This week, I reached out for a Double Cheesy Crust Pan Pizza, new from the No. 1 pie twirler, Pizza Hut, with 16,700 restaurants ringing doorbells and delivering love ‘round the world.
From the creators of the Big New Yorker, Bigfoot, Dippin' Strips, Meat Lovers, Twisted Crust, and, good grief...Hot Dog Pizza, The Hut is celebrating its 60th anniversary by unleashing this mashup of Stuffed Crust and Pan Pizza, two of its biggest sellers ever.
It's just one more example of Pizza Hut's obsession — or fetish — with finding more ways to pile more cheese on a round slab of dough. This is either Pizza Hut at its most inventive, or a cry from help from Research & Development.
Here's the Double Cheesy Crust Pan Pizza breakdown: a large one-topping pan pizza with an extra ring of melted cheese inside the parmesan crust, topped with parmesan oregano. I played the chalk and picked pepperoni, the people's favorite, for my topping.
Total calories: 280 (per slice). Fat grams: 12. Sodium: 450 mg. Carbs: 34 g. Dietary fiber: 1 g. Protein: 10 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $14.99. Your mileage and money may vary.
The Pizza Hut creative team unlocked its vault and pulled out Pan Pizza, introduced in 1980, and Stuffed Crust, birthdate 1995, and brainstormed the Double Cheesy Crust Pan Pizza.
This pie showcases Pizza Hut’s greatest strength: a genius for developing cutesy new products that keep their customers interested. It also exposes the Hut's most glaring weakness: the Olive Garden syndrome of everything tasting the same. Even the masters of "Hide the Cheese" can do only so much with the trinity of pizza makings, mozzarella, tomato sauce, and crust.
But when you're as successful as Pizza Hut, operating in 100 countries, everything tasting the same also can be a strength. Practically anywhere on Earth, a top-quality, dependable-tasting Pizza Hut pizza is only a local call away.
The Double Cheesy Crust Pan Pizza has more than the usual dosage of cheese in, on top, and around the crust. Handle with care, you don't want greasy fingers. The parmesan oregano dusting delivers a surprising salty touch. The slightly sweet pan crust drives this pizza home.
This isn't Pizza Hut's first fling with stuffing cheese in the crust of pan pizza. The Hut debuted a bare bones version in 2009. Sign of the times, that Stuffed Crust Pan Pizza cost $10.99.
On the matter of value, the Double Cheesy Crust Pan Pizza is one of Pizza Hut's priciest pies ever. You might want to check the sign in your local Pizza Hut's window: large 2-topping pizzas for $7.99, takeout only.
Ken Hoffman reviews a new fast-food restaurant item every Wednesday. Have a suggestion or a drive-thru favorite? Let Ken know in the comments or on Twitter.