By Sheryl Oswalt
I have to admit that when I told people my next review was Pizza Hut I got more than one laugh. The reaction was like I was going to review McDonalds. They obviously hadn’t had a chance to dine at the Pizza Hut in Schoolcraft! I surprised general manager Lilly Bowens when I arrived. She knew me as the lady that used to eat there a couple times a week with the guys from Farm Depot.
Lilly has been manager at the Schoolcraft location since it opened in August of 2012. In the six months I worked in Schoolcraft, I have to say that I never had a bad meal there. I don’t think you can beat their Lunch in a Crunch menu that includes 10 different items (pick two) with a soft drink (with free refills) for $6.99. The deal applies to carry out and delivery as well.
Our waitress Casey got so she knew what all of us wanted and sometimes brought us our drinks when she saw us come in. We all had a couple favorite combinations so she did have to check what it would be that day. Crunch options include their individual 9-inch pizzas, sandwiches, soups, wings, salad or pasta; just to name a few. I have to say their tomato basil soup with breadsticks and a salad was an excellent lunch meal in the winter. I was told that the owner set her goal at making their soup better than any at Panera; and I would have to say that she met her goal. You probably wouldn’t think of Pizza Hut when you had a craving for great soup – but you should!
Pizza Hut has been part of the landscape as long as I can remember so I decided to do a little research. The first Pizza Hut opened 56 years ago in Wichita, Kansas and has grown to the world’s largest pizza company. To think it all started when two college-aged brothers borrowed $600 from their mother! The red roof design was made part of their brand image in 1971 and remains part of their heritage today. (http://blog.pizzahut.com/our-story/)
Lilly indicated that their location is part of the Trigo Hospitality Group that also includes locations in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Grand Rapids. They are proud of their focus on maintaining a restaurant feel. Their salads are very well put together and are served in chilled bowls with a chilled fork. It’s a great touch. Their lunch might be fast but this is not your typical fast food meal.
Not only does their location support the community by participating in Lions Club projects and school fund raising efforts, they employ about 18 high school students from the Schoolcraft and Vicksburg area. While their student employees tend to “graduate” out, about 25% of their staff has been there since the opening in 2012.
Some of their most popular items are the Sunday spaghetti dinners, broccoli cheddar soup and their sun dried tomato dressing. They have half-off appetizers after 8 p.m. and they also have pasta specials. Another feature most people don’t realize is that they also have a catering menu and can help you with banquets and meeting meals. Take out family size pasta dishes are a great value as well. For those of you in the Vicksburg area, Lilly says they will deliver there too!
If you haven’t been to a Pizza Hut in a while, I suggest you give this location a try. Their menu is very extensive and it’s not the Pizza Hut of the past. Along with the classic pizza flavors you have come to expect, you don’t just choose a crust style. You have sauce options, sauce drizzles and crust edge flavors to consider. If you’re looking for something light, they have great salads and they also have a group of “Skinny Flavor” pizzas offering lower calorie options. If you are someone that has trouble making up your mind; this might not be the place for you!
I personally enjoyed eating there because of the variety and the value. The guys from work never left hungry whether it was a bottomless bowl of soup or a pizza. I typically had left-overs for a second lunch and we all enjoyed having a large drink for the afternoon thanks to their free refills. That’s a lot of lunch for $6.99!