Food Nation

Pizza Hut Appeases Disgruntled Fans with Limited Release of Cheesy Bites Pizza

"Just. Can't."

So went fellow EOW blogger Christina Uticone's response to my post about the exclusive release of Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza in the UK, Pizza Hut's latest creation. She wasn't alone, either.

But apparently, according to a press contact at Pizza Hut, "American pizza fans are furious" that this latest creation is only for Britain.

As a peace offering to these enraged consumers, Pizza Hut is again offering its limited-edition Cheesy Bites Pizza, which the company compares to McDonald's McRib sandwich in terms of its cult following.

I have never eaten nor desired to eat a McRib, so I could only guess about the truth of this analogy. But I was kindly offered the chance to try this new pizza, and though I usually gravitate away from national chains when it comes to pies, I couldn't not sample Cheesy Bites, "a product that comes and goes, tugging at the heartstrings of pizza lovers across the U.S."

A quick primer on the construction of a Cheesy Bites pizza: The traditional crust of a large pizza is replaced by a perimeter of no fewer than 28 cheese-filled dough "bites," which can be separated from the pie proper and, if you like, dipped into a side of marinara sauce. It's like cheese-stuffed crust, but more share-friendly in that the bites can be eaten and served independently from the slice.

I intended to limit myself to one, maybe two slices in an attempt to preclude heartburn during my run the next morning. (No particular offense, Pizza Hut; all forms of pizza give me trouble during endurance exercise.)

By my stomach proved bigger than my intentions. I ate not one, not two, but FIVE slices (complete with accompanying cheesy bites).

The pizza is simple, and by that, I don't mean it's some sort of rustic creation made up of only a handful of organic ingredients. For those glass-half-empty people, "unsophisticated" might be a more appropriate descriptor. The pizza boasts little besides a sweet tomato sauce, a layer of toasted cheese and a spongy crust. The additional gimmick of the separable "bites" adds novelty and the interior balls of soft cheese provide a nice contrast to the stiffer, sometimes crispier, exterior plain of mozzarella. It would make for a straightforward and satisfying meal on a night when the combination of dairy fats, salt and mild vegetable flavors is all you desire.

Since I was more puzzled than furious about Pizza Hut's decision to only offer its hot dog-stuffed-crust pizza in the United Kingdom, I can't really speak to whether Cheesy Bites is an adequate substitute. It's fine and good but doesn't quite live up to the "limited edition" cachet. I would advise Pizza Hut to perhaps offer some alternative flavors to spice up (figuratively) the Cheesy Bites lines, such as a buffalo chicken pie with blue cheese bites or a beef and onions pie with sharp cheddar bites. Now, those are pizzas that would tug at my heartstrings.

Cheesy Bites pizza is available now through the summer nationwide.

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Joanna O'Leary