FAST FOOD FLASHBACK: Pizza Hut Priazzo Italian Pie

Pizza Hut Priazzo

We’ve all got our favorite foods. If I had to pick just one thing to eat for the rest of my life, it would definitely be Chicago-style deep dish pizza.

I mean, it’s pretty much the perfect food – you’ve got an infinite amount of cheese to work with, all kinds of sauces to add to the equation and a practically unlimited number of topping possibilities. Which is why I’ve always been surprised that pies of the like have so seldom been offered by the big name carry-out pizza chains. Granted, they take longer to prepare, but you mean to tell me there isn’t any consumer demand for stuffed pies and that middle America would rather eat pan pizzas with pigs-in-a-blanket crust instead?

Yes, we do have quasi-deep dish pies available today at Little Caesar’s and Papa John’s, and in the past, big name chains like Domino’s have given the concept the old collegiate try. But it’s always been a bit suspicious that Pizza Hut has largely steered clear of deep dish offerings over the last 15 years.

Indeed, the last time Pizza Hut even attempted to go national with the idea was in 2002 with their short-lived Chicago Dish Pizza…which, as fate would have it, was far from the Hut’s first tango with heavyweight pies.

Enter the Priazzo Italian Pie.

In 1985 Pizza Hut unveiled not one but four deep dish offerings. Now technically, they weren’t 100 percent traditional deep dish pizzas – rather, they were sort of a fusion between a deep dish and a stuffed pizza. Regardless, the format of the pies were the same: you had one layer of sauce, meat and extra ingredients with another layer of crust atop it, which was then doused with even more sauce, cheese and toppings.

There were four variations, as briefly outlined below:

ROMA – Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, beef, pork and onion topped with mozzarella and cheddar.

FLORENTINE – Ham and spinach topped with cheddar, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan and Romano cheese.

NAPOLI – A mix of cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan and Romano cheese topped with tomato slices.

MILANO – Bacon, beef, pork, pepperoni and Italian sausage topped with mozzarella and cheddar.

Interestingly, some Internet sleuthing suggests the Hut actually tested a fifth Priazzo product – a sausage, pepper and onion strewn variation codenamed the Portofino. Regardless, all four (five?) pies were not long for this earth, and the Priazzo line-up got 86’ed – ironically enough – in 1986.

Internet hearsay and musings from old-school Hut employees indicate the pies were just too much of a hassle to remain menu staples. The pies took much longer to prepare and required costlier equipment to cook correctly, and apparently fast food consumers circa ‘85 just weren’t keen on pizzas that took upwards of 40 minutes to prepare.

Still, the Priazzo pies have developed quite the cult following over the years, perhaps because it’s a concept that neither Pizza Hut nor its top competitors have since attempted to resurrect. But with so many retro-food-fanatics rediscovering the Priazzo online, is it only a matter of time until Pizza Hut is goaded into relaunching the fabled array of proto-artisanal pies?

Hey, if Internet fandom can bring Crystal Pepsi back to life, anything’s possible.

17 thoughts to “FAST FOOD FLASHBACK: Pizza Hut Priazzo Italian Pie”

  1. I’ve mentioned this and dropped many hints many times on Pizza Hut social media but to no avail. I’m glad to see you post this so that more can be aware of the Priazzo’s greatness that was. I’d give anything for a Milano right now I remember so well from my high school years! Trying any authentic Chicago deep dish pizza is definitely on my bucket list. I’ve come this close to ordering a Lou Malnatis mail order pizza but $90 for 3 always scares me back to reality lol

  2. The vintage commercial makes me laugh… What a bunch of hooey! “Authentic Italian”… Hah!

    …but if it tastes good… Hey! I guess all is forgiven.

  3. Priazzo is probably my favorite fast food that is no longer available….not even close. I’ve long hoped that there would be some sort of middle road that would deal with the demands of the business.
    Limiting the Priazzo to carry out only; limiting the days or times of availability, etc.
    Or, share the recipe. Priazzo was that great, not enough to say good.

  4. Probably the same reason why Pizza Hut discontinued their lasagna. Just too much prep time and work. Shame because that lasagna was really good!

  5. as former PH employee from central NY 88-93 we still made priazzo’s till about 1990 but not in any of the variations mentioned. we did make them in the then new meat lovers but we discouraged it and tried to limit to 3 toppings. not many pieces of specialty gear was needed except the pans and heating pins but even the pan pizza pans could be used. THE dough used is the thin n crispy recipe which they tried to discontinue back then but seeing as that was the original PH dough that won’t ever happen. even though we stopped making them the employees who knew about them… such as myself would make them for ourselves. I wish at times that I worked there just so i would be able to make one to take home.

    1. But the thin n crispy recipe did change. It wasn’t cracker thin like it is now. It was a delicious thinner crust that made for a great pizza without a lot of dough that was crispy on the bottom and chewy biting into it. We should just open our own pizza place with Pizza Hut’s discarded recipes!

  6. I was just talking about these with my family. Thank you, because I forgot the names of the others besides Florentine, which was my favorite. I still think about it. So, I’ve been searching for the recipe to copy it. Seriously- those were wonderful and I didn’t care how long I had to wait for it. Pizza Hut, bring these, and the P’Zones, and the spaghetti, and lasagna back!!!

  7. I worked at pizza hut in the 80’s (in Ontario, Canada)… I’m not sure who came up with a 40 minute time frame to make the priazzo’s, but they took same amount of time as a supreme pizza. I think the draw back was the price and not allowing substitutions, they were more expensive (than average pizza) but well worth it. It was the introduction of the triple cheese blend on the top. When Florentine was discontinued we featured it one Friday night .. crazy busy that night bittersweet goodbye to a great offering.

  8. My family LOVED this pizza and we often talk about it and how we wish they would bring it back. Maybe if they did we would eat there again. Until then we will stay with Dominos.

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