Can a pizza place capture our hearts with a menu item that isn’t even “pizza”? Those who’ve ordered pizza after midnight in any Wisconsin college town would have to adamantly give a big “hell yes”.
With the new year here I feel like I need to switch it up from same old tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. So, I’m opting for a slightly different option from one of my all-time favorite places, where you not only get great pizza, but you also get pizza’s garlicky, ooey gooey, extra cheesy, stick-shaped half-brother.
Toppers Pizza could be personified as punk rock, as they playfully push boundaries with their menu and loudly vocalize their vendetta against the system (in their case Dominos Pizza; recently unleashing an ad campaign calling out Dominos lack of product quality that ended up in a lawsuit).
They use menu creativity, quality, and marketing charisma to forge a competitive edge against the big boys and of course, they are open later than anybody else so it’s naturally the pizza of choice for party people and real-life punk rockers.
The Sticks are Stacking Up.
With Toppers rapidly climbing the ranks of the chains and expanding franchises across the U.S. it’s fun to remember that behind the wheel of their accelerated growth sit their legendary Topperstix.
The famously decadent fusion of pizza and cheesy garlic bread known as Topperstix are a dippers dream come true—smothered in cheese, sprinkled with toppings if you wish and served with a variety of dipping sauces like ranch, nacho cheese, and garlic butter. The combinations are so crave-worthy that midweek daydreams of them often send me reaching for the ranch bottle.
They aren’t the only cheesy breadsticks on the block, but they definitely own the block.
With Toppers headquartered in Whitewater WI. I’ve had the privilege of eating Topperstix my whole life. Triple orders fed grade school sleepovers, provided afternoon snacks in high school and were a prized nightcap in college.
Before there were Baconstix and Nachostix, I remember the first time I ever tried a triple order and thinking Why on earth doesn’t every pizza place have this!? Back then cheesy breadsticks to that caliber were not a menu norm, I haven’t done the research but I feel Toppers was a pioneer in the cheese stick revolution.
Topperstix aren’t the only menu item that makes them a leader in pizza innovation either.
They’ve got some off the wall house pizza combos as well. My personal favorites include Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Topper, Old School Sausage and Pepperoni and my own spin on the Meat Topper in which I sub a BBB/pizza sauce mix for the standard pizza base sauce—it’s rich, smokey, savory and sweet, amazing.
Toppers Pizza inspires me not only because they blazed the trail for cheesy breadsticks and their house pizzas are as alternative as 102.1, but because they embody their slogan Never Settle.
They always have new menu items in development, riffs on classics and tweaks to their sauces for the stix and that’s what makes them fun. Regardless if you agree or disagree with their rapid menu changes you have to respect their ambition to continually improve.
What pizza taught me:
Every Friday I order pizza, so it’s nice to shake things up a bit with some Topperstix that have all the greatness of pizza but are not exactly pizza. Never Settle is a good mantra for 2019 as when we are too attached to a particular view or way of doing things life gets stagnant. Luckily there are places like Toppers that not only welcome pizza innovation but make it incredibly delicious.
What I’m eating: Toppers: Triple order original stix with extra cheese and Meat Topper with BBQ/pizza sauce mix as the base (referred to as MATAS by the OG’s)
What I’m reading: Sam Walton: Made in America –Sam Walton