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What About This?

By Wayne William Cipriano

Just because a person has a vowel at the end of his last name doesn’t necessarily mean he is of Italian descent. And just because a person is of Italian descent doesn’t necessarily mean he is an expert on pizza. But it certainly helps. It may be a genetic thing. Who knows?

All the cooks in our family, which is a considerable number even if you leave out the extended relations, make excellent pizzas. Genetic? Who knows?

Each of their pizzas are different, some quite different, but all subscribe to the unwritten laws of pizza which are rather vague, but absolutely prohibit weird toppings such as pineapple, shrimp, artichokes, and so on.

The pizzas our family members make are all delicious and each is far superior to any commercial pizza available throughout America- made on the spot by hand or machine-made and shipped on ice. And, as we all know, there is a hierarchy of commercial pizza quality; some a cardboard-like crust under a sweetened tomato sauce blanket garnished by a sprinkling of rubber cheese, some not bad. At the undisputed apex of that commercial hierarchy is Pizza Hut’s Grand Offering.

Yes, everyone who is willing or unable to scratch out a pizza on their own like an Italian has a favorite commercial pizza, some from pizza shops and some from grocery store freezers. And I imagine some prefer brands other than Pizza Hut. These people are, unfortunately, for themselves and their families, in deeply unmitigated error. There is no commercial pizza that even equals Pizza Hut’s Monster Supreme with everything on it including anchovies, let alone surpass it.

And thus, it was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of the Pizza Hut shop in Ava. This was the shop at which Renee’ stopped to buy two (yes, TWO) pizzas whenever she and Rosalie left me home and went “shopping” for the entire day. Not homemade in the Italian tradition of our family, but Renee’s heart was in the right place and the frosty cold ones served alongside went a long way in mitigation.

True, if one was armed and threatened the employees at our Ava Pizza Hut, they would desecrate a pizza by placing things like pineapple slices and such on top, but even then, a Pizza Hut with ridiculous toppings still smoked other pizza making competitors in terms of taste.

What I heard regarding the closing of the Ava Pizza Hut was that the holding company (NPC International) that owns the Pizza Hut brand and franchises it, has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy which protects it from creditors who might demand a full sell-off and force it out of business, while NPC reorganizes itself (usually by arranging to pay creditors less than owed and to do so over long periods of time). But I also heard that the Ava Pizza Hut is permanently closed regardless of how the Chapter Eleven turns out as its closure was part of the bankruptcy agreement. Who really knows what’s really going on?

I do not know anything of the business practices of NPC nor our local Pizza Hut. I do not know how much the Covid-19 pandemic affected Pizza Hut’s business and caused the problem or if the problem was more deeply ingrained and merely highlighted by Covid-19. I do think that some Pizza Huts somewhere will continue to operate. Just not here. In any case, we all hope that the city recoups the $4800.00 monthly utility bill that our local Pizza Hut owed.

What a drag that Renee’ and Rosalie will now have to scour the surrounding towns and cities for a Pizza Hut from which to pick up two (TWO) Monster Supremes with everything including anchovies whenever they “shop”! And should such a search prove fruitless, will the girls try to pass off a competitor’s pale attempts as two (TWO) from Pizza Hut, perhaps housing them in old Pizza Hut boxes, or telling some tale about being robbed on the way home of the boxes but saving the pizzas?

What far-flung repercussions will develop from this sad closing of one small pizza shop in one small middle American city? Drone pizza delivery from far away? A dearth of anchovies? Internet pizza lessons in Italian?

Who knows?