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Does anybody remember when Pizza Hut used to be good?

I'm watching a food network pizza special and they're showing a crispy pizza with some burnt spots on the crust, packaged to go with their little paper tent. I used to get this thin crust delight back in the early seventies, and bring it home on my motorcycle. Todays conveyor belt concotions bear no resemblance to yesterday's pie. I was a pure cheese guy, while my mom and brother were cheese and anchovie. Does anyone remember when they used an actual oven and were pretty good, not New York good but not bad at all?

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  1. I never remember when PH was good.

    4 Replies
    1. re: treb

      I second that emotion. Almost 20 years ago when I first got out of college, I distinctly remember eating it with a friend and having a major stomachache from ingesting all that grease. That was the last time I ate it . YUCK! I guess any of PH's glory days were before my time.

      1. re: kattyeyes

        Kattyeyes, forty years ago when I was in college, Pizza Crud had a Tuesday night all-you-can-eat pizza deal. I got thrown out after my crummy third pie (little guy, big appetite). Never been back, no regrets.
        What happened to that great pizza place down hill from Wesleyan w/ the outside dining under the grape arbor?

        1. re: Passadumkeg

          Hey, Passa! I'm sure you now consider yourself lucky they through you out before you "indulged" any more. ;)

          Giuseppe's is the grape arbor place you're remembering. My all-time favorites in town are both long gone--Giovanni's (used to be near the SNET building on Broad St.) and my uncle's place (Alfredo's Riverside). I didn't realize Giuseppe's was gone, too--here's what replaced it:
          http://wesleyanargus.com/2008/02/01/r...

          1. re: kattyeyes

            Wes is one kick ass school. Who else could produce Timothy Leary, Bill Belachek, and Little Passasmartkeg!

    2. I don't even "remember" them. 30 years ago, PH opened in my neighborhood 2 doors up from a local pizza shop and drove them out of business. I made it a point to never patronize them.

      1 Reply
      1. I remember there was a pizza hut on the drive down the shore. We would stop and I could get my very own individual pizza. It was heaven. Crispy, chewy, and all mine. Recently i was stuck in Newark airport with my boys, and the only food option was Pizza Hut. I bought them each one (at 10 bucks a piece, ouch), and they threw more than half away and declared it disgusting. And these are boys who are not opposed to eating bugs, or dirt, or grass. I guess their new taglne should be "Pizza Hut, tastes worse than bugs!"

        1 Reply
        1. re: sunangelmb

          Back in the early 1980s, Pizza Hut used to have this florentine stuffed pizza that I really loved as a kid. It was my first introduction to spinach and cheese in a pizza and I sometimes wish I could try it again to see if it was as good as I remember. I have never been a fan of any of their other pizzas, but I loved that one.

        2. I haven't been to one in years and years and years. But when I did order delivery or when I ate at one of their pizzerias (back in the day), I enjoyed their pies. The pan crust was my favorite. The crust had some rise and a bit of color to it.

          Also, they were pretty generous with their toppings. Plenty of meat!

          Alas, you did pay for the pleasure the next morning, or later in that evening. Their pan crust combo and even the veggie were by far the greasiest pizzas I had ever tried. I just found it funny that even the veggie pan crust was just soaked in grease from top to bottom. Maybe that's why it was so tasty!

          Pizza hut pizzas are probably ok for a college student's metabolism (along with a wallop of alcohol), but adults will have a hard time stomaching their tastier/greasier pies.

          PS: I'm sure quality has plummeted in recent years. They're selling them at little kiosks everywhere they sell taco bell, so the prep is probably extremely fast and therefore very sloppy. I don't understand why these stores are able to proliferate to the same degree that their quality plummets.

          1. You mean when Dodo birds roamed the earth?

            1 Reply
            1. re: ipsedixit

              Ipse,
              No, a little after that. When Ed McMahon did their TV ads.

            2. My coworkers still love them. The other day we all wanted pizza and the girls in the office got to choose. They got a bunch of Pizza Hut's Mama Mia pies. They were oohing and ahhing at how good that pizza was. I was sitting there wishing I had Papa John's.

              7 Replies
              1. re: mojoeater

                I can't stand Papa John's but was stuck at the office without a car the other day and ordered a medium thin crust veggie lover's pizza from Pizza Hut and it was very good. Lots of veggies....all fresh (no canned mushrooms), nicely sauced with a good amount of cheese and delivered piping hot.

                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                  Good NY style pizza is hard to find in Richmond. I remember the PH lunch buffet, with salad, pasta and pizza ( a precursor to Cici's, at least here in RIchmond) - I loved the PH veggie pizza then. Now the crust is kind of grease soaked.

                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                    There is a place near my office, Anna's Pizza, on Hull St that has decent NY style slices (and they have the best pepperoni I've had on a pizza, I need to ask them where they get it) and they have a 2 slice one topping lunch special with a soda for around $5...that's my usual lunch pizza place, but unfortunately they don't deliver and I needed delivery that particular day.

                  2. re: Janet from Richmond

                    I'm not the only one who hates Papa Johns, hurrah!

                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                      I also despise Papa Johns... I think its the sauce.

                      1. re: Firegoat

                        That's exactly the reason I hate it! That sauce is just yucky (I'm lacking a better word).

                      2. re: hyacinthgirl

                        Add me to the din as well. I think their pizza is horrible. All the cheese is always glopped into the middle and nothing on the edges, and all the toppings slide off when you bite into it.

                  3. Yes, decades ago....and an even better competitor chain, Pizza Inn.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: steakman55

                      there is still a Pizza Inn, and Ken's pizza in our region

                    2. I don't recall them ever being good. I feel bad for anyone who lives in a location where there isn't a regular old non-chain pizzaria like we have all over the place in CT. I guess if I never had "real" pizza I'd probably like chain pizza but in my house Dominos and PH will never ever win out when there are tons of better pizza options within both walking and driving distance to my Hartford area home.

                      1. Looks like I'm the lone dissenter. I lived next door to a PH during university in the late 80s. I loved them and their buttery bottoms. Once, I even stopped by nine times during a one week period. I rarely go now, but still find the buttery bottoms nostalgic and yes, good!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: OCAnn

                          OMG, my stomach hurts just thinking of going nine times in one week. Glad you have reformed! ;)

                        2. Pizza Hut was good? I have consistently found PH to be the worst of the worst, even among its fellow lousy chains.

                          1. i thought it was really good when I was a kid and did their book-it program for the free personal pan pizza. now, i wouldn't say its "really good" ..but sometimes a thin crust with pepperoni hits the spot. Must mention that my only delivery options are pizza hut, dominos, and papa johns. ick.

                            1 Reply
                            1. I thought it was great when I was a kid, but then again I also thought spaghettios and canned ravioli were good then too. My taste buds just can't tolerate this kind of stuff anymore, it just doesn't taste "good" to me any longer.

                              1. I also remember when Little Caesars and Domino's were good! They weren't yet chains just independent pizza restaurants. We had a Little Caesars near my house in the Detroit suburbs that made a decent thin crust pizza...nothing like their product today.

                                1. I do remember the paper tent.... and the thin crust bacon bit pizza.... some 30 years ago.... sigh

                                    1. Does anybody remember when Pizza Hut used to be good?

                                      No.

                                        1. excuse my new yorkiness but - NO

                                          PH was solely for college/concert road trips when there was literally no other choice. hmmm - still is.

                                          1. I do recall that I used to like PH when I was a kid - that doesn't mean it was good though - just means I didn't know any better.

                                            1. pizza hut was good in the '70s.

                                              we always got a special "kick" when a streaker ran through, showing off to us high schoolers after a football game. ;-).

                                              1. Yes....................................................................Ok, No.
                                                -BnF

                                                1. I grew up eating Anna's pizza on Revere Beach and Santarpio in Eastie. When my kids were young we moved out of the City to Southern NH. Pizza Hut was our only choice.
                                                  Boy, was it horrible. Blech, never good, not even passable.

                                                  1. I remember when Pizza Hut was good. It was when I was 12 years old and had never eaten any other kind of Pizza. It did not last long.

                                                    1. Oh James... yes.. yes...yes. I was only talking about the 1972 Pizza Hut plain cheese crispy base pizza the other day. It was called simply "mozzarella" (meaning extra cheese) and it was simply delicious. The sauce was magnificent and the cheese was not like the gluey mozzarella of today.

                                                      1. used to go to one in ohio during college (70's) even by ohio standards pretty poor except the all you could eat nights. but what i did like ,even though they were really lousy , were there subs, they basically took the toppings and put them on a hero and ran it through the oven. most ppl never realized it was even on the menu, 30 yr.s before quiznos

                                                        1. I'm not sure "good" is the right word, but I prefer thin crust pizza, and NOBODY makes a thin crust pizza around here but PH. And some nights a Thin 'n' Crispy Supreme just hits the spot.

                                                          Yes, I could just make my own....well...no, I couldn't. You see, while I am a pretty good cook, me and dough do not get along. No matter what I do I always butcher the dough (no pun intended) and end up with a big mess and no pizza. All the pre-formed pizza shells at the store are thick crust...way too thick.

                                                          Therefore the only way for me to get a quick fix is PH. It's really not that bad.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: al b. darned

                                                            Buca di Beppo has a really good thin crust pizza. CPK has yucky thin crust pizzas. And Z Pizza is only meh.

                                                            1. re: OCAnn

                                                              Thanks, but none of them are in my area.

                                                            2. re: al b. darned

                                                              I don't make my dough, but buy it. Most bakeries and even pizza places will sell pizza dough, and it's cheap. And it would be much better than PH, blech.....

                                                              1. re: mcel215

                                                                As I said...
                                                                >>>
                                                                Yes, I could just make my own....well...no, I couldn't. You see, while I am a pretty good cook, me and dough do not get along. No matter what I do I always butcher the dough (no pun intended) and end up with a big mess and no pizza.
                                                                <<<

                                                            3. PH did indeed used to be good, and if the right staff was in the back making them, it could sometimes be great. However, over the years, in an effort to increase speed they've lowered the quality to the point you're better off with frozen.

                                                              I couldn't put my finger on what all they messed up but eventually figured it all out. First, they 'went natural' with their vegetables for the pie. This sounds good but it's still out of a can like it used to, only in larger hunks. The smaller vegetables you could spread out on the entire pie. These big ones dominate a slice to where if the onion slice is on it, the whole piece tastes like that onion. That's the first thing.

                                                              The second thing is they changed the amount of sauce they put on a pie. one scoop of tomato sauce and it doesn't even cover half the pie. Ordering "extra sauce" is therefore a must at PH, although people don't know that option exists. Extra sauce is even free.

                                                              The third thing is they lowered the amount of every topping that goes on each pizza. There is a chart showing how many ounces of each topping goes on what pizza. However, they've lowered these amounts. They've also lowered the amount of cheese that goes on so ordering extra cheese for 99 cents is a must as well.

                                                              PH is not alone in this. Pizza Inn, Mazzio's, Domino's...all the chains have lowered their amounts the same way. Papa John's seems to be slowly doing the same. About the only good thing you can say is "It would cost too much to make my own".

                                                              I used to work at a Pizza Hut in the late 80's. Back then, you could still get a Priazzo. I wish those were still around.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Shadowcran

                                                                i didn't know pizza inn still existed. when i grew up in sw florida, their pizza was tastier than pizza hut's.

                                                                1. re: Shadowcran

                                                                  Shadow,

                                                                  Sorry to disagree with you, but I have never found PH to be good. Perhaps it is me though, since I grew up on Santapios, Annas and Bianchis pizza. Then, experienced
                                                                  culture shock when I moved to Derry, NH, in 1978. We only had PH there, and we took the kids once a week. Each time we went, I kept wondering why PH was in business. The pizza dough was awful and the cheese was horrible. After a few months, I started making my own at home. We did finally get a Papa Gino's in town, and that was closer to what I was used to.

                                                                  I do think I was too used to a very thin crust and that is why I could never stand eating at PH.

                                                                2. the only thing I ever enjoyed at Pizza Hut was their Priazzo, which they had for maybe 6 months then dropped - it was literally a pie (stuffed - one variety was spinach and cheese) with traditional pizza stuff on the top layer. It was really good.

                                                                  These days, their actual pizza isn't even meh. I'm not sure how they stay in business.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Marvin

                                                                    Wow, I remember those now. I was a cook there and those were pretty good.

                                                                  2. My grandfather owned a restaurant, and moved, selling the building that became the first Pizza Hut in Wichita (this historic building now resides on the campus of WSU). As a child, i do recall having some delightful pies at the Wichita location. I enjoyed Shakey's more and was fascinated by the odd fellow playing the banjo.

                                                                    As for Pizza Inn, they still exist in small numbers in the city of it's birth, Dallas (also home of Mr. Jim's and now Pizza Hut). The thin crackery crust is gold to me, and I even enjoyed one of these pies in probably its most bizarre location... Ho Chi Minh.

                                                                    1. I grew up in Wichita Kansas in the 1960's ... back when Pizza Hut was new. (It may have even originated in Wichita, but I'm not certain here.) My folks would take me there as a special meal out from time to time, and we all loved there pizza. Maybe my memory is affected by some sort of nostalgia, but I distinctly remember it as being really good, and not something that would ever be mistaken for the crap they make now.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Plankwalker

                                                                        I always preferred the authentic Sicillian taste of Straw Hat and Shakey's pizza.

                                                                        The PH Priazzo "pie" was actually interesting. I'd just moved to LA in 1984, flat broke and jobless, eating Top Ramen while watching all these food commercials on TV, food I couldn't afford.

                                                                        A couple of weeks later, I scored my first job out here, and the first place I went was Pizza Hut for the Priazzo pie, the spinach-florentine one.

                                                                        My how times have changed.

                                                                      2. I think folks that come from areas w/ a high Italian-American population, grew up w/ great local places and never thought Pizza Crud was good. Sorry to be such a wet blanket, but there are hot spots of great local pizza joints in the US.

                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                          Yeah but there weren't many great local places in the midwest in the 60's at all.
                                                                          When Pizza Hut arrived we thought it was the greatest thing ever.

                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                            Nor were there many great local places in Southern California in the 70s.

                                                                            1. re: OCAnn

                                                                              Thart's what I mean. When I return to my mom's, I still get pizza at Coffarro's where I got it in high school 45 years ago or Spezzi's or.......etc.

                                                                              1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                in fact i remember visiting So Cal in late 70's and not being able to order "just a slice" for a quick lunch at a local; have'nt been to PH in several years but used to enjoy tues. PM buffet as a quick cheapish dinner option in westchester, ny between appointments and before that, in Florida in '80's another local pizza desert at the time, using PH as an after=work option for our diverse bookstore staff... have certainly had terrible pasta options there, however...

                                                                              2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                The same can be said for most food. Where I live, it is no problem getting good Mexican or BBQ, going back to the 60's when I was a kid. Certain regions do some food better than others. From what I've read on Chowhound, many folks have little choice but resort to chains for Mexican, BBQ, seafood, and even fried chicken. Fortunately, where I live there is now some decent pizza, and I don't have to resort to chain pizza, although Pizza Hut back in the 60's and 70's was far better than it is now.

                                                                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                  This is so true. I moved to Charleston, SC for two years in 1968 and I couldn't even find Ricotta cheese for my lasagna in any grocery store. Coming from Boston and a Italian-American neighborhood, it sure was a shock to my system. Pizza places? None. Chinese restaurants? Nope.

                                                                                  1. re: mcel215

                                                                                    Very true, My best choundhound friend is a native Texan, lives in New Haven, the epicenter of better than great American pizza and is nonplussed. He does, however, have a hard time finding good TexMex or Q. I never ate Mexican until I was 22 and moved to New Mex and I sure as hell have a hard time finding it in Maine. Many Mainers know only concience store pizza and mob our local Hut, wile 1/4 mi away is Finelli's a greeeaat NY style "Za w/ a terrific selection of local and imported beers. I guess this is what makes a hound. In search of the eternal food buzz. I will be going to Korea next month and am humerously looking forward to their interpretation of pizza. Heard some wierd stuff.
                                                                                    Carpe Chow,
                                                                                    Keg

                                                                              3. PH was good for the first few years in the 70s and early 80s you could get thin and properly cooked. Now they are a big thick sweet cake with chunks of garbage on top and never fully cooked. Their oven is literally a conveyor belt - so it doesn't matter how it's dressed it will still get x minutes. I know a guy who worked there in the 90s and he will not touch it unless its less than 30 min old for health safety reasons. That's not good.
                                                                                I've got some friends from China who told me that they line up for hours there for PH like fine dining and pay like $60. Brutal! Oh Well, I ate chinese at the mall in the late 70s when that started, so I guess we're even.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: jamielikestocookandeat

                                                                                  Could you explain how a pizza that is safe when it's less than 30 minutes old suddenly be unsafe after 30 minutes?

                                                                                  1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                    Explain why it's free after 45 min and you have your answer.

                                                                                    1. re: jamielikestocookandeat

                                                                                      I think Hum asked a fair Q and answering an with another Q isn't very chow-friendly.

                                                                                  2. As far as I'm concerned, Pizza Hut _never_ made good pizza. Then again, I was spoiled by great pizza in the NY/NJ area.

                                                                                    But when I attended college in Iowa 39 years ago, I often ate at the Pizza Hut in Storm Lake, but I certainly never ate the pizza (after trying it once...it really did suck), but they made a decent sandwich with various meats and cheese, melted in the oven and drizzled with a faux Italian dressing. It really wasn't bad, and at the time the closest thing I could get resembling a sub. And they did always have a dark beer on draft.
                                                                                    But the pizza was bad then, and it's bad now.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: The Professor

                                                                                      HA HA HA..."faux Italian dressing"--gotta be among the easiest things in the world to throw together, yet it was "faux." Thanks for the chuckle.

                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                        glad you enjoyed that...it was indeed bizarre, vaguely tasting like a kind of creamy italian, yet with something inherently evil about it.

                                                                                        Thinking back on it some more, I guess I have to admit that I would never order one of those sandwiches until I had three beers.

                                                                                    2. I think I remember it being good, but I can remember a lot of other things being good in my youth. I have a hard time pinpointing how much of this is nostalgia or created memory. It really has to be a function of two things:
                                                                                      1) As chains expand and go through their life cycle they get farther away from the values on which they were founded; new management principles are put in place which stress the bottom line resulting in smaller portions and cheaper ingredients. Easily replicable management and staffing structures result in apathetic employees who follow instructions and can't think outside the box. We all know what the end result of this.
                                                                                      2) I am quite aware that my tastes have changed significantly since my youth, and this may play an equal or larger role to point #1. I have revisited my favorite special occasion restaurants from college and was very let down.

                                                                                      So yes, I do remember Pizza Hut being good (or at least better), but I don't know who has changed more, me or them.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                        Hear! Hear! Maybe this is why I can't find the NJ pizza of my youth. "You Can't Go Home Again"

                                                                                      2. I remember when PH was new to our area, so it seemed good because it was different. Eventually we went back to our local pizza joint because it was better. :)

                                                                                        1. They changed something... the Pan Pizza used to be heaven. My girlfriend and I got it a few weeks ago and, well, it sucked. It was soggy and undercooked. We were not surprised when it tasted better reheated for lunch a few days later than it did "fresh".

                                                                                          1. In the mid 70's, fast food stocks were popular. I bought 100 shares of PH at $16 thinking it had a good growth future with relatively low cost ingredients, although there were none in NJ to test when I was living there at the time. About 18 months later, I finally tried one in GA during a trip to FL. It was absolutely disgusting. I sold the stock immediately upon returning home at about $32. It gradually sank back to $16 over the next six months before Pepsi took over. Financially, I was SO GLAD I stopped by. I've had about three more over the years, all equally as bad.

                                                                                            1. Not only were they decent enough in the 80's, they had awesome commercials. The one I remember was with boxer Marvin Hagler. All they showed for ther first 80% or so was Hagler eating pizza. He finally spoke, saying "I woner what whatshisname is eating right now. Probably soup." This was shortly after he knocked out Tommy Hearns.

                                                                                              The food isn't the only thing that has gone downhill.

                                                                                              1. The only pizza I have ever liked from PH was the Big New Yorker. If I go it is usually for lunch and I hit the buffet and load up on salad, breadsticks, pasta, and maybe a slice or too. Buffet is like $5.99, so with a soda you can eat for like $8-9 with tip.

                                                                                                The breadsticks with extra seasoning and red sauce are the best of any pizza chain.

                                                                                                1. Reply to: James Cristinian Feb 21, 2009 04:50PM

                                                                                                  your whole problem is probably, you are comparing Pizza Hut to "new york pizza. Pizza Hut Inc. was started by two Wichita University (Now Wichita State University) students in the late 50's or early 50's. My classmates and I helped keep his dream afloat by frequenting the Wichita, Kansas Pizza Huts every other weekend or so. My family and I are ENJOYING Pizza Hut pizzas this evening & they are evrey bit as good as they were in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, etc ...

                                                                                                  obtw the young men who started the "Pizza Hut" pizza hut restaurant is, I believe the person responsible for FAST FOOD restaurant explosion.

                                                                                                  The young mens names are " Frank and Dan Carney".

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: tjhBoB

                                                                                                    I don't have a problem, other than Pizza Hut at one time was very respectable, when they used real ovens, and not the conveyor belt b/s they have now. I ate there in the late 60's and 70's, when, like I said if you read the whole post, they had a nice crust. I wouldn't even call it fast food, back then it took 15-20 minutes, if memory serves me, to cook a pizza. Now, it is far less in the age of I want it and I want it now. The quality is gone, I won't eat one.

                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                      I guess by growing up in the northeast, I had / have an entirely different expectation of a "respectable" pizza.

                                                                                                      IMO, the few times I'm try them, PH never met those expectations. Then again, I have my doubts that any frozen or chain pizza can ever be more than mediocre.

                                                                                                    2. re: tjhBoB

                                                                                                      You're crazy. NO WAY is it as good as the 60's! I can't even imagine that. You gotta own a bunch of stock or something. LOL!

                                                                                                      1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                                                                                                        ^^^ok^^^

                                                                                                        But I thought I was the only one from
                                                                                                        Calabasas \?/

                                                                                                      2. I've always liked PH's pizza. To this day, my favorite pizza is their thin and crispy meat lover's.

                                                                                                        It's not as good, however, as the pizza I ate as a kid growing up in Wisconsin. We had a local parlor that made the best pies ever!

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        1. Is it just me or did they change the pan pizza crust in the past year or so? It's tough and leathery on the bottom now, it used to be crunchy and oily.

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: ratbuddy

                                                                                                            Depends on the chain. I've had pizza hut in Taiwan bout 5 years ago and it was good. But totally different product than what's sold in the States. There is a cost war between Dominos, Papa Johns and PH. They have been skimping on every corner now for decades.

                                                                                                              1. Pizza Hut has always been mediocre at best. Thin crust has consistency of cardboard, and the pan-style is way greasy. Sauce is unremarkable, but not bad. Not really high-quality cheese (seems they use a weird blend with cheddar -- Papa Murphy's does that, too). Toppings surprisingly good, as long as you avoid the Ital sausage.

                                                                                                                PH only survive because a lot of good pizza joints are either take-out/delivery, or if they have seating, the place is not necessarily a family atmosphere. Pizza Hut is a place you can take the kids, they have worked hard to market the brand, and they have worked on updating the products to accommodate changing tastes.

                                                                                                                (Shakey's Pizza had a similar business plan, but that chain failed due to lack of franchise support, inability to update the menu, and inconsistent quality. The ones that survive are not too bad).

                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: MikeB3542

                                                                                                                  Pizza Hut was very good back in the late 70's and 80's but it was a completely different product altogether, as it wasn't geared towards fast food delivery but was a sit down restaurant chain.. Much like every single brand that's bought by corporate america, the quality sank. YUM bot them for the branding. The product bears no resemblance to it's original.

                                                                                                                  The crust is very different, they used to use a leavened baking powder/yeast dough inundated with butter on the pan. You'd get a crispy bottom and fluffly/airy crust. Also, they used to actually use pizza ovens back then, not those convection conveyor belts.

                                                                                                                  I even went to Lombardi's in NYC recently, and it suffers from overproduction as well. it's nothing like it was 20 even 10 years ago. In an effort to rush out as much product as possible, it's awful pizza.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Dirtyedomite

                                                                                                                    The PH is my college town served pitchers of beer and never seemed to card any of us!

                                                                                                                    1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                      The pitchers of beer were really the only saving grace of having to eat at Pizza Hut in Storm Lake, Iowa in 1970. They always had a dark beer on draft (PBR Dark) and the sandwiches and salads were palatable. To those at the college who came from NY, Chicago, and other good pizza regions, the pizza at PH was a kind of a joke and and was to be avoided.

                                                                                                                    2. re: Dirtyedomite

                                                                                                                      I agree, I remember the pan pizza being very good when I was a kid, and you had to wait quite awhile for it. You could play video games or, when teenaged, drink the pitchers of beer. It was awesome. One thing that stood out is that they offered a sausage that was not italian sausage. I think it was like bob evans breakfast sausage broken up into little crumbles. It was awesome and the best sausage I've had on a pizza. All the ital sausage on a pizza is in big, big hunks and I don't enjoy it. In fact, many places seem to be moving to big hunks of stuff instead of diced on top,a nd it's annoying. I don't want to bite into a slice and pull back a huge long slice of green pepper or a whole ring of onion.

                                                                                                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                        Yeah! I always thought the pizza was pretty good back then, but the real draw was that the restaurant was fun as hell, with the video games, and the dark lighting... Great atmosphere, it felt like you were out for a night out rather than just shoveling food into your mouth to stay alive like with fast food places. It's not like that anymore, even if you can find a Pizza Hut that's not delivery only.

                                                                                                                    3. re: MikeB3542

                                                                                                                      Also, public chains are required to report nutrition facts on all their food offerings. Private family owned restaurants aren't. Another reason it doesn't taste as good, a pizza from totonno's in brooklyn has twice more saturated fat than a pizza from pizza hut. An avg NY slice has 2x more sat fat than dominos or pizza hut. I would imagine pizza hut tasted better decades ago when this wasn't a prerequisite. (ie to keep serving under 1500 calories).

                                                                                                                      1. re: Dirtyedomite

                                                                                                                        btw, MANY brooklyn pies use tomato sauces that's been simmering with pork. You think ur getting a veggie slice, but you're not.

                                                                                                                    4. Yes. When Pan Pizza was first introduced, it was great. And the service was restaurant quality, not truck stop quality.

                                                                                                                      1. Yah, I remember when we'd take the kids-it sufficed&was pretty good.

                                                                                                                        1. 20-25 years ago it was pretty good in my opinion. Now its just awful

                                                                                                                          1. I think my very first pizza was from the Hut, so I thought it was pretty good.

                                                                                                                            These days, my response is around, "I've had worse." Sure, it's not great, and it's really below average, but I've had far worse and can easily get worse at many of the local places around here. At the very least, PH and other national chains haven't insulted me like some local places by servings me eggplant parmigiana with thicker breading than eggplant (and similar cost cutting measures).

                                                                                                                            1. PIzza Hut had some delicious thin-crust pizzas back in the '70s.
                                                                                                                              In the Chicago area, they also used to offer fantastic Italian beef sandwiches back then.

                                                                                                                              Pizza Hut went to hell back in the '80s, and I've for the most part steered clear of them since then.
                                                                                                                              Papa John's and Little Caesar's are also vile.

                                                                                                                              1. I still have nightmares of having to eat my parents' favorite pizza from PH in the 70's...taco pizza.

                                                                                                                                It had taco meat on it and was covered in lettuce and tomatoes after cooking.

                                                                                                                                What's interesting is I remember pizza being more expensive in the 80s than it is now. The math doesn't hold up to doing it the old way.

                                                                                                                                1. Anyone remember that creamy romano dressing...it was addictive and great on those awful breadsticks and oniony salads (which I think they also got rid of but I sort of liked as a kid)?

                                                                                                                                  1. They used to be better but they changed their recipes and not as good

                                                                                                                                    1. Yeah, once upon a time, Pizza Hut was the best you could get in many places. This was in the 1960s before the proliferation of competing chains. No, I wouldn't eat pizza from any of them now and couldn't say how any of them compare to what I ate way back when. It was a simpler time, and I was a simple teenager in a hick town.

                                                                                                                                      1. Yes, I remember! I think it was the early 80's when Pizza Hut first appeared in Australia (well, at least in Queensland - down South always gets things first).

                                                                                                                                        I loved their pizzas - though it might have been just because I was a kid and it was a novelty...

                                                                                                                                        1. Yes i do. In 1968 we used to go spend the night at Pizza Hut eating their supreme pizza. I think besides the sauce and rally good stringy mozzarella cheese they started with a finely ground italian sausage, onion, olives, pepperoni & green pepper. I don't remember what else if anything was on them except the option of those salty little anchovies. I wish I could find the original receipe to that original supreme. Have any suggestions?

                                                                                                                                          1. I do remember when it used to be pretty good. not exactly pizza, but pretty good, when you got it right in the restaurant hot out of the pan. But that was more than 20 years ago.

                                                                                                                                            1. Yes. In the late 1960s and 1970s they were good. Maybe not in contrast to the artisan pies you can get today but back then we did NOT get those here. PH had a pasta dish called Cavatelli that was pasta, sauce, sausage in a bowl sealed with cheese and baked in the pizza oven. When you punched through the cheese a cloud of steam shot up and obscured your view of what was in front of you for a few seconds. That was good to me then.

                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                But we've come a long way, baby, haven't we? ;) One of the funniest things I read on this site all week was a post from Firegoat on the Easy Bake oven thread...and the comments that followed. Sums up my feelings entirely:
                                                                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5690...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                  Gord struth and little apples- a bastardization of a classic product and a downgrade in quality too. Why is Hasbro still in business?

                                                                                                                                              2. I grew up outside of New Haven. With all the great pizza joints around, (Pepe's, Modern, Sally's, Venice, Bimonte's, Sorrento's, Zuppardi's, etc), there was no need to go to Pizza Hut for any reason. I don't even think there was a Pizza Hut within 20 miles of New Haven.

                                                                                                                                                1. I thought of this thread last night. My DH and I usually order Domino's but last night decided to try Pizza Hut (they're the only two games in town). I was severely disappointed and will go back to Domino's. I remember it being a lot better back in the 90s.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I worked at a pizza hut in 1984. Back then they made the dough in store. They also used high quality meats and sauce was very good. Now the dough comes pre made in a truck. Sauce is not good. Lot of their meats also have changed. I think they also use fillers in their meats. I stopped eating their about 2005.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: undef_1121

                                                                                                                                                      Yeah not sure when that changed, but I was shocked one day when I called one evening 10 or more years ago to find out that they were "out of mediums".

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: PenskeFan

                                                                                                                                                        While on a work-related trip in the mid 80s, I was at a Pizza Hut in Sylacauga, Alabama. I already knew there was quite a difference between the franchise stores and the company stores, but this place was truly dreadful. When we asked for pan pizza, in what was a relatively empty restaurant, we were told "no pan". Between that, the awful pizza we did get, and the lousy service we had on top of it, this led me to leave a handful of pennies as a tip - one of the few times I've done that in my life.

                                                                                                                                                        There have been bad Pizza Huts out there forever - they just have become more of the norm.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Yes, when I was in living in England and comparatively .... it was fantastic..... I kept on trying pizza with Pepperoni, sausage.... but any pizza with any meat was..... horrendous....

                                                                                                                                                      1. Absolutely! I used to go there as a child with my mother in the 80s, and in fact I went occasionally all the way up into my teens. I loved their thin and crispy crust. We used to get pepperoni and Canadian bacon, and man, was it good. I wish they still made pizza like that.

                                                                                                                                                        1. In the 1960's Pizza Hut was the only game in town unless you were old enough to go to a bar for bar pizza. I was a teenager then so it was a go to place for us and pretty good. In mid-America, PH is still pretty prominent in small rural towns. Haven't been in years but a stop in a small town, PH for lunch buffet was usually a safe bet.

                                                                                                                                                          1. When I was stationed in Millington, TN, the class would sometimes break ranks and head out in town to PH. All you can eat pizza (and it wasn't bad at all) and salad, LARGE iced teas...that was a real treat. But it was also before the foodnetwork and my forays into NYC.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Whoa whoa what do you mean, "used to be"? I'm a grown man and I love Pizza Hut. No one wants to admit to liking that oily pan pizza crust but come on guys, it's fried dough! Next you'll be telling me you turn down the sugar-covered fried biscuits at the Chinese buffet, or deep-fried waffle cakes at the state fair, yeah right.

                                                                                                                                                              It all started when the evil geniuses at Pizza Hut marketing thought up the Book-It program, by which impressionable little kids could earn free pan pizzas by reading books. As a fat kid addicted to shitty Star Wars novels this was win-win for me! That Book-It scheme made a huge contribution to American childhood literacy and obesity, while imprinting my pizza taste buds for life.

                                                                                                                                                              So to answer the question, yes. I remember when Pizza Hut used to be good, and it still is.

                                                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                I remember several years ago listening to the Howard Stern show on the way to work, they were talking about pizza, and at some point Howard said "It's pizza- how bad can it be?" I kinda tend to agree, and very much appreciate the really good pizzas out there, but bad pizza is not nearly as bad as, say, bad sushi.

                                                                                                                                                                If you have had food poisoning issues, that's totally different.

                                                                                                                                                                But if you've had just plain badass tasting pizza, please describe it.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                  The answer is "No".

                                                                                                                                                                  We had some midwestern friends staying with us recently, and all they wanted was Pizza Hut, Applebees and McDonalds rather than my home cooking, or local grub. Luckily there are no Dennys around here because I think they eat there almost daily at home. It was the one stress between us. She kept saying these places were "dependable" and that they were homesick. We did try McDonalds with them where I ordered my husband a cheeseburger and they gave us 2 cheeseburgers, a giant soda and french fries, almost all of which ended up in the garbage; we only wanted one single cheeseburger. Is that even possible anymore? So much money for zero nutrition.

                                                                                                                                                                  Finally just before they left, they offered to watch my husband while I attended my high school reunion (he's not well and can't stay alone) and I made sure to have lots of his favorite leftovers for dinner. Instead, they insisted on Pizza Hut, I mean totally insisted. I told them he wouldn't like it, and that we have at least five local pizzerias we love and that they all deliver. Finally I made them get him a plain pie instead of the pineapple, ham, and four other things concoction they ordered for themselves. Figured how bad can a plain pie be, just like Howard Stern. When I got home later, I felt so bad, he had the WORST indigestion and she had been dosing him with prilosec and the like, as if it was a normal apperitiv. The next day I took a taste of a leftover slice and I didn't taste sauce, I didn't taste cheese, I didn't taste crust. I tasted salt and that was it. I felt so bad for my husband, he's not in any shape to speak up for himself, but he's a Brooklyn boy and this was a cruel twist of fate. So maybe not poisoning, but he was pretty darn sick.

                                                                                                                                                                  She just sent me a holiday card and I had to laugh. She sent me a $50 gift certification for Applebees, which is where we had a showdown and I refused to go in nor order anything for us takeout, told them to go ahead but we would wait til we got home. Guess I was a little rude; glad she had a sense of humor about it after the fact! We'll probably go and just get some drinks and wings, and toast the good times we did have with them.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                    Please read the original post. It used to be good years ago. Today, not good at all.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                      A matter of opinion I'd say. I was only in high school and no gourmet, but I remember I used to call it biscuit pizza due to the crust. Then again I had good pizza to compare it to.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                        It wasn't good in the 70s. So how far back do you have to go. And how bad does the other pizza in town have to be???

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah I'm talking late '60s and early '70s, when I started dating. Not really sure when they first opened in Levittown, or anywhere else for that matter. Once I started going out with college men, I lost track of their existence ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                            My first visit to a Pizza Hut was back around 1972. It was terrible even then.

                                                                                                                                                                            Growing up in CT, it was my introduction to chain pizza while on a trip through GA.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                        The most badass tasting pizza I ever had was at some random kiosk at the airport in New Jersey. It looked like your typical slice place with par-baked pizzas slowly drying out under heat lamps. The kind of market niche that would be occupied by a SBarro anywhere else. Expectations were low, but the first taste, how can I describe it? Perfectly crisp outer crust giving way to a thin layer of chewy, holey bread. Rich sauce mingling with pungent, salty, stretchy cheese. This is when I really understood what it meant for a place to have a real pizza culture. If some random airport pizza was this good, how good would a destination Jersey spot be?

                                                                                                                                                                        But even if I lived in New Jersey, I would still order Pizza Hut from time to time.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                          And New Jersey would be likely to kick yer ass out. ;) Yes, I know, a time and place for everyone. I am sorry I ever replied to this thread and am attempting to enjoy the ride since I'm here.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                            "The most badass tasting pizza I ever had was at some random kiosk at the airport in New Jersey."

                                                                                                                                                                            Sounds just like a slice I attempted at the Charlotte airport back in the mid 90's. The exact date, I'm not sure. It's vile nature, I recall vividly.

                                                                                                                                                                      3. Pizza hut used to be really good in the 1970's. I remember being able to order an 18" pizza made in an actual oven and being covered with whole tomatoe wheels. The deep dish and meat lovers were especially good and well prepared.

                                                                                                                                                                        The trend of making smaller cheaper pizzas started in the early 80's. There's not a major pizza chain I can think of that actually makes real pizza anymore. Last time I tried pizza hut it reminded me of a saltine cracker covered with unflavored tomato paste.

                                                                                                                                                                        A few years ago I was at the MGM grand at their food court and ordered a large Italian meat lovers and was pleasantly surprised the pie actually had some heft to it. I can't remember the name only that it had an italian sounding name.

                                                                                                                                                                        Bottom line is if you want a real pizza stick to the mom and pop stores.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. I live in greenbay, wi and back in the 70's there was bob longs pizzahut. the pizza was to die for, it had a cracker like crust with a very light sauce, the supreme had veggies that were cut up in very small chucks - the pizza hut franchise was later sold to pepsico and that's when they changed their recipe - the first wasn't too terribly bad but over the years they completed screwed up the recipe. if pizza hut were to get their hands on the original recipe that i believe originated somewhere in indiania they could command $25 a pie - i'd pay any price to relive those glory days...

                                                                                                                                                                            nancy

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Kenji on Serious Eats just did a Pizza Lab regarding pan pizza. It looks kinda like what Pizza Hut used to make. I can't wait to try the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                              http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. I haven't had Pizza Hut pizza in years. A month ago I bought a pizza and bread sticks. I thought they were burned because the taste was so off. Last night I tried The Hut again. Ugh. I wish I hadn't. The crust is horrible. I don't know what they did to their dough but I could barely get through one slice. It is a shame. Pizza Hut used to have my favorite crust. They lost me.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: 3sheets

                                                                                                                                                                                  When I worked at Pizza Hut in the 80's all the dough was made in house at the end of the day, portioned and allowed to ferment overnight in the walk-in cooler. Today I understand that they get frozen dough from a central commissary which goes from freezer to proof box to prep table in two hours. I'm sure that cuts costs and waste, but at the expense of quality and flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I used to go to PH in the early to mid 80s as a kid. Man, it was awesome. The pizza was delicious and they had an all you can eat salad bar. I always got the deep dish with everything on it. Amazing memories. I tried PH again about 15 years ago and it was junk. Fast food pizza. I never went back.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Mid 70's . Seniors in high school . All you can eat Thursdays . We tried to eat a whole pizza each . I don't remember the cost .I loved the pizza with the semi burnt cracker like crust topped with sausage and pepperoni .

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Surprised this discussion is still going, I remember posting on this 4 years ago LOL. There is no doubt that Pizza Hut was different 30-40 years ago, it was. They were made in real pizza ovens, dough was made on premise, used much better ingredients, etc etc until PepsiCo bought them out along with Taco Bell and KFC and ran those brands to the ground. Remember when KFC was good? IT was, when they actually made their sides on premise.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Anyway, I live in NYC and have visited New Haven, and all places even Naples who claim to have the best pizza in the world. Believe me for one pretty good pizza place in NYC, there are 5 horrible ones (ie Ray's, Original Rays, 99 cent Pizza), etc. This is the continual trend across the board, all eateries are now obsessed in cutting corners and costs. These 99 cent pizza joints all over NYC have destroyed pizza. The only way to get a good slice now is to go over to Queens. And to all the Millenial food snobs out there who refuse to eat at a Pizza Hut, but rather overpay for some wannabe Neapolitan pie made with the same chemicals and dough conditioners found in chain pizzerias, just made in a wood oven vs. conveyor belt oven, you're all delusional. Honestly, sometimes I'd rather eat at a McDonalds and know the real nutritional content vs. going to some hipster privately owned burger joint that serves burgers with 4x the fat, with bacon grease mixed in. That's why it tastes better, and they don't even have to report the nutritional info. Get a clue folks. The Millenial gen are brainwashed.