Forget the emerald coastline, crystal waters, and balmy Caribbean breezes—the Dominican Republic’s new claim to fame, set to excite a stampede of muffin-topped American tourists, may well be Pizza Hut’s Double Hut pizza.
Why settle for one stuffed crust when you can have two? That’s right: This thing is kind of like a pizza wheel. You’ve got your outer ring stuffed with mozzarella, then an inner ring stuffed the same way (another unappetizing analogy: pizza doughnut).
I know what you’re thinking: “But then you’ve got a hole in the middle.”
Uh-uh. Pizza Hut fills that with a cup of marinara dipping sauce.
Despite some of the breathless “Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe they did that” gushing that’s greeted this junk-food monstrosity in the blogosphere, the Double Hut pizza isn’t entirely new—Mexico apparently had it first.
It’s not even the wildest of the mutant stuffed-crust Pizza Hut pizzas that’ve popped up around the globe.
Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of the Pizza Hut stuffed-crust pizza. It was on March 26, 1995, on the cusp of the NCAA’s Final Four weekend, that America’s No. 1 pizza chain unveiled what it called a “revolution” in the pizza industry. The $45 million ad campaign featured TV spots with Donald and Ivana Trump, as well as Ringo Starr and the Monkees, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
The stuffed-crust pizza was a hit, increasing sales for Pizza Hut in the U.S. by $300 million (something like what the Doritos Locos Taco would do for Taco Bell years later). Americans were hooked on the pie, even though just one slice of the Meat Lover’s version packs 440 calories—220 of them from fat alone. But one could argue that Pizza Hut never really went full-on crazy with it in the States. At least, not when you compare it with what the chain’s been stuffing in its crusts overseas.
Sure, Pizza Hut tried to outsize its fast-food competitors, which were dishing up things like a “sandwich” made with fried chicken instead of bread (KFC) or a foot-long cheeseburger (Carl’s Jr.). A year or so ago, Americans could call up and order a Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza, a kind of monkey bread pull-apart pie that seems to have been downsized a bit into the Cheesy Bites pizza.
No one but New Zealanders, to be sure, is likely to line up for CheeZee Marmite Stuffed Crust pizza, but you gotta imagine no less an American icon than Homer Simpson going into sort of a drooling, catatonic state at the sight of New Zealand’s Chili Dog Stuffed Crust pie. (Even those straitlaced Brits got a Hot Dog Stuffed Crust pizza—“with FREE Mustard Drizzle!”—in 2012.)
To really get wild with the stuffed crust, though, book your passage to Asia and the Middle East. In Japan, they’ve got crust stuffed with salmon cream; in Hong Kong, an ooze of salmon roe and cream cheese (ringing a “deluxe” seafood pie topped with crayfish, scallops, shrimp, and clams); in Indonesia, a crust filled with chicken fingers and honey mustard. In Taiwan, there’s this thing called the Pineapple Bun Stuffed Crust Pizza, which, as far as I can tell, is really kind of like ringing your pizza with doughnuts.
But that’s not even the most outrageous Pizza Hut pizza in the Far East. Last year Pizza Huts in Singapore unveiled the Double Sensation Pizza, which, according to The Daily Meal, “is so complex it takes a while to describe: The pizza is separated into two rings, an inner ring and an outer ring. The outer ring’s crust has melted mozzarella, cheddar, and Parmesan oozing out of it, and between that and ring number two is a pizza topped with cheese, salsa, bell peppers, mushrooms, and turkey ham. The inner ring is stuffed with chicken sausage, which itself is stuffed with cheese. Inside that ring is a pepper Alfredo sauce, smoked chicken, and slices of zucchini. Oh, and at the center of it all is a cherry."
The most outlandish, gag-inducing stuffed-crust pizzas, though, have to be those that have invaded the Middle East. Exhibit A: Take a gander at the bizarre Cone Crust Pizzas that debuted in the Middle East a couple years ago, whirling pinwheels of dough crammed with admixtures like chicken and cream cheese.
Then there’s the king of American fast-food mash-ups: the Cheeseburger Crust Pizza. (Yeah, it’s exactly what it sounds like: Each slice comes with its own mini cheeseburger nested in the crust.) That beast debuted in the Middle East, then inexplicably popped up in the U.K. last year.
In any case, I think it’s telling, what happened when I plugged the ad headline for the Dominican Republic’s new Double Hut pizza into my Mac translator. The ad says, “Este antojo viene doble!” Antojo is supposed to translate to “craving,” but when I typed it in, what I got was, “This ill comes double.”