Back When Pizza Hut Was Cool
September 13, 2017 1:34 PM   Subscribe

This is the Pizza Hut I remember. It was a destination restaurant for a moderately expensive family dinner, or a date.
posted by COD (145 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
I remember growing up around the same time and going to Pizza Hut. Honestly, meh. I suspect it's because I grew up in Philadelphia, a city with no shortage of decent quality pizza places. All the experience of Pizza Hut was ruined when you actually ate their crappy pizza. If it's all you knew, I suppose, it's easy to be nostalgic. For me, give me a pie from my old local Greek Style pizza place.

(Which, I should add, is still there: Original Boston Pizza, at Frankford Ave and Passmore Street.)
posted by SansPoint at 1:40 PM on September 13 [8 favorites]


I'm curious about whether the author experienced any other moderately popular pizza chains at around the same time. I certainly have similar memories of various Canadian pizza restaurants... Mother's, Frank Vetere's, kinda sorta Pizza Delight... from when I was a kid through the '80s. Not the rapturous salad bar experience, but the faux-old-timey-Italian restaurant thing: tall booths, carpet, small windows, etc.
posted by Shepherd at 1:41 PM on September 13 [11 favorites]


Yes. Yes it was.
posted by Melismata at 1:41 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


My daughter is just about six, and she loves our local McDonald's. She loves the play pen, the food, the decor. We've gone a handful of times, and each time it's a "special" experience that I tell her we won't do very often, because I can't stand it, and the food is grotty.

It would be very interesting to know what Yarber's father thought about Pizza Hut. It could be that they only went there a couple times a year because he didn't love it all that much, but knew that the kids liked it.

I'm sure my daughter will remember McDonald's fondly for years. And I'm sure one day, she'll go back, and think "what ever happened to this place?"
posted by heyitsgogi at 1:46 PM on September 13 [31 favorites]


in the late 70s-early 80s I was taken to Pizza Hut a couple times. Yes, it was a restaurant with menus, waiters, vinyl tablecloths and Coke in plastic pitchers with chewy crushed ice pellets. Pretty sure I was there for some fellow grade-schooler's birthday party.

I've seen Pizza Huts since then, but seriously, I think that time in the 80s might be the last time I actually ate in one.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 1:47 PM on September 13


Pizza Hut around me ALWAYS also had that retro (even then) round fireplace. It always felt like I was in a ski lodge in 1975.
posted by ShawnString at 1:47 PM on September 13 [16 favorites]


Well, it was pretty much all I knew, together with millions of kids who didn't live near a good source of Italian-American pizza.* I can see now how the Hut was trying to crib from an earlier idea of how Italian restaurants looked: low lighting, a red-brown color scheme with checkered tablecloths, candles.

I don't know what it is that makes pizza seem so magical to kids. It's delicious, of course, but the specialness of pizza night seems to transcend time. I can still remember the occasions I had at Pizza Hut, like the day I got pulled out of school for a medical procedure and was still really achy but got to pick where we went for lunch and my mom took me there even though she hated it. Of course the pizza was bad, qua pizza. But it said to the body what salt, fat and carbs always say to the body: you are being nourished, and you are going to be okay.

-----
* Oddly, there were in fact a set of good restaurants nearby that had been in the Italian community for decades, but that didn't really compete with Pizza Hut or Domino's. The local Italians, being in the rural South, have developed their own particular style of cooking that doesn't map exactly onto the East Coast culinary experience, and the restaurants concentrated on pasta and meat entrees rather than pizza, which was there, of course, but just there.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:51 PM on September 13 [13 favorites]


Hands up if you too skipped to the end to see if the piece was written by Marilyn Hagerty.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:51 PM on September 13 [9 favorites]


Goes to show that ANYTHING that happened in your youth you can be nostalgic for.
posted by xammerboy at 1:52 PM on September 13 [8 favorites]


Hasn't pizza itself undergone a conversion? I feel like as a kid in the 80s the pizza place was a place to go and drop quarters on video games and spend some time. Nowadays though the local pizza parlors seem like ghost towns. Same goes for Chinese food, as if now these are take-home/delivered items and nobody drops in except to take away.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:52 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


I immediately felt greasy while reading that.

I only ever got to go to Pizza Hut when I was a kid doing Book-It! and I would get the free pizzas. I remember you had to wear/show this Book-It button to claim your free pizza which very quickly developed a specific Pizza Hut grease-like texture and aroma that never went away.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:53 PM on September 13 [28 favorites]


My dad was a huge fan of Pizza Hut, so we went there a lot starting from the 70's until the late 90's . It definitely went downhill as the years went by. By around 2000 even my dad wouldn't eat there anymore. I haven't been to one in this century.
posted by fimbulvetr at 1:56 PM on September 13


I don't think I ever went to a Pizza Hut because out here we had Round Table Pizza, which out-performed Pizza Hut in both pizza and dark, dungeon-like atmosphere.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:03 PM on September 13 [22 favorites]


We had a similar thing; it was a Friday night thing, payday night when my parents were feeling spendy but not too spendy, and not looking forward to a weekend with all four kids around, so taking us out and feeding us up/letting us play a few video games was a way of feeding us without working too hard. If they were feeling really nice they might take us to a Braum's later for ice cream.

Delivery pizza wasn't so much a thing when I was a kid; you were more likely to go pick it up and bring it back.

I do remember our local one had red plastic glasses with the bumpy exterior. There's a local pizza chain that still has a similar decor and still uses those glasses and pitchers and beige plastic plates, the pizza is better than PH was but the rest is exactly the same.
posted by emjaybee at 2:05 PM on September 13 [6 favorites]




I will always have fond memories of Pizza Hut circa late 80s, because that's where I fell in love with my wife, sitting across the table from each other, making a pyramid out of red plastic glasses with the smooth sounds of Phil Collins issued out of the 3 plays for a quarter jukebox.

(There's still a Pizza Hut by me, grafted onto a wings place. I don't honestly know whether you can even sit down in it, or if it's takeout only. Either way, it probably doesn't have Phil Collins.)
posted by madajb at 2:08 PM on September 13 [13 favorites]


I live a few blocks away from one of the few remaining sit-down Pizza Huts. It's been remodeled so there's more light. It's weird.

If you want what Pizza Hut used to be today, go to Round Table Pizza, a chain which does not offer free soda refills. If you want to go to what Pizza Hut aspired to be way back when, go to the first Italian restaurant in my hometown, which was opened and run continuously for fifty years by a Lebanese family. Dark, brown, brick, Muzak, checkered table coverings, pitchers of domestic draft, and tabletop Pac-Man.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:12 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


I remember when the Pizza Hut opened in Lewiston in the mid-70s. It was a big deal because we had very few national chains of any kind in Maine then. Our parents took us for dinner one time but never again. Pizza in my hometown then was the sort of thing you picked up at the nearest convenience store for $2.50, not an expensive sit-down meal.
posted by briank at 2:12 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]




I never went to a Pizza Hut growing up in NJ in the 70s but ended up going there out of desperation when I moved to rural PA for school. It was horrible, terrible pizza but when you're living out in Pennsyltucky, you don't have a lot of choice.
posted by octothorpe at 2:14 PM on September 13


As a kid, I mostly knew Pizza Hut from commercials included on the VHS tapes for Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles and The Land Before Time. My dad despised the place, so our family only ever ate there while on road trips when there was no better option.

On one of those occasions, we were seated in a "non-smoking section" consisting of a couple of booths at no meaningful remove from the smoking section, which was the rest of restaurant. The resulting asthma attack almost put my mom in the hospital, and that was the end of Pizza Hut pit-stops for good. (Godfather's Pizza was promoted to its niche.)
posted by Iridic at 2:14 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Agreed 100%, unlike most in this thread. Not all of us lived in metropolitan areas where "authentic" *eyeroll* pizza was available. Pizza Hut was something special.

Second only to Pizza Hut in my hometown: a Pizza Inn that had an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. 12-year-old me and my best friend would ride our bikes the 2 miles to the Pizza Inn (an almost-illicit journey) and gorge ourselves for $7.99 on Saturday afternoons.
posted by kuanes at 2:15 PM on September 13 [42 favorites]


My very first experience with video games was through Pizza Hut. A table top Ms. Pac-Man. My parents would order our pizza and then that eternal wait.

I can recall the moment I heard some loud beeping and booping from some corner close to the kitchen. I wander over and see some kid playing a brightly coloured game. I'm enraptured by the bright yellow thing eating little tiny ghosts.

I watch for all of 30 seconds and I know that I have to play. I sense there's something magical happening in front of me. I see a place to insert money and im barely halfway back to the table my parents are sitting at and I'm yelling that I need. 50 cents.

Pizza has been forgotten. I've fallen in love with video games. The pizza is nice, I'll always accept pizza, but I fell in love with Ms. Pac-Man and all of video games on that day.

The right amount of grease, that slightly subdued muffled joystick sound when you shift up and down and left and right. The bright lights. It was heaven.
posted by Fizz at 2:16 PM on September 13 [21 favorites]


I suspect the resonance of this article depends a lot on the quality of the surrounding pizza places in your neck of the woods in the 80s & 90s, I grew up in rural New England where the quality of our local pizza was inconsistent to say the least, so this article is spot on for me. If I grew up in Philly or New York, probably not so much.

However, Pizza Hut does hold a special place in my heart from the mid 90s, when I lived for a year or so in El Salvador/Central America. It was an exciting but often challenging time in my life, where the political and social context of post-war El Salvador could be stressful, exhausting and incite homesickness.

Pizza Hut was the single island of home that us expats would go to when we could afford to "splurge" (it was not a cheap place to eat down there). I generally am skeptical of the standardization benefit that is a hallmark of Western capitalism but I will say this: Pizza Hut was well known as one of the few places where you could safely eat salad & veggies that you didn't peel and wash yourself, the pizza was always hot & fresh and you could get ice cold beer in the same cheesy pitcher from back home, and this was all strangely comforting.
posted by jeremias at 2:18 PM on September 13 [8 favorites]


We had plenty of other good pizza options around when I was growing up, but my family enjoyed going to Pizza Hut a few times a year and it was definitely all about the dim lights, high booths, jukebox, and Mountain Dew in a pebbly red plastic cup. And screw all the haters, I still like their pan pizza even while acknowledging that it's not necessarily great pizza*.

* Although I would pay an unreasonable amount of money to eat Pizza Hut Priazzo again, even though it couldn't possibly live up to my nostalgic memory of how fucking delicious it was. They only had them for a year or two in the late eighties, but when my family moved in 1990 we were thrilled to discover our new Pizza Hut still had priazzo on the menu under "local favorites."
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 2:23 PM on September 13 [6 favorites]


Also, my other memory of Pizza Hut was back in 2001 and visiting Pizza Hut in New Delhi, India. It was my first time in India and also consuming "Western food" while in India with my cousins who wanted to take me out.

They had ketchup and mustard at every table. A common and popular condiment with which to pair and eat pizza with apparently.
posted by Fizz at 2:24 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Keith Talent - amusingly, this article brought up memories of how much I loved going to Pizza Hut as a kid.... in Grand Forks, where Marilyn Hagerty is from and writes about.

I have no memory of her reviewing Pizza Hut, though.
posted by flaterik at 2:25 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


In London in the 70s, the new Pizza Hut on the corner was initially quite exotic to us. Pizza was novel and it was the first time I ever saw a salad bar. Our dad would take us there and he'd get the spicy pizza even though it made him hiccup.
Later on we'd only visit on "all you can eat" nights, because other cuisines were starting to compete, like Indian. Eventually we switched to the much better food at Pizza Express, despite it being a longer walk. Now that Pizza Hut location is takeout/delivery only but somehow still clings on, despite much better pizza now being widely available all around.
posted by w0mbat at 2:29 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


There is, IIRC, a Pizza Hut in view of the Pyramids at Giza. If I am ever lucky enough to go there, I will try to experience Egypt in all its fullness, and that includes eating at the Pizza Hut.

I was also grateful for Pizza Hut overseas, when I went to the UK with a tour group as a teenager. I'd had to adjust to the fact that it is okay for workers to openly disdain the customer in the UK, which is healthier for society at large but a little disorienting when you are young and haven't been warned. At Pizza Hut, it was crowded and slow and because of the size of the group I only got one slice, but it was a little slice of home.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:29 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Parents took us to a Pizza Hut once. In Chicago in the early seventies? Why? Was that date night?
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:29 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


This article weirdly resonates with me. My dad was a huge fan of Pizza Hut and it was always a separate experience from take-out pizza. There was always pizza and Pizza Hut pizza as if they were different beasts. I recall the salad bars but my main childhood memory, other than the greasy pan pizzas, was the bottomless pitchers of soft drinks (something we rarely had). My brother and I likely drank our weight in root beer every time we went. It definitely peaked in the 80's. I still go occasionally for nostalgia - with mixed results. Going to the one in Cairo by the Pyramids was fun for instance or the one in London where my brother and I ate a pizza with baby corn for lulz.

Shepherd, funny you should mention Mother's. I didn't grow up with them but my wife did and when the brand was recently bought and several restaurants opened locally we had to go. It was weird experience – halfway old timey restaurant mixed with modern restaurant trappings like TVs all over the place. The pizza was acceptable pizza parlour style and kids eat free on the day we went so my complaints were minimal. Other than TVs, which are the worst.

Pizza can be a personal thing. I think it is one of those foods that can be anchored to an experience or recipe or style and we measure all pizzas to that ur pizza of our memory. One of the things some friends and I would frequently do together in high school was eat pizza from this one take-out place that made a variation of the New York Sicilian pizza. Greasy and huge. I met with same old friends over the weekend and I picked up a pizza from the same small regional chain (the original one we went to had long closed) before we got together and hilariously we all remembered different aspects of the pizza we had as teens. However, all those various memories put together found the pizza I picked up to be seriously lacking, chief among them a serious lack of grease.
posted by Ashwagandha at 2:30 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Oh, wow, those photos are definitely a flashback, that's dead on the Pizza Hut that used to be on Lee Highway just up the road from us. I wouldn't say it was seen as fancy, but it was definitely not really viewed as fast food in the 70s. It was a place to take the kids for a nice but not too nice sit down meal.
posted by tavella at 2:32 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


that's dead on the Pizza Hut that used to be on Lee Highway just up the road from us

This was my exact thought!
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:35 PM on September 13


A visit to the Pizza Hut - in Townsville (basically Nowheresville, QLD) in the 80s and 90s - was a treat to be anticipated and savored. The pitchers of soft drink (lemonade or lemon squash) and the heavy pizza pans brought to the table. The smells. The booths. All excellent. And the pizza was actually pretty good!

Then they came out with the all-you-can-eat buffet, and hot damn! That was a whole new level of excellent, and the pizza was still pretty good. I feel like we used to go there every couple of weeks for dinner, and that's where I learned from my brother to go for the thin base slices, so as not to fill up on bread.

Then Domino's came along and made better pizzas, cheaper. Takeaway or delivery only, but they were miles ahead of Pizza Hut in terms of toppings and quality of ingredients. They had a seafood pizza back then (late-90s) that is still one of my top 10 pizzas ever (and which, naturally, they don't make any more).

Now Domino's is utter ratshit - and evil, to boot - and Pizza Hut, while more expensive, has lifted its game and is making good ("good", I guess) pizza again. Without shame I say that I am happy to have a Pizza Hut pizza in a pinch, or even out of a pinch. Cheesy crust hot & spicy with added garlic oil that I dump even more shit on when it gets to me? Hell yes.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:36 PM on September 13 [7 favorites]


Here are photos of businesses that used to be Pizza Huts.

Ha! The one in Townsville, North Queensland, is is exactly the one we used to go to! The florist next door used to be a gun shop.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:42 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Most of you didn't have the same experience with Pizza Hut that the author did, and that's okay. I did, though.

Pizza Hut was totally a treat for us when I was growing up. My hometown had exactly two restaurants until I was in high school -- Dairy Queen, and a smokey little truck stop diner that was only open for breakfast and lunch. When we went out to dinner, it was a treat. And when we went out to dinner, we had to travel at least one town away.

Big out-to-dinner nights, the kind that celebrated something, required driving 30 minutes into the actual suburbs of DFW. The options were limitless, although we usually ended up at Steak and Ale, about which its own nostalgic blog post could be written.

Normal out-to-dinner nights, which were still a treat but weren't tied to any triggering momentous occasion, usually meant driving to the next town, where Pizza Hut was one of the more upscale options. (I'm looking at you, Sizzler and K-Bob's. You may have been special in your own way, but you weren't upscale.)

My fondest Pizza Hut memory is going to a classic car swap meet with my dad in deep East Texas. This would have been 1981 or '82. It was just him and me, and he took me to Pizza Hut for lunch. For lunch! Just Dad and me! At Pizza Hut! For lunch!

That was just -- it just broke all sorts of norms.

He gave me some money for the jukebox and I can still remember the three songs I played: Jesse's Girl, I Love a Rainy Night, and the theme song from the Dukes of Hazzard.

Okay, so I've dated and geolocated myself in not too flattering ways here, but whatever. I have some really fond memories of childhood Pizza Hut forays in general, and that one in particular, and they're making me smile. I'm sorry a lot of you don't have formative Pizza Hut experiences to smile at right now.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:43 PM on September 13 [84 favorites]


I lived near a small town for a few years in the mid 70's, and in that time Pizza Hut opened its first restaurant in that part of the state. It was a big deal, considering that I can't recall any other restaurant in that small town that specialized in pizza at the time (this was in Hawaii). So, I understand where the writer is coming from.
posted by King Sky Prawn at 2:46 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


The options were limitless, although we usually ended up at Steak and Ale, about which its own nostalgic blog post could be written.

OMG STEAK AND ALE

Now THAT was fancy eatin' for my family. Only for anniversaries or Grandma's birthday. And Grandma fretted the whole time that you were spending too much money on her.

I just had another Pizza Hut memory, which was in the 80s the one near us introduced lunch specials for personal pan pizzas with unlimited soft drinks. So of course, at lunch me and my friends bought 2 of those and then all 5 of us got drinks and shared two tiny pizzas because we were cheap-ass teenagers. I believe we also stole crackers and anything else we could get from the salad bar. Parmesan cheese on saltines is not a bad snack.

Good times.
posted by emjaybee at 2:49 PM on September 13 [6 favorites]


Hmm... I think I could say the same thing as the author but with Godfather's Pizza, for me; I was sad when they started closing their restaurants out here. Agreed with a lot of folks that chain pizza was the only option in town growing up unless you made your own, so as a kid, it ended up being pretty special.
posted by Aleyn at 3:01 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


My fondest chain-restaurant-as-destination-dining experiences were at the Ground Round. It had arcade games and two dining areas - one with a bar, for adults, and one with popcorn machines, old-time movies and festive decor for families. It was, according to my nostalgia-tinted memory, just a grand old place indeed.

And then there was Friendly's.
posted by grumpybear69 at 3:04 PM on September 13 [8 favorites]


Ok, the photo in the article is from wikipedia, it's in Athens, Ohio.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:10 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


I remember riding my bike down to the Pizza Hut in Eastgate (still there; thanks Google maps!) and ordering bread sticks and playing Super Mario Bros on the tabletop machine there for an hour or two at a time. Ah yes, and the red plastic glasses of soda... good times.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 3:10 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


There as still a couple of these places around. My home town still has one and looking around, I was able to find one sit down with-a-salad-bar Pizza Huts in the area.
posted by zabuni at 3:15 PM on September 13


Mine also had a table top Ms. Pac Man. Half the reason I liked going as a kid. They had Galaga too. The pizza has definitely gotten worse. Prices haven't gone up all that much in _30_ years--you can tell the product has been cheapened in order to maintain a certain pricing level.

I got a carryout maybe a year ago, a large for $6. Tasted liked and had the consistency of mildly cheesy cardboard.
posted by aerotive at 3:20 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


[A Florida] Pizza Hut wants its minimum wage employees to risk their lives for corporate profits.*

*Obligatory Capitalism is still bad despite the warm glow of nostalgia comment ;)
posted by nikoniko at 3:22 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


Growing up in my small Central PA town, Pizza Hut was one of the very few sit down mid-range restaurants available for family dining. My experience eating there was very much like the article described.

It was also one of the few places where a teenage me could safely work and I spent summers and breaks from my Junior year of high school to the end of my Junior year of college working in the kitchen as a cook. The work was hard, but the manager of the store was a kind, decent human being who treated his employees very well.

I also worked at one of the few stores in the country that still had the infamous Taco Pizza on the menu in the early nineties. They finally retired that particular taste sensation when the store moved to a new location. I dreaded making those with the pan pizza dough, the bean base was just thick enough and the proofed pan dough was just fluffy enough that you would tear the dough while spreading the bean base.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 3:23 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


Yeah, small-town Kansas still has this style Pizza Hut. Still has taco pizza in some areas, too, at least as of 2012, when I was living in Oberlin. (My apologies to the workers but taco pizza was the only pizza I'd order from there.)
posted by rewil at 3:27 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


For me, Papa Gino's probably holds the same nostalgia niche. Once upon a time, I remember going there to sit among the many colorful murals depicting grape harvests and wine making and spending an interminable amount of time waiting for our order's number to be read over the loudspeaker while flipping through the selections on those tabletop jukeboxes looking for Kokomo or Don't Worry, Be Happy so I'd have an excuse to beg my parents for a quarter.

Going to Pizza Hut came later when I was in middle school and I was old enough to appreciate the glory that was the lunchtime all-you-can-eat buffet.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:29 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


I only ever got to go to Pizza Hut when I was a kid doing Book-It! and I would get the free pizzas. I remember you had to wear/show this Book-It button to claim your free pizza which very quickly developed a specific Pizza Hut grease-like texture and aroma that never went away.

Same here! My mom made sure we filled out our Book-It forms to get the free pizza, and then that was our dinner every Friday night. It's how I was able to collect all the Land Before Time puppets, which I still have and are still keeping kids entertained 30 years later.
posted by kendrak at 3:31 PM on September 13 [7 favorites]


I don't miss the glory days of Pizza Hut but I too wish there was still Steak and Ale.
posted by yhbc at 3:31 PM on September 13


Yes, I've told people this same thing about Pizza Hut for years, mostly to amused disbelief. When Pizza Hut opened around where I grew up in Central PA in the 70s, it was the "nice" place where "nice" people could get pizza. Until then pizza places existed, but only ne'er-do-wells and surly teens hung out at them, and don't even get ask about the people who ran them. So "nice" people never ate pizza. (Seriously, my grandmother didn't try pizza until she had to have been well into her 60s.)

Later I moved to NYC and discovered real pizza. It folds.
posted by lagomorphius at 3:31 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


That Athens, Ohio, Pizza Hut...I really had to squint at it and then TinEye it to double-check whether it was my Pizza Hut in North County in St. Louis, the one we could walk to from my house when I got a new Book It! sticker, the one I had to call to order the occasional pizza to walk over and pick up, to work on my phone anxiety. I can imagine the chewy, almost rubbery in a good way mouthfeel of biting into a personal pan pizza with black olives. I always loved the color coordination and translucence of the red plastic cups (we had the same ones, only dull yellow, at home) and red glass candle jars and the red-brick walls (just like our house) and the red checkered tablecloth (also like we got at home) and the wrought-iron accents... I'm starting to wonder, talking this out, whether my father might have patterned some of our interior decor after Pizza Hut. Though maybe it was just the style at the time; there were definitely things about our house that always felt frozen around the 1970s.

Also magical: The way the early Book It! star stickers somehow melted into the lenticular plastic on my big Book It! button over the years and became one with it. This one! (Though I later had one like the one on the right in this picture too.) Did anyone else have that happen?

Anyway, I ate at a Pizza Hut that was still like this along the highway in Arkansas back in 2013. It was the last decent place to stop before miles and miles of construction on the interstate. I wonder whether it's still there.
posted by limeonaire at 3:34 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Similar experience, though somewhat less intense. We went closer to the tail end of the glory days around '92. One of my older friends worked thete and gave us tons of extra toppings.

I also recall on at least one occasion seeing the WPIX film critic Jeffrey Lions at a neighboring table.
posted by All Out of Lulz at 3:40 PM on September 13


Pizza Hut was always that mediocre place you went to when there was no other option, for me. But then again I also grew up being a regular at Tower of Pizza in New Orleans, which was an authentic Dimly-Lit Italian Family Joint.
posted by egypturnash at 3:40 PM on September 13


Were you from Arlington, VA, LobsterMitten, or was this one of the many (too many) Lee Highways elsewhere?
posted by tavella at 3:44 PM on September 13


I can almost feel the bumpiness of those red plastic cups under my fingertips. We would also go to Pizza Hut for a "nice-ish" dinner out. I don't think I've been in one since I was in high school in the late 90s, but I do occasionally order delivery pizza from them.
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:44 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


And since we're shouting out our childhood pizza spots, mines were: Lorenzo and Sons II (late night), La Fourno (they would sell slices in the afternoons), and Sarcone's Bakery (only on weekends)...aww damn Pizza Hut has got me all nostalgic for growing up in South Philly.
posted by nikoniko at 3:52 PM on September 13


>it was really hard to beat Pizza Hut in the 80’s and early 90’s for taste and quality.

I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. "Gimme five bees for a quarter," you'd say.

Seriously, is it such a long time ago that you can say anything about it now? Pizza hut is, was, and will always be franchise pizza, a big step down from any local family-owned pizza dive.

I had birthdays at Howard Johnson's 'cause we belonged to their Birthday Club, and I liked it because it's fun to go anywhere when you're a kid, but it was NOT 'hard to beat for taste and quality', nor would I say so for fear of being struck by lightning.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 3:53 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


Pizza Hut was definitely a special treat in my small town for my small family. It always baffled me that my older half sister (who did not live with us) thought Domino's was better. I definitely have fond memories, and also I definitely remember thinking the Pizza Hut we would occasionally grab lunch at in college felt a lot different. I always chalked that up to where I was in my life, not where Pizza Hut was in its. I'm still not sure I was wrong.
posted by solotoro at 4:03 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Shepherd, funny you should mention Mother's. I didn't grow up with them but my wife did and when the brand was recently bought and several restaurants opened locally we had to go. It was weird experience – halfway old timey restaurant mixed with modern restaurant trappings like TVs all over the place. The pizza was acceptable pizza parlour style and kids eat free on the day we went so my complaints were minimal. Other than TVs, which are the worst.

This criticism is pretty misleading. Like your wife, I did grow up with Mother's; indeed, it was almost certainly the first pizza I ever tasted. To be fair, the TVs (at least in the half-dozen times I have been since it was raised from the dead) are not running sports highlights or anything. They are running DVDs of silent movies. Mother's, in its first incarnation, had 16 mm film projectors running all the time, with Laurel and Hardy and Keystone Kops shorts playing continuously on a small screen visible from here and there. I cannot fault them for updating the technology.

The pizza was pretty decent in my experience, but as I say, for me Mother's Pizza circa 1974 is the perfect form of which all other pizzas are merely shadows on the cave wall.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:04 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


We went to Pizza Hut a few times a month when I was growing up, same time period as the author. Sometimes for Book-It, a program whose existence seems ludicrous now, given the size (heh) of the childhood obesity epidemic. (And yet they are still around!) Mostly, though, it was if my mom was working on a weekend and my dad had to be in charge of feeding us. I do not recall their pizza fondly, but I do remember that it was some quality time with my dad. Something about that low lighting and red polyester curtain material made him just tell story after story about his childhood. So thank you, Pizza Hut, for helping a stoic man who was taken away from his family at age 5, open up to his own kids.
posted by basalganglia at 4:13 PM on September 13 [7 favorites]


for me the equivalent was Numero Uno pizza, where i forced my body to get over its milk allergy as a kid by repeatedly subjecting it to an assault of gloppy, great cheese.
posted by wibari at 4:16 PM on September 13


I grew up in a smallish Texas college town that had very few chain sit-down restaurants in the 80s, and as an adult I can totally appreciate how great that was (and there was a local sit-down pizza place that had the flickering-candle ambience AND amazing thin crust that I still crave 25+ years after eating my last piece; even as a little kid I generally opted for this place if we were going out for pizza and refused to order anything else for delivery) and how good our local restaurants were but our local restaurants held zero pop culture connection, and Pizza Hut was in songs and commercials and other cities. So it felt very important and fancy to go there as a little hick kid.

And then once we were teenage goths longing for some rainy big-city misery but all we had were cars and a little bit of money, we could go to the Hut and have some kind of dim ambience and free refills on soda and sort of pretend we might be in another Pizza Hut some other place, somewhere better. We didn't do it often, most of the time we hung out at Hardee's, but every now and then it was just the thing.

(And then I was in London during my junior year and saw Pizza Hut in the harsh light of day, so to speak. We'd moved on to a place that was more like Chili's by then anyway. Still miss that place's burgers.)

I have a monthly lunch date with friends where we go to chain restaurants, and now I'm sad there's no old-school-style Pizza Huts anymore (looks like they tried the Pizza Hut Italian Bistro concept in the mid 00s but it didn't last). We do a lot of reminiscing at these lunches, and I still miss the shit out of Bennigan's. And yes, Steak and Ale.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:29 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Pizza. Hut. Ice.

My friends and I would often share our wonderful memories of the crunchy ice pellets and rhapsodize about "Pizza Hut Ice" over the years. Then, about 5 years ago, we decided to go to the run-down old Pizza Hut in town to check out the ice situation. After being seated and given menus, the waitress returned to our table to take our orders. We said, "we'll take 4 sodas, but we need a little more time on the food order". Everything hinged upon the ice. I have to report that we did not enjoy any deep dish pizza that night. We didn't even finish our sodas, our disappointment was so great....no crushed ice pellets.

We paid for our sodas and left, filled only with disappointment.
posted by JennyJupiter at 4:33 PM on September 13 [9 favorites]


Only pizza joint in the town I grew up in back in the 70s. Memories include pepsi in the red plastic cups and awesome play mats with little mazes and word searches.

Don't get me started on the first time I had taco bell. How the hell do you hold one of these bendy things?
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 4:34 PM on September 13


Pizza Hut was cool when I was a kid in the Seventies because that's where teenagers went on dates and we were all fascinated with whatever the older kids were doing.

Plus any time we got to go in and sit down to eat in anyplace popular with other kids was a huge treat. My dad was a big believer in sending mom to pick up takeout from Burger Chef with a coupon, never Burger King (I had severe "crown envy" of the neighbor kids for years) and "no you can't get a drink, we have pop at home." Fuckin' RC Cola.

The only time we ever ate at a sit-down restaurant was when my grandparents took us to the Chinese place or Perkins Pancakes after church (admittedly my two favorite places at the time, but definitely lacking in coolness points.) I'm sure I never saw the inside of a Pizza Hut until after my parents divorced when I was ten.

I remember liking the pizza, and we did have a couple of really good pizza places nearby so it wasn't that (I still fantasize about Big Lex Pizza.... you never forget your first.) The Pizza Hut pizza was tasty though. I loved having a whole pitcher of soda, and even though I wasn't a big salad person as a kid I did like the salad bar a lot... it was pretty novel at the time. I remember they had cold green peas on the salad bar which I had never seen before but loved as soon as I tried it.

I don't remember playing video games in there... maybe they didn't have them in the late 70s? But I do remember popping quarters into the jukebox, I didn't have money to buy records so it was a real treat to get to choose what I wanted to hear.

I don't think I got to go there more than a handful of times growing up, but I do remember it fondly as being a special thing we got to do.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:35 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


iirc, it was Pizza Hut who brought the pie to a mass market, back in the first place., in the 50s(?).......I think it was hard to get people to accept it, in fact. It seems hard to imagine now, but people in America didn't even know what pizza was.
posted by thelonius at 4:35 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Pizza Hut is the last place I can remember seeing cigarette vending machines, even a few years after they disappeared everywhere else.
posted by dephlogisticated at 4:37 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


The last time I ate at a Pizza Hut was in the mid-'90s; the one in Kingston, Ontario had an AYCE night, and two or three times I went there with a large group of guys, divided ourselves into two teams, schoolyard-style, and then had a competition to see which team could collectively eat the most slices (the losing team had to pay for the winning team). It was the sort of grotesque abuse to one's self you can only get away with when you're under the age of 25, and even then, just.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:38 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


In my hometown in the 70s we had a Pizza Hut, and there was also at least one locally owned family pizza joint. There were definitely kids that preferred the pizza hut, and I'm sure it was better for them. However, at Veano's you could get an ENTIRE PITCHER OF ROOT BEER.

Nothing beat that in my child mind.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:38 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


I question the premise...

That said, for a while in college, I worked for Pizza Inn. Compared to Pizza Inn, Pizza Hut could indeed be considered a magical experience.
posted by Naberius at 4:43 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Pizza Inn was a family staple growing up! We'd go and my mother would sit eating nothing until they brought out one of the three pizzas she ate, which all had lettuce on them, while my dad got increasingly frustrated with her refusal to request the pizzas she wanted. It was one of the first time I noticed that, while their relationship is good, he's pretty bad at talking to her. Good time! Terrible pizzas. Passable dessert pizza.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:47 PM on September 13


Seriously, is it such a long time ago that you can say anything about it now? Pizza hut is, was, and will always be franchise pizza, a big step down from any local family-owned pizza dive.

No. I live in a Rhode Island seaside town with four of them, and we still order Papa Gino's from one town over, so, no. What Pizza Hut did was take "greek style" pizza aka pan pizza, and make it consistently pleasant no matter where you had it. This is the mythical "Boston Style" pizza - the leavened dough is left to rise in a well-oiled pan in a warm kitchen, so you get a crisp-on-the-outside, chewy, bready crust.

Done perfectly, it's heaven in a slice, tho you tend to need to be in New England near a community with a large ethnic-Greek presence. Try a white pizza with clams from a decent Greek-owned pizzaria, and wow. Its garlic butter and clams (sometimes pickled artichoke hearts) on a greek-style pizza crust.

Done with little skill or interest, pan pizza is a doughy, greasy, sodden mess.

Pizza Hut had Mystery Meat toppings, true, but legit fresh veggie options, the cheese mix was passable, and the pan pizza crust was always acceptable. Not ethereally good, but always appetizing, and the crisp crust bottom was usually still good the next morning when it was time for nice cold pizza breakfast from the leftovers (thanks to the more-than-frequent 2-for-1 coupon deals).

Plus you could get tanked on unlimited Mountain Dew refills.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:49 PM on September 13 [8 favorites]


Little Caesars has changed so much more than Pizza Hut over the years. Little Caesars had tables with real cloth tablecloths, Laurel & Hardy movies, windows through which you could watch pizzas being made while you were in line, by actual people who would flip up the dough. Now it is a technological marvel that somehow makes infinite half-day-old pizza for you immediately.
posted by user92371 at 4:51 PM on September 13 [8 favorites]


As much as I dislike Pizza Hut now, I loved it as a kid in elementary school. My school used to have half-days about once every couple months, and my dad would always take me and a couple friends out to the Pizza Hut buffet for lunch, and it was glorious.
posted by noneuclidean at 4:51 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


This was my experience of Pizza Hut in the 80s as well. It felt like a restaurant, at least what constituted my knowledge of restaurants as a child in the rural south. My first job was at a mom-and-pop pizza restaurant just down the street that borrowed heavily from this curtains/candles/stained-glass lamps of PH. Fast forward to high school: my school was blessed with an open campus, so for lunch we'd pile in my friend's car and go to PH for the personal pan pizza. $5 got your own little pizza and I believe a salad. My friend Mike would pile the Parmesean cheese so high it would be almost as thick a layer as the pizza. Good times.
posted by zardoz at 5:08 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Oh my God someone else remembers the Land Before Time Pizza Hut commercial?!? That has haunted my sibling and I for YEARS, we remembered it so vividly from our worn down VHS tapes but everyone said we were crazy oh man oh man I love you MetaFilter.
posted by hapaxes.legomenon at 5:21 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


Fizz: "My very first experience with video games was through Pizza Hut. A table top Ms. Pac-Man. My parents would order our pizza and then that eternal wait."

Later it was Ms. Pac-Man, but at first we had Missile Command. And a jukebox!
posted by Chrysostom at 5:26 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Pizza hut is, was, and will always be franchise pizza, a big step down from any local family-owned pizza dive.

I don't have the refined tastes of the Mefites who live in Manhattan. As a kid in rural MN, the local pizza places sucked, with thin crust and greasy cheese. Pizza Hut was where we had our annual hockey banquet, and the nice thick crust, and (relatively) fancified furnishings gave it a "living it up" feel. Especially as I grew up the sort of poor that we only got McDonalds for special occasions. I always looked forward to Pizza Hut night, and since my siblings also played hockey, we got to go three times in one week. That was living large, my friends, let me tell you.

As I got into high school in the late 80s, Godfathers opened up. It was superior to Pizza Hut, though less fancy. My roomate in the early 90s worked at Little Seizures, and he kept us in so much of their pie, I didn't take my dates to Godfather's or Pizza Hut anymore.

The quality of PH has diminished over time, I think. I believe it is the lower margins that good competition brings. It's a shame, but so it went for Ozymandius, too.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:28 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


We had a Pizza Hut in our little town too, and though I have fond memories of it (and the pitchers of pop), it was more of a treat to go to Shakey's

For some reason (probably because I didn't get much exposure to it), I never really liked pizza when I was little, though I'm making up for lost time now.

Our special occasion restaurant - in a place with not many restaurants in the 80s - was ALWAYS Perkins. I don't know what I loved about it more when I was a kid - the chocolate chip pancakes or the wishing well where you could pick out a free toy.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:53 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


... but Turbid, you have Pizza Capers... I love that place - solid pizza... (OMG... blue cheese and garlic on pizza bread...)...

Hmmm - I had been a few times as a kid, but for beggin for dinner out (which was extremely rare), my favourite nostalga joint was Ponderosa... (with the most horrible fake bacon bits evar...)

And, while madcaptenor posted the direct link to photos of "Used-to-be-a-Pizza-Hut", we had a discussion on MeFi too...
posted by jkaczor at 5:58 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Mother's, in its first incarnation, had 16 mm film projectors running all the time, with Laurel and Hardy and Keystone Kops shorts playing continuously on a small screen visible from here and there.

Ah! That explains it. The ones locally have tvs in the bar playing the usual kinds of things. Which is fine. Nothing against Mother's I just hate tvs in restaurants. I don't eat in front of tv at home so why would I pay to do it elsewhere?
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:02 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Oh... and while we would very rarely have dinner out... breakfast was another story entirely... Smitty's was our go-to...
posted by jkaczor at 6:03 PM on September 13


I understand the nostalgia, as it's how I tend to feel about Shakey's, America's original franchise pizza chain, which somehow improbably survives, albeit mostly in California and overseas. Named after a co-founder who got the nickname from malaria contracted during World War II, who used to feature live music in his pizza parlors. It became less of a big thing for me after moving to Chicago and experiencing vastly superior independent pizza restaurants, but it sure was the shiznit back in the day. I also have quite a bit of fondness from my college days for Garcia's, which was big in the Midwest in the eighties and may be making a comeback.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:03 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


This really reminds me of our discussion of "fern bars". This similarly highlights changes in how Americans dine out and how restaurants have adapted.
posted by chrchr at 6:10 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


I too wish there was still Steak and Ale

The employees called it Ache and Stale.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 6:12 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Wow, nostalgia. My mother briefly worked as a real estate agent and whenever she was flush on commissions we would go to Mother's. This article brought that all back.

We just decluttered the last two Mother's glasses from her house this spring.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:12 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


... but Turbid, you have Pizza Capers... I love that place - solid pizza... (OMG... blue cheese and garlic on pizza bread...)...

Yes, Pizza Capers do a decent pizza though to be honest some of their topping combos are a little wacky and don't always work. The smoke cured pepperoni and seafood Barcelona are pretty great but vastly overpriced for their size, and Pizza Capers stores are shutting down left right and center, same thing that happened to Hell Pizza.

Hell and Pizza Capers and Crust are in the weird middle ground between chain pizza (PH, Dominos, Eagle Boys), luxury hipster "authentic taste of whole basil leaves and two surly knobs of mozzarella" pizza, and good local pizzeria pizza (e.g. Pizzaland and Big Pappa). They've carved out a niche but it quickly became oversaturated, and they all expanded too quickly, and set themselves up in let's say "demographically inaccurate" locations.

For twenty Ozbucks you can get one midget pizza from Pizza Capers etc., or you can get as many as four large (but rubbish) pizzas from Domino's, or you can get one big and topping-loaded pizza from a friendly local pizzeria (who, I will admit, usually skimp on the cheese). Hunger or loyalty always win out over experimentation.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:19 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


I have so many good memories of Pizza Hut. My family didn't have a lot of money growing up, but we'd occasionally go to Pizza Hut, and it's burned into my brain. I live in LA now, and every once in awhile we drive past a place that used to be a sit-down Pizza Hut converted to a Chinese Buffet, or one that looks like it is, but it is just a lying, lying delivery joint in a bigger building. Conversation with my wife goes something like this:

"That was a sit-down pizza hut."

"I know."

"I miss it! There used to be candles and breadsticks."

"I know."

"We used to get Super Supreme pizza, and they always had Pac-man. Also, red curtains. It was an experience."

"I know."

"Okay then. Just so you know, I miss sit-down Pizza Hut."
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:21 PM on September 13 [18 favorites]


Further: Pizza Capers, Crust or Hell are what you order when you're in Toorak or Leichhardt and somebody says "let's order pizza" because it's cheat night and pizza delivery is naughty.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:23 PM on September 13


Ah! That explains it. The ones locally have tvs in the bar playing the usual kinds of things.

I think the one in the bar at the local Mother's may have a TV tuned to CNN or CP24 or something, but the ones in the restaurant proper are running old black-and-white movies whoever I have been in. One is the 1940 Laurel and Hardy flick A Chump at Oxford which I always keep an eye on to see if I can spot a twentysomething Peter Cushing. No luck so far.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:02 PM on September 13


Unlike the pizzaristocracy here who apparently grew up on dry land where pizza is possible, I had to swim for weeks to get to the Pizza Raft on my watery planet. "The only pizza oven you'll ever know!"

They had those nostalgic red plastic cups. I remember my little brother got stuck in one, we had to bash open the other side and yank him out by the fin. On the first go we yanked his fin right off and left the rest of him in the cup!

I guess that made him less of a meal for the shark that got him later that month. Ha!

I remember that buttery, spongey crust well. It was exciting! Dad would hunch over the table and suck down slice after slice and suddenly lurch up, crease his head on "that goddamn chintzy light" and sit back down in a daze. Happened every time we went to The Raft. That sucker!

Maybe we didn't have video games but there was a tablecloth dammit! How many of you dry-landers laundered money for the mob with every slice you ate at the Italian Delights of solid ground? The crust of human misery, crispy and delightful. Racketeers!

Countess Elena, as of twenty years ago, Cairo Pizza Hut is outstanding. I think I went to one near Tahrir Square, not Giza. There's also a really good KFC run by the hearing impaired. Apparently there's one in Malaysia too. The silence is transcendent.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:06 PM on September 13 [6 favorites]


I can remember the specific arcade titles at our local Pizza Hut. Rush'n Attack, the Arch Rivals, and finally the Aliens arcade game.

I loved the red cups. I loved the greasy yet crisp deep dish pizza. I loved pounding on the Parmesan and adding just a shake of chili flakes. Sometimes we went as a family, but it was also the go-to destination for end of the season parties for my youth basketball teams.

Every once in a while I'll try getting an order from Pizza Hut. It's always a disappointment.
posted by thecjm at 7:12 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Born in mid 70s and grew up in the Northern panhandle of West Virginia so Pizza Hut really was a treat as others have mentioned. Hell I remember my high school girlfriend suggesting Pizza Hut as the place to eat before a homecoming dance. The local pizza growing up was a micro regional chain of square slice joints called DiCarlo's. While it was good (and it is a distinct pizza style) it was the restaurant experience that Pizza Hut was selling.

My last Pizza Hut experience was about 10+ years ago when we were hiking and traveling through Great Smokey National Park from the south to north. We were starving and pizza spoke to us and Pizza Hut was what we could find. After a long hard day of hiking I can tell you that it tasted delicious.
posted by mmascolino at 7:14 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Those photos just hit me with the biggest dose of childhood nostalgia since Stranger Things. Growing up in Seattle, the Pizza Hut near my grade school was a setting for birthdays, second-grade soccer team parties, and feeding the Boy Scout troop after returning from backpacking trips. I remember kids clustered around the soda machine making graveyards. (In college I found out students from other cities called them "suicides.") I remember the personal pan pizzas from Book-It. I remember the dessert pizza, which my friends loved but I always found a bit disgusting.

By the mid-90s it was easy to find better-quality pizza (largely thanks to the spread of local chain Pagliacci Pizza). Pizza Hut moved down-market and mostly ran delivery/take-out counters. I still loved the greasy crust on their pan pizza, and enjoyed it just as much as the wood-oven thin-crust pizzas from the fancier places.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:17 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


We never went to Pizza Hut. It cost too much for us. When other families at our church would every so often go together after Sunday services, my aunt would stammer out some excuse as to why we had to go home, and she'd be sore about it for the rest of the day. My area was too poor for fast casual restaurants, and one would have to drive to even get to a diner. There were no sit-down places for miles where we lived that wasn't a McDonald's or Church's or KFC. Even the closest George Webb to us was near Miller Brewery, about 5 miles away.

I remember Rocky Rococo's pizza from school field trips. I reckon that was the local equivalent. For some reason we never went to Pizza Hut, though I remember the commercials ("Let yourself go... to Pizza Hut!"). And on the rare occasions in my teens when finally there was a buck or two to go out to dinner, we went to the Sweden House smorgasbord, or to the Pig 'N' Whistle on E. Capitol Drive where the city meets Shorewood. It sounds like Pizza Hut was really good back in the day, though!
posted by droplet at 7:29 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


"Seriously, is it such a long time ago that you can say anything about it now? Pizza hut is, was, and will always be franchise pizza, a big step down from any local family-owned pizza dive."

I never considered it a step down. It's a step over. Pizza Hut pizza is its own thing. Nothing tastes like it. If you don't like it, that's cool, but liking one does;t mean you have to dislike the other. It's like comparing Pringles to regular potato chips.

That ice was fantastic (the last time I was in a PH, it was just normal ice). If I was rich, I'd buy myself an Opal Nugget Ice Maker:
posted by jonathanhughes at 7:39 PM on September 13 [12 favorites]


Fun fact: My first million-dollar contract at a startup I joined in 1994 was specifically with Tricon Global Restaurants, which is commonly known now as Yum! Brands. They hired me and my high school friends to translate and standardize global training and safety modules for all Pizza Huts, KFCs and Taco Bells operating overseas.

Anyway, I digitized all their stuff and wrote all the copy for their remote employee training programs, which were then translated into 98 languages in 120 countries. Part of this job meant taking all their laminated employee training cards in Reader's Digest-sized text and turning them into a test shipped on a CD-ROM.

Shout out to any MeFites who know and remember KFC's Star Cards from back in the day. That black one though.

I know a LOT about how standardized Pizza Hut food prep is globally, but I won't lie. The best part about that weird one-off gig was perusing all the local-specific recipe variations.

Remember, this was long ago enough in the Internet Before Now Times when it wasn't 100% walled garden. It would be easily a decade before I could head over to Serious Eats or what-have-you to get my "international chain food non-standard recipe" voyeurism on.

Looking up some stuff to see what I remembered, I came across some of their very dated internal branding so plz enjoy all this chambray.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:40 PM on September 13 [11 favorites]


Countess Elena, as of twenty years ago, Cairo Pizza Hut is outstanding. I think I went to one near Tahrir Square, not Giza. There's also a really good KFC run by the hearing impaired.

I'm glad they're good! I learned about both these things in the same way -- from the Egypt episode of Karl Pilkington's An Idiot Abroad. Usually I enjoyed that show, but that whole trip was wasted on him, ugh, I got so mad.

Anyway, I am interested to learn from this thread that the Boston pizza crust, or Greek crust, is actually a thing that other people have described and liked. When living in Massachusetts, I have always noticed that there is a place in any given municipality called "Town's-Name House of Pizza," run by Greeks, and selling this kind of pizza, together with subs, basic Italian food and a few Greek items. I love this pizza, but I never found anyone else who stood up for it.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:44 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


You know, I'd like to apologize for something in my comment above. Something didn't seem right to me, like I had learned something in the 20 years since I visited that KFC in Cairo. I guess I had, and it hadn't really stuck.

I made a grievous error in not using people-first language to describe the employees at the KFC. By calling them "the hearing impaired" I think I made two big mistakes. I skipped their human-ness entirely by not referring to them as people, and I put what they cannot do in the foreground, which is distracting and insulting.

I'm not writing this to be proud of myself for apologizing, or for learning. I will still be ashamed for screwing up. I hope I didn't hurt or anger anyone.

Mostly I'm sorry for giving in to a habit of thinking that I meant to kick. I can't ask you to be patient with me. I can only say I made a big error.

It would have been better to say "a KFC run by deaf people," but I didn't, and I'm sorry.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:46 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Aw, this article took me right back to going to Pizza Hut when I was a kid. Pretty much right up through junior high, Pizza Huts were just the way the author described them.
posted by sarcasticah at 8:31 PM on September 13


Man, now i'm in the mood for some Pizza Hut
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:57 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Any fond memories I had of Pizza Hut as a kid were overwritten by memories of working at a Pizza Hut in my early twenties. Nothing kills nostalgia for chain restaurants like working for one. The distinct smell of preservatives and grease and sugar that seeped into my clothes and shoes...it was a long time before I could eat Pizza Hut pizza again. I even ate Papa John's pizza instead, it was THAT BAD.

I do have fond memories of a couple McDonalds in Springfield, MO growing up. They were curiously, uniquely styled: one had a trains-and-railways theme where the booth seats were made of crates, and old train parts, crossing lights and memorabilia covered the walls; the other had intricately carved wooden booths with ornate Gothic murals of fairy tale scenes. Both of those were amazing special treat destinations -- but sometimes I'm not 100% sure they really existed, because McDonald's are all so incredibly uniform and boring now, it seems unreal that quirky distinctions like that could have ever existed.

So...if you ever lived in Springfield, MO in the mid-80s and remember these two McDonaldses, let me know, so that I'll be reassured that I'm not imagining them, along with Colonel Days' Levis Emporium.
posted by daisystomper at 8:59 PM on September 13


Ah, the old days of pizza parlors. I miss those. I remember making a delivery to one of the last Godfather's Pizza locations here in town, and just taking a minute to take the atmosphere in. Plush carpeting, high backed booths, stained glass hanging lights over the tables... this used to be the norm at pizza places. I remember the quirkiness of Shakey's and all of the "Ye Olde Notice" signs all over the place. And no pizza joint worth its cheese had less than three video games to choose from.
posted by azpenguin at 9:10 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


I remember going to Pizza Hut for special occasions, like the end of softball season, or end of school year parties. Dim lighting, banquettes, and video games - good times.

In the mid-80s, I went to the USSR with a tour group over winter break. Somehow, we ended up at a Pizza Hut in Moscow. It was terrible.

Now I live in LA, and I drive past the Shakey's at Fairfax and Olympic almost every day. I just went down the rabbit hole on the Wikipedia entry and it's fascinating stuff.
posted by mogget at 9:25 PM on September 13


daisystomper, I can confirm that my local McDonald's in the early 80s had a heavy medieval vibe with faux stained glass and suits of armor and stuff.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:25 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


One of the more surreal experiences in my life was going to a Pizza Hut about 15 years ago in a shopping mall in mainland China and discovering it was an upscale restaurant with escargot on the menu. I know that American fast food chains are, or were, considered somewhat upscale in many Asian countries thanks to basic quality control and clean dining areas. But this was a couple steps up from that.

I forget what I ordered or if pizza was even on the menu.
posted by bunbury at 9:58 PM on September 13


Growing up, all pizza we had was the frozen kind (and the store-brand kind) which was mostly an occasional treat. Around the early to mid 90s we started having malls with food courts - most until then were shopping galleries with maybe a coffee shop or two, and that's when pizza hut appears around these places (there were pizza places, but were more like regular restaurants and my parents were never that fond of eating out).
It was a completely different thing - the crust had not hard as week-old bread, the toppings were equally balanced and it was far tastier and cheaper than the alternatives (frozen and restaurants)
After a while, I stopped going there because they started overdoing with the grease, some locations started having just one pizza ready to go at any given moment that was not peak hour (and if you didn't like it, well, tough).

These days, most supermarkets have "fresh" pizza, which is better than frozen and still cheaper than a pizza place (plus, I have like 4 different places to choose from in walking distance). It's not as nice as, say a place downtown that makes actually good pizza on the spot and I'd eat there every week of I could, but the quality/price ratio beats pizza hut, and I've on occasion modified them on the go with extra herbs (provencal on 4 cheese pizza works great for me) or additional toppings.

But in general, I don't remember pizza hut as a food place as much as the people I went there with. When we were in school it was the only place we could actually afford going (other than McDonalds), so a few of my memories from high school were spent there.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:14 PM on September 13


I went to Liverpool last year for three days and came down with a terrible flu. The hotel food was overpriced, so I bit the bullet and walked a block, shivering in the cold with fever, to a Domino's Pizza.

Guys? Domino's is way better in the UK. Surprise, right?

Any fond memories I had of Pizza Hut as a kid were overwritten by memories of working at a Pizza Hut in my early twenties.

Had a buddy who worked at a Pizza Hut, and he put me off the place for a while when he mentioned the "food release" (cheap soybean oil) procedures.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:16 PM on September 13


A visit to the Pizza Hut - in Townsville (basically Nowheresville, QLD) in the 80s and 90s - was a treat to be anticipated and savored. The pitchers of soft drink (lemonade or lemon squash) and the heavy pizza pans brought to the table. The smells. The booths. All excellent. And the pizza was actually pretty good!

OMFG THAT'S MY PIZZA HUT

We moved to Townsville at the start of '84 and I lived there until '96, which doesn't sound like a long time except it was a chunk of primary school, all of high school, uni, getting married, and my first real job. It was literally where I grew up.

But it also means we were there from Pizza Hut's golden age in Australia (which probably started a few years before when they started handing out 3D glasses to tie in with 3D broadcasts on TV) until its decline, when Eagle Boys, Dominos and their ilk came on to the scene.

I probably didn't go to that Pizza Hut more than a handful of times because it cost an absolute fucking fortune, and my parents had a mortgage with a 17 per cent interest rate, but Christ, the feels when I remember what it was like. It was magical. It was everything the guy in the article said it was. The jugs. The ice. The salad bar. The lights. The curtains. the gigantic family pizzas with the oily pan crust. The gingerbread men! (Did they have those in the US?)

You got dressed up like you were going to church. It was a bigger deal than Kentucky Fried Chicken, and that was a big fucking once-a-year-maybe deal. It meant that my parents weren't fighting, for starters. It meant they weren't wondering how to pay a bill. It meant there was something big to celebrate.

I guess I can see how if you grew up in a big city in the US and had a different pizza chain on every corner you might be a bit jaded but this was very literally all we had, and it was magnificent, and shut up I'm not crying you're crying
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:24 PM on September 13 [14 favorites]


(turbid - if you click diagonally across the intersection towards Woolies (which used to be Philip Leong's, which was where my wife worked as a teenager - the mother of my sons, dammit) so you're sort of on Ackers St you instantly jump back in time from October 2016 to November 2007. I speculate that if we click enough in just the right places we'll end up in 1987, and we can have pizza.)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:34 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Pizza Hut is pretty common in China. I always remember their pizza being shitty, but it is a special kind of shitty here. Really bland cheese. Price wise it is a normal mid-range restaurant.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:15 AM on September 14


I could sort of feel the 1980s and 1990s running through this.

First, is the heat of a Southern summer. Then, the clear telephone my mother bought for our kitchen, with its colorful mass of wires. My cousin calling me to come over for a sleepover. But first was Pizza Hut. My cousin was so excited -- to him, it was the only pizza in the world. And it had to be pan, because everything else was "tomato sauce on a saltine."

We'd order, and maybe play Samurai Showdown while we waited. Then the pizza came, with that huge pitcher of soda. Pizza, drink, pizza drink. Maybe even put a little of the red pepper flakes on my pizza. I yearn for those -- I don't think I can find them here.

Then it was back to my aunt's house for a movie and video games. Maybe Final Fantasy IV (which was Final Fantasy 2 back in those days), or Metroid on SNES. My aunt would hustle and bustle in and out of the kitchen, my uncle would read newspapers on the ancient pink couch.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 4:28 AM on September 14 [6 favorites]


I had largely the same experience as the author (except Book-It!), but for those of you complaining about quality: My brother worked at a Pizza Hut in high school. His pizza is some of the best I've ever had. So cheesy, loaded with toppings, crust perfectly golden. It's not that Pizza Hut is incapable of making good pizza; they are, because my brother did. It's that they cut corners because they don't care. I have a standing order to my wife. Amy time I suggest eating at Pizza Hut, she should say "Tim doesn't work there anymore", and that will relieve me of my Pizza Hut craving.

Leaving out Book-It seems like a major oversight. I'm not sure I actually paid for a Pizza Hut pizza until I was in college. Our family's experience was the opposite of the author in that respect. Pizza Hut was where we'd go to save money, because I read so much that I had virtually unlimited free pizza coupons. It was masterful conditioning, but I'm not sure which way it worked. Did I love reading because it meant free pizza? Or did I love pizza because it was associated with reading? Either way, you can still pretty much sum up my life as a 37- year-old man as pizza and books.

On the topic of nice-looking fast food dining rooms, though, I really miss the Wendy's look with the Tiffany lamps and fake-newsprint tables.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:14 AM on September 14 [8 favorites]


Pizza hut is, was, and will always be franchise pizza, a big step down from any local family-owned pizza dive.

Is it really that hard to remember that one's experience is not everyone's experience? Is it really that hard to fathom that some people grew up in towns that literally didn't have local family-owned pizza dives?

I really hate the MeFi tradition of assuming that everyone is from a big city or a progressive smaller town.
posted by cooker girl at 6:20 AM on September 14 [10 favorites]


Where I'm from, Pizza Hut was top tier. I remember going there on special occasions, taking my generic Walkman with Vanilla Ice cassette (seriously) and playing Road Riot.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:58 AM on September 14


Pizza hut is, was, and will always be franchise pizza, a big step down from any local family-owned pizza dive.

I'm not saying Pizza Hut is good pizza, but I think you may not have plumbed the depths of bad local family-owned pizza dive pizza. I have had quite a few that were a step down from store-brand frozen pizza.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:19 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


Arriving late to the thread with my own anecdotes...

I remember my 10th birthday because my parents took me and a few friends to Pizza Hut. There was one location in my town that had an arcade room with 6 or 8 games. My parents gave us each a couple bucks worth of quarters!!! That was very special because my parents had a dim view of video games being a waste of time and money.

The thing that killed it as a destination for us was when they got a drive thru window. My parents would order pizza and we would drive over, pick it up and take it home. Always Pan. Always Pepperoni, Sausage and Mushroom.

I don't think I've been inside a Pizza Hut in 30 years. Bam, right in the nostalgia.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:22 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Such a nice memory. Also, I do love the sort-of fact that before the latest kale craze, Pizza Hut was the largest purchaser of kale in the U.S. because they used it to decorate those beautiful salad bars of theirs.
posted by knownassociate at 7:37 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


This of course reminds me of one of my most vivid dreams (nightmare?). In this dream I was in a modern Pizza Hut, but as I left through the exit, I found myself not stepping outside, but instead walking a Pizza Hut that was a few years older. Repeating this process a few times brought me to the Pizza Huts of the vintage described in this article, which would have been the ones of my own youth. However, it didn't stop there, as in my attempt to get out, I went past the Pizza Huts of the 80s and into Pizza Huts from before I was born, Pizza Hut layouts that I couldn't have possibly seen but confirmed to be accurate by frantic image searching online the next morning. Prior to this, I had never researched the architectural history of the franchise in the 70s and 60s, so I have no idea how my brain produced that imagery.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:53 AM on September 14 [6 favorites]


so I have no idea how my brain produced that imagery

it is nothing. indigestion.

*talks into shirt cuff*
maintenance, we have a malfunctioning unit in thread 169390; please arrange for immediate pick-up and reconditioning
posted by entropicamericana at 8:11 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]


I still can't bring myself to darken the door of a Pizza Hut again, but after this thread I'm going to break out the cast-iron and make pan pizzas at home this weekend.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:18 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Huh... I didn't grow up in a big city, but I guess there were enough Italian people around my neck of the woods (sort of halfway between Philly and Baltimore) that even as a kid, I recognized that national chain pizza was a step down from our local shops. Particularly a regional chain called Pat's that's specific to New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, which was always one of my favorites growing up. That was eclipsed by smaller restaurants (I remember one called Mustang) that we'd visit in the comparatively population dense Baltimore suburbs where my grandparents lived.

We didn't really eat out at restaurants that often (although we'd get take out once a week), so I only have one memory of Pizza Hut as a kid, and mostly just remember the central circular fire place. Most fond pizza memories were of either cooking it at home, or getting delivery. I especially remember having an air conditioner for the first time when I was like 10, and my parents ordered pizza, and everyone gathered in the one room with the window unit, enjoying conditioned air, TV, and pizza.

More of my 'destination' pizza memories come from college, including Pizza Hut. They did a promotion for a while with an all you can eat buffet on Fridays, and my friends and I would enthusiastically partake. We also used to make small road trips to the next biggest town for Ceci's, which is a similar all you can eat deal daily (with some of the worst pizza ever). There's another regional chain called Jerry's, which boasted the ABSOLUTE worst pizza I've ever had (like cardboard with sauce and grease), but which we'd go to on Mondays because they had a 2 for 1 deal and we were all cheap. Really, all of my main pizza memories tend to be me eating shitty pizza because I could eat a lot of it cheaply.
posted by codacorolla at 8:41 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Oh, and speaking of video games, Garcia's had Gauntlet, which was important to me in the short but somewhat bleak period of time between my graduation from college and my getting a permanent full-time job. The original Gauntlet had a feature whereby waiting for a certain period of time made all the walls of each level's maze turn into exits, so that you could either clear the level by shooting across them and then grabbing the loot, or, if the level were one with the fireball-shooting monsters (who could, of course, shoot across the now-permeable walls at you), just leave for a friendlier level. I'd play for hours on a single quarter, which was all I could afford.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:44 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


We'd go and my mother would sit eating nothing until they brought out one of the three pizzas she ate, which all had lettuce on them

I used to work at a delivery pizza place where we had a regular walk-in customer who wanted lettuce as a topping. Lettuce! What a country.
posted by thelonius at 8:45 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


In this dream I was in a modern Pizza Hut, but as I left through the exit, I found myself not stepping outside, but instead walking a Pizza Hut that was a few years older. Repeating this process a few times brought me to the Pizza Huts of the vintage described in this article, which would have been the ones of my own youth. However, it didn't stop there, as in my attempt to get out, I went past the Pizza Huts of the 80s and into Pizza Huts from before I was born, Pizza Hut layouts that I couldn't have possibly seen but confirmed to be accurate by frantic image searching online the next morning.

Makes me consider opening a family restaurant called "J.L. Borges"
posted by thelonius at 8:48 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


When the Pizza Hut layouts start featuring non-Euclidean geometry, definitely ask for the check.
posted by thelonius at 8:51 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Pitchers of Mich DARK and pan pizza!!
posted by shockingbluamp at 9:53 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


RE: Shakey's, there were a couple times that my grandparents took us to the one near them in Maryland in the late 1970s. My grandparents were not 'pizza parlor' types, so for them to suggest it as a destination immediately gave it Special Occasion/Adventure status. I don't remember much about the pizza but that was when they still had a live Dixieland band, complete with boater hats and striped vests (or possibly blazers or shirts.) That was unforgettable, and 100% responsible for my lifelong infatuation with the banjo in all its forms.

When I moved to L.A. in the 1990s I was excited to discover that Shakey's was still around, but quickly disappointed by the lack of live music and terrible pizza. Like, it seemed as though they were actively trying to make the worst pizza they possibly could. Pretty much all of the pizza is bad in Los Angeles, but 1990s Shakey's was easily the worst I encountered.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 10:02 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Wow--it is so amazing to hear someone else describe Pizza Hut exactly how I remember it. When I think about my mid-80's childhood dinners there a warm, relaxing memory that encapsulates all of my senses washes over me.

The only thing that was slightly off in the article was the picture of a cup. Our pizza hut had red textured plastic cups. We would get a pitcher of diet pepsi for the table, and I loved playing with the ice in my cup while waiting for our pizza to arrive. It has to be the red cup, this is important to the memory.

We occasionally went to fancier restaurants that probably had better food, but none of those are embedded in my memory the way Pizza Hut is. It is so satisfying to know that I am not the only one.
posted by insoluble uncertainty at 11:30 AM on September 14 [6 favorites]


Yes! The nubbly red cups that you refilled from the (not red) pitcher. I actually just had a brief sensory flashback to the texture as you drank from it.
posted by tavella at 12:08 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Yes, bumpy red cups, pebble ice in the drinks.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:08 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


I grew up poor as hell, and a visit to the Dairy Queen was a special treat- dinner at Pizza Hut? Oh man, that was some good livin,' right there. It was a 30 mile drive to the restaurant, and I distinctly remember that the fact that they had some sort of mystery cheese and strange pepper stuff in those little squatty shaker thingies made it some sort of fancy place.
posted by bradth27 at 12:09 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


For me, Pizza Hut was the half-hour wait to get it home, hot on our laps, impatiently waiting to eat after a long day of shopping and running errands. In high school it was waiting for Dad to pick it up on Friday nights. Meat lovers pan, in all of it's insanely greasy glory. We did Book It too, but once I stopped participating, we only did takeout, I think.

Pat's Pizza was the chain that seemed to be a step up from Pizza Hut, but we never seemed to eat there.

For "special eating out with grandparents" was Ground Round, and the endless baskets of popcorn, or the calling of the numbers!? at Papa Ginos. They were both anchoring the end of a mall that must have died a slow death once WalMart opened.

For anyone who wants to sprinkle red pepper on their pizza, Penzey's has it, and it has a the same flavor memory.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 12:19 PM on September 14


Also I remember that later on, probably the late 80s or early 90s, Pizza Hut had a dish that was a deep dish pizza shape, except instead of thick crust supporting a thin layer of cheese, it was regular crust filled with what seemed like an inch thick mix of melted cheeses (I recall that fontina was one of them), topped with fresh tomatoes. I adored them, but they didn't stay around for long and I am blanking on what they called them.
posted by tavella at 12:19 PM on September 14


Looks like a Priazzo Napoli was what I was remembering.
posted by tavella at 12:31 PM on September 14


this article just goes to show how unreliable childhood memories are.

Seriously, go to Hulu right now and watch an old episode of MacGyver or Knight Rider. Its going to be a Mandela Effect like reaction to Hulu somehow swapping out your favorite childhood show with this nonsense drivel that shares the same name.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:02 PM on September 14


Pizza Hut was my favorite restaurant as a kid (small town Minnesota). The family chains like Applebee's or TGI Friday's hadn't hit our neck of the woods yet, so this was one of the main spots for family dining in town.

We were also not able to afford it very often. As a treat, my mom would pick up my little brother and I from Grandma's house after her part-time receptionist shift, stop at Pizza Hut, and order one personal pan pizza and a large soda plus two empty kids' glasses. My brother and I each got one slice of the personal pan pizza, she had two, and split the soda between the 3 of us. Going at night with the whole family was better, but less common. What was best was if we got the big corner booth underneath a neon clock that spun too fast and said IT'S ALWAYS TIME FOR PIZZA in glowing neon letters. When I got older, the family finances stabilized and we could afford it more often. One of the first trips I did after I got a driver's license was to pick up Pizza Hut takeout and bring it home.

To this day I still sometimes order Pizza Hut if my husband isn't going to be home and I feel like some comfort food.
posted by castlebravo at 1:05 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


When the Pizza Hut layouts start featuring non-Euclidean geometry, definitely ask for the check.

Exactly. That was one strong component of the dream in question: that each of the older Pizza Huts was somehow inside the previous, even though I was trying to leave by the side exit.
posted by radwolf76 at 3:15 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I got into the lunch buffet, after many years of Hut shunning, in the late 90's, when I was working a night shift job. I'd wake up ravenous about 1 PM and nothing else would do.
posted by thelonius at 3:36 PM on September 14


Pizza Hut was (and to a certain extent, still is) a fancier place in my hometown. Which is kind of strange, because we had the very first Godfathers franchise store that made (and still makes) amazing pizza. The cool thing is that this Godfathers is stuck in time, and everything they do is grandfathered to how things were done in the late 70s. They make their own dough, shred their own cheese, bake the pizza in a classic oven, the whole bit. Something about the red pebbly plastic glasses transports me back to junior high. I don't bother with other Godfather's restaurants, even though I live close to several.

The tradition when I'm back home to visit my Ma is to get a Jumbo combo pizza from the good Godfathers. Half we greedily eat right away, the other half goes home for a leftover meal with my wife. If you were raised on Godfathers back when they made really good pizza, Columbus Nebraska is as close to the way you remember it as it's going to get.
posted by ensign_ricky at 4:27 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


this article just goes to show how unreliable childhood memories are.

Seriously, go to Hulu right now and watch an old episode of MacGyver or Knight Rider. Its going to be a Mandela Effect like reaction to Hulu somehow swapping out your favorite childhood show with this nonsense drivel that shares the same name.
What a terrible world it would be if we all had to evaluate the quality of our memories based based on some objective universal standard, or even our own personal contemporary standards. Knowing now that a lot of the food I ate and television I watched as a kid was garbage does not invalidate how much I remember enjoying it then.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 12:43 PM on September 15 [3 favorites]


I wonder if there's a list of remaining sit-down Huts for a Hut road trip, like those old people who did the Cracker Barrel thing
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:18 AM on September 16 [2 favorites]


(turbid - if you click diagonally across the intersection towards Woolies (which used to be Philip Leong's, which was where my wife worked as a teenager...)

Yes of course I remember Philip Leong's! I haven't heard that name in decades. Do you remember the Asian supermarket inside? My parents indirectly helped the owners, Sompom and Banjong (not how their names are spelled - I only ever spoke them aloud) get the savings together to open it up. I also remember the carvery just inside the back entrance, which did a great roast pork sandwich, and the horrible little area with the fixed tables and chairs just in front of it. What a shithole.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:33 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


I lost count of how many roast pork sandwiches I had there (for a brief period I worked just up the road at BBQs Galore, so it was a convenient place to meet the then gf for lunch). Much better than Tony's.

The Asian supermarket was a place of mystery. Kantong out of a jar was exotic cuisine, and Satay Mas on Charters Towers Road might as well have actually been in another country, so we weren't about to wander in there and sample oddities like fresh Asian greens. Talk about a lost opportunity.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:55 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


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