Monday, February 1, 2016
In Memoriam: pizza you can eat while you drive, from Dunkin' Donuts
Back in February '08, Dunkin' Donuts, which calls itself "the world's largest coffee and baked goods chain," officially launched its all-day Oven-Toasted menu. The new program was an effort to get people to spend money at the chain after breakfast, and included easy-to-hold-and-eat Flatbread Sandwiches, Hash Browns, and Personal Pizzas.
Having grown up in New Haven, the spiritual heartland (or maybe the bellyland) of American pizza culture, I have very high standards for pizza. I regard white pizza as heresy. What most Americans consider to be good pizza -- whether it comes from neighborhood independents or national chains like Domino's or Sbarro -- I think is barely above the level of cardboard with ketchup and American cheese.
Pizza Hut is in a special category. Fellow pizza maven Cynical Cousin Dave and I are willing to eat it and simply don't compare it to the genuine article. We've put PH in it's own classification. As we say, "It's not pizza, it's pizza Hut."
The Dunkin' Donuts Personal Pizzas were five inches in diameter, a tad bigger than a CD or a DVD. They're basically clones of the Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza. You could select three varieties: Supreme (sausage, pepperoni plus green and red peppers); Pepperoni (with mozzarella); and Cheese (four varieties blended.) Some Dunks did not have all of the pizza varieties.
The first time I got one, I was surprised at its DVD size and assumed I would want a second; but found it both filling and satisfying. Although I hate green peppers, I ordered the Supreme, and didn't bother picking out the peppers. They didn't kill me. I had about 20 more since then. That's a good sign.
As with PH pizza, a Dunk pizza is not "real" pizza. But it was cooked much faster, was available much closer, cost much less, was tasty, could be carried, opened and eaten with one hand, and it was NEAT.
There's no way I could drive a car while eating a slice from Sally's, Pepe's or Papa's. The sauce, mootz, oil and clams would be all over the upholstery, dashboard, carpet and me.
Just as Mickey Dee's Egg McMuffin turned out to be the perfect one-handed mobile breakfast, Dunkin' Donuts devised the perfect one-handed mobile pizza. It might even provide some McMuffin competition, because you can get it in the morning, or any time.
Sadly, Dunk pizza was a flop. I was apparently one of very few people who bought it. Just like with Dunk's great Frozen Hot Chocolate. I may have to open my own Dunk franchise just so I can get what I want. Clam donuts, maybe.