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Posts from the ‘Saratoga Springs’ Category

Pizza Hut Saratoga Springs

A $20 Pizza Hut gift card has been stashed in the armrest of James’ car for probably the past two years. Just in case, you know? Really, it’s only a gift in the way that buying things for yourself while Christmas shopping can be considered gifts.

Unlike the cards for Olive Garden and Cheesecake Factory, also languishing in their cache between the front seats, I’ve hoped that James would forget that he bought it. Pizza Hut, like Sizzler, feels second-tier, someplace old and tired that I’ve known my whole life. Not necessarily the source of good nostalgia.

Yet during a rain storm, hungry yet hours earlier than normal dinner time you might see Pizza Hut advertised on a sign on I-87 while approaching Saratoga Springs from Montreal. This is no occasion for glitzy trappings or voluminous menus. And maybe it’s a sit-down? Standalone Pizza Huts are a rare breed, at least around NYC. We struck-out with the first location we found on the GPS. It was just a strip mall takeout version like the one I worked at in the summer of 1990. But the counter woman was nicer than I was during my stint and directed us to a full-service one just a block-and-a-half down the street. Why Saratoga Springs is so saturated with Pizza Huts is another issue.

Pizza hut interior

The faded, family-friendly style that I’d been thinking of as dreary turned out to be charming in its refusal to modernize like an uppity Red Lobster. This photo could’ve been taken decades ago: '70s suburban church italics, '80s checkerboard tiles, three-bean salad. The menu wasn’t laminated and photo-driven, but simply a Xeroxed piece of paper listing the basics. There is a small salad bar and pizzas you can order half-and-half—or Hawaiian with no shame.

Pizza hut pizza.CR2

I picked hand-tossed crust because I couldn’t handle the breadiness of pan, and not thin crust because I remember hating having to make it since it was the only style you had to roll through a machine out on demand. This is childhood pizza, sweetish sauce encased in mozzarella, completely inoffensive. The pepperoni had the perfect singed ends and pools of oil. The odd thing, and I hope it’s not a case of my palate maturing, was how bland the ham and pineapple was. Maybe it was always this way.

Pizza hut salad

The most shocking part of the experience was that after paying, we still had 88 cents left on the gift card. I practically spent as much on a lobster roll and naturally sweetened blueberry soda for lunch last week. No wonder Pizza Hut is such a family favorite (with the exception of the tottering elderly couple drinking white wine and Molson in the primo corner booth, the diners were all parents and children). You might not be treated to a bubbly coal oven pie adorned with mozzarella di bufala, and who would expect to for $11.99?

Pizza Hut * 22 Congress St., Saratoga Springs, NY


I agreed to visit Saratoga Springs in a work-related capacity. This means
sight seeing, stopping in Chambers of Commerce, small-talking B&B owners and
the like. No fun, right? All I cared about was finding good food. S.S. is a
prissy sort of place, moneyed and full of beastly, aging, tan women.
Fortunately in March, the place is pretty dead and I could explore my

Our first night in town, we were peeking in the windows of Hattie's when
we witnessed a freaky altercation between a drunk girl and her boyfriend.
She was yelling at some woman for wearing a fur coat, he was trying to get
her to shut up, then completely body slammed her in the alley next to the
restaurant. She was out cold, it was eerie as heck and I was like what are
we supposed to do? I swear, this kind of shit only happens when I'm out of
the city.

During my research, Hattie's immediately jumped out. No horse racing
memorabilia, no lattes, no continental American cuisine. This is a place
known for their fried chicken and other southern specialties. Maybe that's
out of place in upstate New York, but it intrigued me. I do know that it was
run by Hattie herself until her death, and supposedly the recipes are the
same. I can't vouch for consistency or authenticity, but the food was a
definite breath of fresh air.

Of course, I had to get the fried chicken. (This prompted a mini
argument. I thought we could both get fried chicken [with the same two
sides] if we wanted to, but James thinks that's wrong. That two people
shouldn't order the same thing like it indicates ignorance or some sort of
un-cultured-ness. Is this really true?) My two sides were collard greens and
mashed potatoes. I was wary of the succotash since I've only sampled the
canned variety, and the yams sounded good, but I figured I could sneak a few
bites off James's plate. He refused a double order of chicken and opted for
the smothered pork chops, which was my second choice. I think he actually
would've preferred my choice, and vice versa since I'm a bigger fan of the
meat/sweet combo, but oh well. The yams were deliciously candied and nothing
like the pan of bright orange mush you find on Thanksgiving tables.

The chicken was near greaseless and had a light quality. James insisted
it was nothing special, but that's just because he likes to think he makes
the best fried chicken. I'll agree that the chicken wasn't heavily seasoned,
but that's how I prefer it (and to be honest, he puts a little too much salt
in his coating). The greens had a sweet and sour aspect which combated the
potential for an overly heavy meal. My only complaint is that for such a
large half chicken portion, I'd have liked more greens to scoop up with my
meat. But that's just me.

The meal was enjoyable, and creepily, we were seated right next to the
window overlooking the alley where that girl was practically dead in a heap
the night before. It weirded me out a bit, but of course, that didn't stop
me from gobbling like nobody's business.

* 45 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, NY