By Mike Kostyo
One of the most appealing aspects of a walking taco is the playful, build-your-own nature of the dish, as you layer your favorite ingredients into a small to-go bag. But how does a national quick-serve chain accomplish this same interactivity at scale—and on a pizza? For Brian Brindza, Director of Culinary & Menu Innovation at Toppers Pizza, the solution meant thinking outside of the box—with two boxes.
For the Walking Taco Topper Pizza, the first box contains a pizza build that features an elevated al pastor sauce with notes of charred pineapple, guajillo, pasilla, cayenne and chipotle peppers, and a finish of Mexican oregano and cumin. It’s topped with seasoned taco meat (beef and pork) and a Wisconsin mozzarella-cheddar blend. Inside the second box are the pizza garnishes: lettuce, tomatoes, nacho cheese-flavored Doritos and sour cream, giving customers that must-have hands-on customization element. The inspired pizza build “performed way above average for a limited-time offering,” says Brindza. “The first day it was launched, it was our top-selling house pizza, which had never happened before. What really drives the flavor home is the finishing touch of Doritos.”