I remember the Pizza Hut opening in my hometown, and how weird that pagoda-shaped building seemed, but I don’t remember when. We rarely went there, because my folks were hooked on a local pizza joint–which I still favor to this day, which has pizza that still tastes the same as it did 35 years ago. We stopped going to Pizza Hut when they dropped the salad bar years ago…
(look ma! it’s a repost from “the old blog”). A rant on pizza hut–how bold and vital of me! It was, as I recall (and hope) supposed to be a little tongue-in-cheek, but nevertheless, it’s little wonder that old blog had about, um, let me count…oh, one follower. Maybe two. And yes, I used to list the music playing while I wrote each post:
I like good pizza–“real pizza”–thin, but not too thin, crust that’s a little crispy on the bottom, but still supple, a little thicker and cheesier than New Jersey serves up, and not any damned whole wheat crust, either, followed by a simple, tangy (never sweet) tomato sauce, and generous quantities of just about any toppings but fish, pineapple, or artichokes. I have my reasons: I simply don’t like anchovies, artichokes on pizza are pretentious (especially since all the flavor bakes out of them), and pineapple, while delightful in most cases is, on pizza, Just Plain Wrong.
Now, a confession: I also (shamefully, secretly) like Pizza Hut Pan Pizza.
When we lived in Oregon, home of the soggy “take and bake” pie, and where Pineapple Pizza runs as rampant and free and wild as the captive minks E.L.F liberated so they could stampede across all four lanes of Interstate 5. The closest good pizza we found was in San Francisco, a solid 8 hour drive away. We were so desperate we even ate Little Caesar’s not once, but twice over the course of just three years. In that environment, Pizza Hut was a blessing, a beacon, a life preserver.
It’s a regional thing. Great Asian food abounded, superb Mex options were everywhere; but, just to offer an example, when the Olive Garden opened in Eugene the lines stretched out into the parking lot, folks raved and exclaimed: FINALLY good Italian had come to Lane County. I recall my wife and I staring at each other, dumbfounded.
Olive Garden? Really? Here in Westsylvania, Olive Garden is one small step up from Strip Mall Food. Think Bob Evans or Denny’s.
It was Pizza Hut that saved us then, and until very recently it’s been Pizza Hut that regularly spared us from faster food joints along the interstates. Pizza Hut trumps McDonalds every time. You pull off the highway, see that bizarrely paradoxical pizza pagoda roofline, and sigh in relief–no greasy burger for you, fatboy, there’s hot pizza and a big pile of salad from the…………
Wait a minute! Last weekend, desperately hungry and on the way home from a pleasant day spent perusing the GIANT HEAD exhibit at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, we rolled into a Pizza Hut in Blairsville, PA and discovered, to our shock, NO MORE SALAD BAR! Not one to be discouraged, I made a “pfft!” sound at the clerk, and led my family back to the road. Two more stops at two more Pizza Huts, both in Indiana, PA, rendered the same result: No salad. At one, a little bleach-blonde held up a pitiful bowl of iceberg “You can get a side salad!” She offered breezily. I muttered something inappropriate and stalked away.
At the last place, where S. 7th Street meets Wayne, a sullen, pudgy little man said, “We have KFC.”
Holy non-sequitur, Batman! “What?” I asked.
“Kentucky. Fried. Chicken.” He spoke very slowly and loudly, presuming (I suppose) I was either hard of hearing or developmentally impaired.
“Why. No. Salad?” I replied, considering his presumptions might be relative to his personal experience.
“Uh, I guess we just didn’t have a need for one anymore.” It was a straight answer, and in retrospect I appreciate it, but it didn’t stop me from being an ass and mocking him, of course.
“Uh, I guess we just don’t have a need to come here anymore.” I said.
“Okay,” He shrugged. He truly didn’t give a shit, and I don’t blame him, given what these places pay. Still, I was deeply disappointed. I enjoyed going to Pizza Hut, but the pizza by itself isn’t good enough to lure me in. I guess we’re done with it.Listening To: Veruca Salt: Seether Lurkers: Cyanide Allman Brothers: Mountain Jam