In 1958, brothers Frank and Dan Carney borrowed $600 from their mom to open a pizza parlor on the campus of their school, Wichita State University. The tiny slant-roofed building had room for only 9 letters (including spaces) on the existing sign, so the hut-like joint became …Pizza Hut.
By 1973, the operation had grown to 1000 restaurants all over the world. In 1977, PepsiCo purchased the business, and by 1986 had expanded it to over 5000 stores. There were 10,000 Pizza Huts by 1994, and PepsiCo sold the chain to Tricon Global Restaurants which eventually became Louisville-based YUM! Brands, owning and operating 36,000 Pizza Huts, KFCs and Taco Bells in over 117 countries and territories. Hopefully mom got a return on her $600.
It's no secret that the Rehoboth Beach Pizza Hut is getting a little long in the tooth. I always worried a little when I'd drive by in the off-season and not see lot of cars around the building. I stopped being as concerned when I discovered that 60% of their business is delivery. But nobody knows better than they do that a revamp of the interior is needed. In fact, I'm told that they're planning on that very thing in the near future. I'm not sure if that ever happened.
In the meantime, they continue to crank out their signature pizzas. And every one is exactly the same. I respect consistency, and I believe that a loyal customer base is formed when a product is consistently available and consistently the same. If you like Pizza Hut's moderately priced pies, you won't be disappointed with the Rehoboth Beach store.
There are 4 varieties of crust: Hand-tossed (like a traditional pizza you might get near the boardwalk), Pan (in the style of the Chicago Deep Dish persuasion), Stuffed (cheese is rolled into the rim of the pie) and Thin & Crispy (a crunchy, cracker-like crust). The toppings are generous, especially for the price. On our most recent visit, we got the Thin & Crispy Pepperoni-Lover and the Thin & Crispy Italian Trio (sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms).
They have of course jumped onto the -zone and -boli bandwagon (basically a pizza folded over onto itself and baked). They have their own P'Zone (like a Calzone, but with a “P”), with varieties including meat-filled, pepperoni-filled and supreme, stuffed with sausage, green peppers and onions.
Appetizers are fairly typical, obviously frozen, but a quality product and well-prepared. There are nine variously sauced choices. There's also an AYCE salad bar that is just barely worth the price they charge for it. On each night we visited, the service was friendly and attentive.
Is there better pizza in town? Well, that depends on what you like. If you like Pizza Hut, the Rehoboth installation puts out a product exactly like all the other Pizza Huts. Would I order it for delivery on a rainy night? Probably. It is what it is. And, in fact, if you like really thin crust, their T&C is by far the thinnest and crispiest here at the beach. And definitely the least expensive.
The Rehoboth Beach Pizza Hut is located at 19068 Coastal Highway on a pad in front of the Walmart at the intersection of the Highway and Old Landing Road. There's lots of parking.
Call them for delivery, pickup, or to check their hours at (302) 645-2500. They do not serve alcohol, but you can check out their menu and order pizza online by clicking here. (L., D.) Price Range: Inexpensive.