Pizza Hut Updated Its Original Pan Pizza (and We Tried It)
Today’s "Netflix and chill culture" has turned delivery into the go-to trend for restaurants (even Brazilian steakhouses). Pizza joints, of course, have been in on the delivery game for decades, so long, in fact, that chains like Pizza Hut have successfully straddled both coming to the customer and being a destination with its sit-down parlors dotting the country. Certainly for me, a child of the ‘80s and ‘90s, my most vivid Pizza Hut memories involve family dinners, birthday parties, and post-soccer season celebrations held under the brand’s iconic red roof. While the economic choice was usually the hand-tossed crust style, on special occasions we’d opt for Pizza Hut’s signature premium option: The Original Pan Pizza. This week, Pizza Hut announced it was updating that classic pie by way of some new technology and toppings. Will it live up to its predecessor?
According to Pizza Hut, after nearly 40 years on the menu (one of the company’s oldest offerings) the Pan Pizza was ready to have a little work done. That included a three-year development process which culminated with a change to the sauce and cheese ratio, as well as reengineering the actual pan the pizza cooks in to optimize crust texture.
"The updated Original Pan Pizza is baked in a newly engineered pan, which perfects the golden-brown, crispy buttery crust, and is topped with a new blend of cheese and sauce to enhance the flavor and complement the chewy center. The finished product is the result of a lengthy innovation journey Pizza Hut embarked on, focused on combining art, science and culinary expertise to bring the taste of the Original Pan Pizza to the next level," a statement from Pizza Hut reads.
I’ll be honest, much of New York City is a virtual Pizza Hut desert (I'm unable to order delivery or pick up anywhere near my home in Brooklyn or my office in Manhattan) so it’s been years since most of my colleagues and I have tasted the previous version of the Original Pan Pizza. That said, the new Original Pan Pizza — is it still "original" anymore? — seemed to deliver on the product we could (vaguely) recall.
Here are some comments from Food & Wine staff who tasted either the plain cheese or pepperoni pies Pizza Hut provided to our office:
"Fluffy as I remember the personal size Pizza Hut pizzas of my childhood."
"Very fluffy. Would use as a mattress if given the opportunity"
"The dough is more focaccia-like than crispy."
"I'd say the crust is slightly crispier than I remember."
"Extremely cheesy, the crust is definitely buttery, good pepperoni ratio."
"They definitely were generous with the pepperoni, which I appreciate."
"There's almost a seamless ring of pepperonis around the circumference."
"I like the spiciness of the pepperoni, it seems zestier than most chains."
Others commented that the pizza was a bit greasier than they might have liked and that the all-cheese pizza could use a bit more sauce. For the most part, it reminded everyone of the Pizza Hut pizza they'd had in the past, meaning this new iteration has seemingly avoided losing its identity.
The updated Original Pan Pizza is available at Pizza Hut locations nationwide and, as of this writing, a large two-topping pizza is being offered for $7.99 when ordered online.