REVIEW: Pizza Hut Chicago Tavern Style Pizza

As a born and bred New Yorker, just hearing “Chicago-style pizza” puts me in a fighting mood. Deep-dish pizza is not pizza! It’s a casserole! How many times do we need to have this debate? How long will it take for everyone to accept the plain, unvarnished truth?

Then I read that Pizza Hut has released a Chicago Tavern-style pizza, which has a thin crust, not unlike a certain other type of pizza that gets enthusiastically consumed in my house on a nearly weekly basis. Ah well, I guess I need to put away the boxing gloves and nunchaku and give this thing a fair shot. You have a choice of Double Pepperoni, Pesto Margherita, Spicy Chicken Sausage, or Ultimate. I went with the Double Pepperoni since I didn’t want the different toppings to complicate the eating experience.

My first thought was that the crust was actually not as thin as I was expecting; I think Domino’s has had thin crust pizza with thinner crust than this. Aside from being a little thinner and cut differently, the Tavern-style pizza is actually very similar to another Pizza Hut product, The Big New Yorker; it has the same parmesan-forward taste. The main differences are that the thinner crust on the Tavern pizza makes for a cheesier bite (although it’s a fairly subtle difference), and the whole thing is a fair bit less greasy.

And yes, I have ordered The Big New Yorker several times, despite being located in NY and having access to actual, authentic NY pizzerias. I can only attribute this to some kind of sophisticated mind control programming on Pizza Hut’s part. I always start dialing the number to Johnny D’s Authentic New York Pizza, then slam the phone down, muttering, “But you can’t Out-Pizza the Hut….”

Ahem, anyway, due to the nonstandard cut, some pieces of the Tavern-style pizza have toppings that go all the way to the edge, while some have a more traditional crusted end. I found the exposed crust, pleasantly studded with air bubbles, was the most fun part of the pizza to eat. It’s just really satisfying on a texture level, almost like eating a cannoli and feeling the crust flake apart under your teeth. That said, it was kind of a bummer that many of the slices in the box were missing this feature.

Also, don’t make the mistake of thinking this is lighter fare because it’s thinner: I ate three pieces, which, while much smaller than three slices of traditional pizza, made me feel like I just ate enough fat and salt for the rest of the week. However, it was not to be the extent of my salt and fat intake for the week because I had some again…the next day. Microwaved.

I know, I know, microwaving pizza—especially thin-crust pizza—is usually a bad idea. I can only argue that I was extremely hungry and impatient and was easily swayed to the dark side. Surprisingly, this pizza holds up pretty well to microwaving. Some of the crust became limp, but the crunchy end pieces were still delightfully crunchy.

On the whole, Pizza Hut’s Chicago Tavern Style Pizza was enjoyable enough to make this New Yorker consider the possibility that maybe good pizza can come from other states. Just don’t try to get me to compliment Detroit-style pizza. I have my limits.

Purchased Price: $12.00
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Double Pepperoni)120 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 15 mg of cholesterol, 290 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrates, and 6 grams of protein.

9 thoughts to “REVIEW: Pizza Hut Chicago Tavern Style Pizza”

  1. Nice review. I may check it out although I have boycotted them temporarily for discontinuing their meatball topping!

  2. Listen, those Chicago deep dish monstrosities and that burnt cheese bread they call Detroit-style pizza can kiss my falafel. A real slice is thin crust and foldable, like a true New York slice from Lombardi’s. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a food snob. In between my slices, you might catch me at a McDonald’s for a Big Mac or a Wendy’s for some chicken nuggets. But those fancy out-of-town things? No thanks! Time to head to da bodega.

      1. There’s nothing to understand, it’s an abomination to good pizza and eating in general. Folding it makes it so most of what comes into contact with your tongue and taste buds is just the bottom of the crust, depriving the person the full taste of the pizza.

        I think non-New Yorkers do it because they think it makes them look more New York, sort of like wearing an off-color Yankees hat.

  3. If you talk to a native Chicagoan (I live with one), they will tell you this is a lot closer to the pizza they typically eat, and that the deep dish casserole pizza is “for tourists.” I am an East Coaster for life, and will always prefer a slice of NY style from some skinny storefront shop named “Mario’s” or “Antonio’s”. However, when in Chicagoland, the Tavern style is pretty great.

    1. They would tell you that Tavern style is more authentic but to steer away from Pizza Hut. Unfortunately this doesn’t do tavern style justice. It looks super greasy.

  4. All pizza is great pizza, Detroit style just happens to be greater.

    But this “tavern style” is very popular in the Midwest, and it’s pretty awesome. Never really heard it dubbed “Chicago Style”, it’s really popular in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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