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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pizza Hut's Super Bowl-Hyped Innovation Is...Sliders?

Posted By on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Pizza Hut's new sliders are about 3.5 inches in diameter and are not quite as good as this photo would imply. - KAITLIN STEINBERG
  • Kaitlin Steinberg
  • Pizza Hut's new sliders are about 3.5 inches in diameter and are not quite as good as this photo would imply.

The wait is over. Sunday night during the Super Bowl, Pizza Hut revealed its latest, earth-shattering innovation:

Pizza sliders.

Last week Gut Check stalked spoke with Pizza Hut spokesman Doug Terfehr, hoping to get the scoop on the chain's new pizza permutation. Having managed only to tease a few hints out of the dude, we felt it our duty to seize our first opportunity to hunt down the new pizza sliders give 'em a swallow.

See also: - Pizza Hut Gives Gut Check 3 Clues About "Pizza Innovation" to Be Unveiled During Super Bowl

Our first two impressions: 1. As you can see from the photo above, they look...different. 2. We don't get it.

What has us puzzled is how Pizza Hut came to call this product a "slider." Seems like they're playing pretty fast and loose with the terminology. A White Castle burger is a slider: a wee sandwich you can devour in a single bite. These are...well, they're mini pizzas.

They're cute, in the way all miniature things are cute -- babies, kittens, those bottles of liquor you get on airplanes -- but mini pizzas have been done. Totino's Pizza Rolls, pizza Bagel Bites and Smart Ones Pizza Minis (to name a few) all came before, so what's so innovative about the Pizza Hut sliders?

One innovation we surely could have done without was the hour-and-40-minute wait. We were also kinda weirded out by the crust, which tastes somehow as though it has been deep-fried. (Think funnel cakes.)

Pizza Hut touts the fact its sliders are fully customizable. Which is true. If you order the three-slider size, you can choose what toppings you want on each of your wee pizzas. But having opted for a large order (nine), we were allowed the same total of topping choices, i.e., three. (We went with veggie, Hawaiian and pepperoni.) For the price -- $10.85 -- we could have bitten the bullet, made up our damn mind what toppings we wanted and ordered a medium pizza.

All that said, Pizza Hut is giving away samples of the sliders at all locations this afternoon from 4 to 7 p.m. Yep, waltz on in and order a slider, eat it, and when you discover you're still hungry, order a real pizza like a grownup.

Nice try, Pizza Hut, but you're going to have to go a lot farther to top your stuffed-crust pizza, which you debuted back in the mid '90s.

Now, that was an innovation.

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