Papa Murphy's

In pizza-producing corners of the country such as the Northeast or Chicagoland, Papa Murphy's is a mystery wrapped in an enigma packaged in plastic and cardboard.

"So they 'make' a pizza, but they don't cook it?" Right. "Isn't that just a supermarket pizza?" No, because you can customize it. "Can't you just get a plain supermarket pizza and some ingredients and 'customize' it?" Yes, but it's an extra step and you can't stuff it.

"I don't get it."

We know, but the rest of the Papa Murphy's-eating country does and, last year, Nation's Restaurant News and Zagat rated it the No. 1 pizza chain in the country ahead of giants such as Domino's ( DPZ), Papa John's ( PZZA) and Yum Brands' ( YUM) Pizza Hut. The year before, Consumer Reports readers also declared it the top pizza chain in the land.

Papa Murphy's shows its love right back by offering Valentine's Day couples the HeartBaker, a heart-shaped pizza that just needs a few minutes at 425 degrees to become a warm and inviting romantic dinner. Diners only have to brave the masses to pick it up and don't have to wait for their assigned reservation time to dig in.

This may not seem terribly romantic in "real" pizza towns east of the Mississippi, but neither is waiting an hour and a half for the delivery guy to show up with your pie because a million other couples in your densely packed metro area decided to order in too.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham.

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-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

RELATED STORIES:



Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.

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