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The ark of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" on "Antiques Roadshow"

When Pizza Hut launched its newest menu item in the summer of 1985 under the non-existent Italian word Priazzo the chain quickly corrected anyone who declared it a new type of pizza.

The Priazzo was unlike any pizza Americans had ever seen. With two layers of batter, hot peppers, mushrooms, onions, spinach, ham, bacon, tomatoes and a full pound of cheese, Pizza Hut called it a cake ; others called it a strange alchemy of pizza, quiche and lasagna. PepsiCo, who owned the franchise, hoped it would increase sales by 10 percent.

It did. For a while. But there were problems with a pizza chain that claimed to serve something other than pizza.

The Priazzo, which spent two years in development, followed the successful launch of Pizza Hut's Personal Pan Pizza in 1

983. This menu item, which was intended to appeal to customers who only wanted one portion during their lunch break, was a great success and the company's midday business increased by 70 percent. At Priazzo, however, the restaurant went in the opposite direction: it expanded an option for dinner and limited its availability to after 4:00 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends.

Although the name was nonsensical – it was the invention of Charles Brymer, a marketing consultant who also called the Pontiac Fiero – Pizza Hut used names of Italian cities for the three variations. There were Roma who had a mix of meat (hot peppers, Italian sausage and pork) along with mozzarella and the very non-Italian cheddar cheese, as well as onions and mushrooms; The Milano had all the Roma meat plus beef and bacon, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, but no mushrooms or onions; and the good-natured Florentine with spinach, ham and five different types of cheese, including ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, romano and cheddar. (A fourth cake, the vegetarian Napoli, was added later.)

All cakes were filled with ingredients and then baked with a layer of dough with tomato sauce and cheese. A small priazzo was sold for about $ 8.05, a medium for $ 10.95, and a large for about $ 13.75. But you have the full Priazzo experience and nothing special, because customers were not allowed to change or replace rubbers – or more precisely, filling – because the excess of ingredients was the whole point of the Priazzo. However, guests could request that the ingredients be removed.

"Most Italian homes have their own version," said Arthur Gunther, then President of Pizza Hut, of the Chicago Tribune about the idea behind the Priazzo in 1985. "We were looking for those which we believed would apply in the United States. " In Italy, such double-crusted cakes are known as Pizza Rusticha although the sauce and cheese could only be applied over the top crust in the Priazzo.

Based on a $ 15 million marketing campaign and commercial. The Priazzo was shot in Italy and accompanied by music by the famous Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini. He made a lively debut in June 1985, around the same time that Pizza Hut and other chains came home. Although it wasn't exactly a deep-dish pizza, it promised something of a similar gastronomic substance, and Pizza Hut hoped that this would attract people who didn't have access to table-top pizzas outside of Chicago.

The Priazzo won some early followers who enjoyed the generous and complex presentation of the court. A notable exception was Evelyne Slomon, cooking teacher and author from 1984 The Pizza Book: Everything You Need to Know About The World's Greatest Cake . She declined an offer to support the pizza and noted that real Italians would rarely put so much meat in their cakes. Others observed that pizza is one of the words commonly used for cake in Italian, which Pizza Hut insisted that their "Italian cake" was not a pizza that was more for Linguists was meant.

Nevertheless, they achieved their goal. In early 1986, PepsiCo reported a 12 percent increase in sales at Pizza Hut, which was partially supported by the Priazzo. But his success would not last. In the relaxed atmosphere of a pizza chain, consumers wanted their typical tariff. After the initial curiosity subsided, not many customers returned to the Priazzo for pizza evenings. There were also anecdotal reports from employees who found the thick cakes too cumbersome and time-consuming to deal with.

However, the priazzo disappeared in 1991 and was last mentioned in print by Pizza Hut in 1993. Pizza surplus was later taken up by their filled crust pizza, which was introduced in 1995 and has remained a perennial favorite. This could partly be due to the fact that Pizza Hut was content to call it what it was: a pizza.

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