Pros: Affordable and fast.
Cons: Weakly disguised "fast food" with the obligatory grease
Pizza Hut is so accommodating. I ordered their "Atkins Pizza." They sent me a container full of greasy, rubbery, microwaved pepperoni's smothered in gobs of melted cheese. No sauce, of course, because tomatoes are bad for you! I greedily sucked down the muck, nearly choking on the stringiness of the thick, nearly molten cheese. Then I woke, my sheets damp from my cold sweat. I started to chuckle. "Imagine that," thought I. "A world where we actually stress out over carbs and think it's okay to eat fat!" I reached to my night stand for a twinkie and a swig of my warm and now-flat sugarfull Dr. Pepper, and as I gobbled it down and swilled ... I realized it wasn't a dream. It is a faux pas to gorge on carbs. The room spun rapidly while I screamed at my ceiling.
So why do I bother with this review when it's the worst place for good, carb-fearing people? Because someday we'll snap out of it. And I for one don't count carbs any way. Yay!
Tonight I felt compelled to write because I tried their newest marketing strategy: the four mini pizzas in the large box. It is their best, yet. Some may allege that it is stupid when we can order half-this and half-that. Well? I used to work there and I have witnessed the gallons of oil plopping into glistening puddles at the bottoms of their pans. These mini square pizzas are ... read my lips ... greaseless. Most people who crave Pizza Hut after they smoke their "blunt" little cigarettes may object to this, ranting about it being "dry." But with its savory sauce and crisp vegetables I ordered, it felt comparatively like health food. VERY good. My husband usually discards his crusts with thinly veiled sneers on his face, but he hungrily devoured these, too. And they ARE largely comprised of crusts. Four small slices times four pizzas means lots of it.
Our last favorite pizza from them was their Sicilian. Another marketing strategy that will disappear into the "it just didn't work" abyss, just as Priazzo did many moons ago. The Sicilian ("for a limited time" that may soon expire as I don't see ads for it any more) is nothing short of delectable ... but oily, still. The top, the dough, and the bottom are infused and sprinkled with (respectively) lots of oregano, basil, parmesan and garlic. The crust actually has visible green speckles in it. Quite flavorful, but you'll want a breath mint after (or not if you're like my former coworker ... oh, never mind). Is it a Sicilian authenticata? Who knows? Every restaurant has a different definition. They all seem to come up with "square," however, and this one is no different.
Pizza Hut has everything from hot wings to pasta. Now, I said I used to work there, so I'll have to tell you a few things.
If you like mushy, sticky pasta ... like, say, Chef Boyardee ... then you'll savor the slop they serve. Period. It's good for little kids, but no self-respecting pasta connoisseur would dig it. It's eye-talian.
Their breadsticks: have you ever ordered them and found they looked perfect? That wonderful bronzy brown that means they're cooked but not burnt? And then you bite into them and they're dry and hard and cool and not what your teeth and tongue anticipated? On busy nights, or nights they anticipate being busy (like if they're short a couple of people and can't call anyone in), they precook tons of pans of breadsticks. They then leave them in a huge bag. The waitperson takes out five for one order and puts them one at a time on a small conveyor belt that whisks them through a toaster-oven type thing in the bat of an eyelash. Done. Then they bring them to you. Or box them up and send them to you. I would ardently suggest avoiding them on weekend nights during peak hours.
The other insider secrets involve service. They have videos for the newcoming professionals. What torture it is to sit in their dining room (their public dining room) watching a video. Yawn. They also sic their managers from other stores on you when you're very busy. VERY busy. My first night "on the floor" was hampered by an androgynous woman with a bowl haircut and a clipboard asking me industry related questions. I barked at her that I was busy and she barked at me that I need to know the answers to these pressing issues more than ever when I'm busy. What a nut. She always paid for her coffee when she came in with her tie and vee necked Pizza Hut sweater pullover. All she needed was a whistle around her neck and voila! instant girl's high school gym coach.
My manager was a cool guy but would always act mock-startled when I cashed in my tips like I had made a fortune. There could be seventy-five cents and me meddling around my purse for a quarter to cash in for a dollar and he'd still do that. Weirdo. And he always called me by my Christian name, Rebecca, and asked me "how is your product tonight, Rebecca?" Nice guy, I said. As an aside, he was actually on Conan O'Brian in the audience once with a Village People thing superimposed over his and his friends' faces. Conan shouted "The village people are here tonight, folks" and there he was in the middle with his eyes locked on an unseen monitor, laughing heartily. Funny guy, too. I hope he's happy where ever he is.
Any way. I think that's all I know, from my three-week career there. At least I kept it in the family: my stepmother worked there many years ago (ours is ancient) and my sister and brother worked there after I warned them about it. The one I worked in was clean with good people. The only weird thing was the bathrooms were in the doorway on the way in (or out) and while I worked there they had to start giving customers a key (VERY inconvenient) because I guess there were gay men frequenting the men's room and ... holding things up, you might say. But that couldn't be helped and they surely didn't endorse that sort of sexual urgency.
If it matters to you, they treat their help decently. They offer nominal discounts, affordable health insurance (at least it used to be), and they are fair to college students with complex schedules who need time off for midterms. The pay is fair. Just a hair above minimum wage, enough to dub themselves "competitive pay."
The red-roof's are disappearing fast with cubicle-sized pizza huts that deliver out of strip malls in their stead. The restaurant industry is mainly delivery now, it seems. But the few that exist have marvelous salad bars and great lunch buffets that are usually priced at around $6.95. I find during peak hours they have trouble keeping the pizzas stocked (especially if you're like my husband and refuse to be adventurous and will only subside on plain pizza throughout the whole ordeal, leaving your co-diners to wonder why you didn't just invest another two bucks in a large plain so you can take the rest home). They also have weird, gooey dessert pizzas with canned pie-filling hot and mushy on top and some kind of white icing. (Dare I call it glace and try to make it fancy-schmancy?)
Their vegetables are usually crisp and fresh on the salad bar and range from broccoli florets to cherry tomatoes and classics like iceberg lettuce. The salad dressings are horribly industrial-tasting, but there is always the old standby: oil & vinegar. They usually have some other things like mayo-drenched macaroni salad with stringy chunks of celery throughout and Jell-O. Watch out for the bottoms of the containers when things are running low; the produce will look nice and fresh but will undoubtedly be frozen when you bite into it. The salad bar cools things wonderfully but the bottom tends to freeze everywhere I've ever been. It's a hard mistake to learn. Ouch.
Their hot wings are decent. They have the rubbery je ne sais quois of having been baked in the oven after having been frozen without ever having touched a crisping deep fryer. But the sauce has just enough bite to be adequately dubbed "hot" without allegations of fraudulent advertising and possess just enough flavor for you to forgive them for not burning your tongue. I guess I'm saying they're mediocre, but gross by definition.
Their regular menu pizzas, as I have said, are horribly greasy. In fact, the bottom sort of tastes crunchy and of hot grease as if deep fried. The cheese on top is of lesser quality and when it melts, it beads and sweats and becomes ... greasy. People love this. My complexion surrounding my mouth does not.
But I will say they are fairly priced (because they always have coupons in circulation). My husband bought a book of their coupons that are chock full of buy one get one free's. Well, worth the minimal investment of $15. It pays for itself after two uses. For delivery -- at least in our town -- there is a $1 delivery charge and cryptic silence on whether or not it goes to the driver. I think whether the driver gets it or not, it's a lousy amount to get and I always tip them as if they don't get it at all ($3 and no less; it's their time taken away from customers who tip them and it's their gas and wear and tear on their cars and they are not reimbursed -- tip them well, folks!)
The service is almost invariably brisk. Their ovens run on conveyor belts and are timed for five minutes. Yes. Five minutes. If you dine in and it's slow, they usually "hold off" on putting your pizza right in so you don't wonder if it was all ready ready already! A no-show or a mistake, perhaps. For delivery, I find the pizza gets here in thirty minutes and sometimes a smidgen less. It's always hot, too hot to eat right away or else the roof of my mouth gets that familiar raw tenderness from having bitten into too-hot melted cheese that stuck quick there.
The food is fast, but it is fast food. That's why the grease is there: to remind you. But the price is right. What's the price? Clip a coupon and that's it. I've never ordered cold off the menu. It's pointless when I can save a few bucks.
Well, I'm out of here. I'm going to throw caution to the wind and eat a wheat thin before bed. Carbs will get you every time!