of this writing.

Last fall, one of those special pizzas was rustic veggie. Since my mother and I always get a veggie pizza, we get a half rustic veggie and half garden veggie. Though the rustic veggie pizza is off their menu, the staff at the Jackson Papa Murphy’s knows my order when I come in. One of the pizza preparers explained to me that I’m their only customer who orders a rustic veggie pizza.

Papa Murphy's rustic veggie pizza

The pizza is usually finished in 10 to 15 minutes, which gives me the chance to get some shopping done at the Raley’s store a few doors down from Papa Murphy’s. In addition to pizza, you can also purchase other food and drinks such as two-liter bottles of soda, salads, cheese bread, and desserts. You can also buy small “Mini Murph” pepperoni or cheese pizza for kids.

Your finished pizza comes on a round cardboard pizza tray and covered in plastic wrap. Once you get home, you can put the wrapped pizza in your refrigerator for a few hours until you’re ready to bake it. The large pizza is small enough that you can bake it in a standard-sized toaster oven.

My Meal

The rustic veggie pizza comes with cheese, spinach, garlic, mushrooms, red onions, green peppers, red pepper flakes, and garlic cream sauce. This pizza also comes with feta cheese on top, but I order mine with their regular topping cheese instead.

I like having my pizza a bit spicier than usual, and the red pepper flakes give the pizza the kick that I like. I found that the taste of the feta cheese distracted from the taste of the other ingredients, but the topping cheese gives me mild flavor that doesn’t distract my taste buds.

Mom’s Meal

The garden veggie pizza comes with olives, mushrooms, red onions, tomatoes, green peppers, and tomato and basil sauce. And cheese above the sauce and below the vegetables, too.

My mother doesn’t like onions on her food that often, but she’ll eat the onions on her pizza because the flavors of the vegetables, cheese, and tomato sauce blend in well together.

Papa Murphy's garden veggie pizza

The Verdict

The ingredients on the rustic veggie slices weren’t spread evenly. So, some bites had large globs of garlic, and others had large amounts of mushrooms. But there were plenty of toppings but not so much that I couldn’t break off the crust and enjoy it, too.

The crust itself is light but solid enough that it doesn’t become soggy from all the toppings. How chewy or crispy you want the crust depends on how long you bake the pizza.

I’ve found that sometimes the halves on the pizza are more like 55 percent of one pizza and 45 percent of the other, but the pizza I ordered in May was evenly distributed.

The staff is always willing to customize your orders within reason, and if you have a favorite specialty pizza you’re missing, ask about It when you order. You may be surprised that the staff will be happy to make it for you.

In sum: Thumbs up from both of us. The cost of the large pizza on Tuesdays is $12 — it’s $14 the other six days of the week.

My mother claims that Papa Murphy’s is the best pizza she’s ever had. However, Papa Murphy’s is certainly not the only pizza place in Amador County.

I can think of five other pizza restaurants in Jackson and Martell, other pizza restaurants in the county, and several Italian restaurants that serve pizza. We’re already planning to have a taste test of pizza from all restaurants in the county as a featured article. If you haven’t bookmarked this site, do that now so you won’t miss it.

Want to Try Them?

You can visit the Papa Murphy’s website, click or tap the Order Online button, and then type in your zip code to view the Jackson restaurant menu and order ahead online. Or you can call them at 209-223-5052.

Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.