The Pizza Hut Big New Yorker, Reviewed by a Brooklyn Chef
How does the Pizza Hut Big New Yorker compare to New York-style pizza? Here's our hot take.
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, so it’s safe to say that I have feelings about pizza. Especially when said pizza—the Pizza Hut Big New Yorker, to be precise—claims to represent the pride and joy of my home. While I was growing up grabbing slices from Lenny’s, Luigi’s and Nino’s, the rest of my fellow Americans were cutting their pizza-teeth on chains like Pizza Hut.
Though I was always tempted by the commercials that used to run in the NYC metro region, alas, there were no Pizza Huts to be found anywhere but the suburbs, and my parents weren’t willing to drive to New Jersey to eat “imitation pizza” (their words, not mine) when some of the best pizza on earth could be found within walking distance of our house.
In 1999, Pizza Hut introduced its “Big New Yorker.” I did not get to try this “authentic” pizza at the time, nor did I have any reason to seek it out. I’ve learned the hard way that few “New York-style” foods come close to what I grew up eating. But now, as an esteemed pizza critic who has eaten hundreds of pies for personal professional reasons, I’m ready to taste the Big New Yorker.
What is the Big New Yorker pizza?
Courtesy Pizza Hut
According to the Pizza Hut website, the Big New Yorker is a 16-inch pizza that’s cut into six oversized, foldable slices with a crispy thin crust, sweet marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan oregano seasoning. For an additional fee you can add toppings like pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms or onions.
See how New York-style pies compares to other regional pizzas.
Pizza Hut Big New Yorker Review
Allison Robicelli for Taste of Home
The Big New Yorker does not taste like “real” New York-style pizza, but let’s be real—no one expected it to. It’s Pizza Hut. We expected a Pizza Hut pizza, but bigger, and by golly that’s what we got.
A large pizza from Pizza Hut is 14 inches wide and is cut into 12 slices. The Big New Yorker is 16 inches wide and cut into 6 slices, so you can fold each slice (“just like real New Yorkers do”) and try to convince yourself you’re eating just one piece of pizza—not two. We all know exactly what we’re doing when eating this pizza, but I appreciate Pizza Hut making the effort to abet the lies we tell ourselves.
As for how the flavor stacks up against real NYC pizza…it doesn’t. NYC’s sauce tastes like tomato puree and garlic; Pizza Hut’s sauce is sweet. NYC’s crust is baked directly on the floor of a pizza oven; Pizza Hut’s is baked in a pan in a conveyor-belt oven. NYC pizza doesn’t use Parmesan oregano seasoning like Pizza Hut does; in pizzerias all seasonings come in shakers at the counter, and you’ll see the garlic powder and red chili flakes go 10 times faster than the Parmesan or oregano do.
New York-style pizza and the Big New Yorker from Pizza Hut are two fundamentally different pizzas, and that’s OK. We still love Pizza Hut for what it is.
Is the Big New Yorker worth it?
So why bother ordering the Big New Yorker? Because it’s a spectacular value. In my neck of the woods, a large 14-inch cheese pizza from Pizza Hut costs $16.49, while the 16-inch Big New Yorker is only $15.99. You don’t even need to get into the complicated pizza math to see the value here, but I’m going to do it anyway because I don’t get many opportunities to whip out my pizza math skills.
To calculate the cost per square inch of pizza, we must divide the price of the pizza by its area, which we can calculate by finding the square of its radius and multiplying it by pi. (For those of you who forgot your high school math: πr².) A large pie is 14 inches across, giving it a radius of 7 inches, so the math is as follows:
- 7 x 7 = 49
- 49 x 3.14159 = 153.93791
- 16.49 / 153.93791 = $0.11 per square inch
As for the 16-inch wide Big New Yorker:
- 8 x 8 = 64
- 64 x 3.14159 = 201.06176
- 15.99 / 201.06176 = $0.08 per square inch
There you have it. You’ll be able to sleep easy after eating this pizza, knowing you squeeze the maximum value out of Pizza Hut’s coffers.
Is the Big New Yorker…good?
Allison Robicelli for Taste of Home
The answer to this question depends entirely on your definition of what “good” pizza is. Compared to an authentic New York pizza bought from an average pizzeria in the five boroughs, Pizza Hut’s Big New Yorker is not very good.
However, when judged upon its own merits as a Pizza Hut pizza, the Big New Yorker is very good! And if you understand the true beauty of Pizza Hut pizza, you’ll be utterly delighted with an extra-large version of it.