24 years ago I worked at pizza hut..I was a certified pizza maker (that meant you were skilled enough to make the dough not just top the pizzas). I was in school and it was a great job, with co-workers who really took pride in our product. We used to make the doughs completely from scratch (although a couple items were pre measured). We'd set timers and throw out dough twice a day and re-make it.
Then they had real italian sausage (although the pork topping was aready the cr** it is today). By the time I had left that job they stopped using real sausage...too many law suits. The also stopped using pizza ovens and switched to a conveyor belt ovens where every pizza cooked for exactly 7 minutes. That then changed what kind of toppings they could put on it, everything had to be done in the 7 min..
Each time Pizza Hut got bought and sold the new owners made "improvments" that took the product one more step away from a good product.Unforunately I think ALOT of it's choices were driven from their legal departments.
While on vacation last month we ate at a pizza hut and I have to say it was worse than any pizza I've ever had! The thin crust appeared to be a premade crust like you can buy at the grocery store. You couldn't tell what the meats were.
For me it's sad to see what has become of Pizza Hut. It was a great place to work when I was a kid!
As to your orginal question which is better....the independents are always the best until law suits ruin them too.
Usually, if we are getting pizza I will opt for an independent for local chain. Here in chicago we have a number of great choices. If I am stuck ordering from a large chain though I will always choose Papa John's or even Domino's over Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut is the worst pizza out there. The crusts usually taste stale or are so soaked with grease and their sausage is terrible. Seems that all major chains have really bad sausage. I wonder why.
I lived in Kenosha, Wisconsin for 18 years, and that is a pizza-lover's town to be sure. You could have a different pizza every day of the year: wine in the sauce or not; fennel in the sausage or not; thick crust, chewy crust, thin crust.... you get the picture. Ah, for a few slices of Ruffolo's pizza now! Mmmmm....
Although I'm sure I see Shakey's through the haze of my college days--it was a college hang-out and a place to drink beer--it also had some of the best pizza I have ever had and it had a wonderful ambiance about it. I sure miss Shakey's! The crust was really thin and crisp.
My first 7 years were spent in Sacramento Cal and Shakeys was the pizza of choice...the original is in Sac.
Little Rock Arkansas has a Shakeys also, not as good but better than most.
Bruno's Little Italy had a great pizza pie...hand tossed in a kid window....
OK, the best pizza is one I've made myself. That aside, we usually order Pizza Hut because we re not in the delivery area of the local Papa John's.
Sometimes, it's not about "good" pizza, it's all about "bad" pizza - a little greasy and thin. There used to be a chain in IL called Hungry Howie's. You could get a giant pizza for something $5 and it was bad. But it went really well with a beer and a tight budget (they were found primarily near colleges). They're all OOB now (went under before we moved to CA - where, Mr. Puck aside, there is no good pizza to be had)...sometimes I really crave a Hungry Howie's pizza.
So if we want good pizza, we make it or go for one at a local restaurant. Sometimes, though, we want junk food and Pizza Hut is certainly that if nothing else.
I agree on two fronts: Pizza Hut used to be a lot better, and the independents are the only one's who care even a little about what they are doing.
DeBord: Remember Pizzeria Uno BEFORE it became a chain? As a kid, I once waited in line for an hour to get in there. Now I can get it in the frozen section at Kroger. Except it ***** .
Pizza is best when it is made by a person who truly cares, has real passion, and not only uses fresh ingredients, but precious few of them. True Neopolitan pizza blows the doors off anything America makes, sad but true. Only homemade (with extra love) even stands a chance in comparison.
Pizza Hut is horrible. We usually do Domino's though I'm not crazy about it either. There's a real NY pizza place out here in L.A. called Joe Peep's, the best here so far. Up in Seattle, there's a shop called Pagliacci's, amazing stuff.
Okay, let's just face it. There's no good pizza (Neapolitan style, at least) anywhere west of New York City. I grew up there and ate plenty of good and bad pizza. Whenever I felt a "pizza panic" I would buy a slice wherever I happened to be. They were all independent neighborhood places. And the pizza had to be eaten there so that the crust is cripy. I'm really peevish about soggy/saggy crusts.
he first time I ever went to a Pizza Hut was in college in PA. Yuckie. Took other people's words that Domino's was worse so I never had it. I very rarely eat pizza after moving away from NYC. If I have to eat pizza now, I usually go to this place in Oakland that makes their dough from organic flour. Although that aspect is attractive, I go simply because they make the pizzas in a real pizza oven.
I know I'll be getting lots of flack for my first statement. So lay it on. I'm a native New Yorker and I know what I'm talking about.