So maybe you thought Pizza Hut had disappeared with Roxette and 1927 (the band, not the year). Well it didn’t. My local Pizza Hut has been in the same spot, wearing the same 80s red brick outfit and opening the same doors ever since I was wearing a ra-ra skirt with a wide elastic belt. Back then, the highlight for me was the great big swinging plastic balls of ginger bread men (did I dream those?). I don’t remember the pizza.
Anyway, for their tenth birthday, my twins (happy birthday darlings), having heard the words “all you can eat soft serve with sprinkles”, decided on Pizza Hut for their birthday lunch.
We arrived later than expected but still within acceptable lunch hours; about 1:30. The place was almost empty. And echoey. Outside it was a suitably dead-of-winter 7 degrees and inside it might have been a miserable 2 degrees warmer.
The greeting we received upon arrival wasn’t particularly warm either. But I sort of excused the front of house/counter girl because she was teen-aged and sullen, pallid, underwhelm is probably her shtick. She gave us all cold, hard chairs.
Pizza is not meant to be sullen though; it’s meant to be cheerful. Especially if it comes from a place named for it. If it were Pasta Hut, I could excuse the luke-warm, spare triangles of grumpy, overdone dough with cubes of ham on. I could maybe even excuse the lack of said pizza. It should be called ‘A Bit of Pizza, But Not All That Much Hut’.
It could also be called ‘Grubby Hut’. Everything from the floor to the table to the chairs was grotty. The cutlery was greasy and the toilets were beyond grubby; the sort of loos where you instruct your sons to touch nothing but their doodles and where you have to hold your daughters above the toilet seats and hope their wees don’t go on too long (very good for core strength which is a bonus I suppose given the calorific setting).
You can upgrade your ‘all you can eat’ to ‘all you can eat and drink’, which is exciting because you get to drink your body weight in post-mix, watch your children go potty and knock said drinks onto floor (bonus no-guilt policy due to floor already being sticky).
If you want salad, you get to choose from an interesting combination of corn, brown-edged lettuce, corn chips, grated cheese, cucumber and segments of polystyrene disguised as tomato. Oh and I can’t forget the cubes of tinned beetroot that had a unique fizzy-fermented thrill about them. They say ferments are great for the gut so, yeah.
The pasta was enjoyed by most of the children, who were only going through the motions before they could hit the dessert bar, with it’s cubes of (WTF?) blue jelly. One of the blue jelly cubes somehow ended up on the floor, quite possibly because is had a life of its own, or a radioactive current. It stayed creepily in its perfect cube shape. Anyone with a blue tongue has been directed to flush the loo twice after urinating.
The soft serve was, my husband said, good enough to transport him back to his youth. The highlight.
The highlight for me was the bit when I left the building half way through (to get coats for all the cold people) and was reminded that I wasn’t trapped in a time warp, and that air could be fresh.
I am not in the habit of doing negative reviews; I am of the “if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing at all” ilk. But for fuck sake Pizza Hut, you’ve been in this game a while, you should be getting this right by now. You were an icon once, you could embrace the full 80s time warp thing and really tap into our nostalgia. 80s is the new retro. The nice man who was working in your kitchen looked embarrassed to be cooking for you. I was embarrassed for him. Yes you’re decent value but cheap doesn’t have to meant shithouse. Cosy and clean yourself up, bring back the red gingham, pop some Martika on your hi-fi, serve some decent food and you’ll get the 40 somethings flocking in with their kids. You could bring Douggie the Pizza Boy back, or Tim Shaw, there’s nothing like a bit of nost with your nosh. Some Noshtalgia, We could all sing Welcome Back!
Otherwise, just stop. You’re clearly tired, you’ve lost the love, so maybe just stop.
Is that too harsh?
By the way, I saw a brand new Roxette record today – their best of. And the other day the car radio played a 1927 song (Tell Me A Story) and it stacks up, it really does. We were all singing along.
Can’t resist posting this one either. Oh the good ol’ days.