Where I grew up in Western Nebraska during the 80s there was really only one family restaurant in our town, Pizza Hut. well, I suppose that there may have been other ones but, when my family went out to eat it was most often at Pizza Hut (or as we called it for years, Iz-a-hut, because the 'P' got knocked off in a storm and was down for a while. What? This was before the Internet, we didn't have that much to do).

My family would take over a booth in the dining room. Us kids would get our pops, mom an iced tea and dad a coffee. Of course, we'd drink nearly all of our pops before the server would take our order, and have to be reminded that "That's all the pop you get, so save it." Yes, this was a world before near universal free refills, can you believe it? it was a dark, dry time.

Dad would fire up some Juice Newton on the jukebox and my brother and I world beg to play the tabletop Q*Bert game.

Usually we'd order a large pan pizza; half supreme (no green peppers) and half pepperoni. But, in the mid 80s there was a brief time when we'd enjoy this crazy, casserole like pizza called Priazzo.

Now I recognize it as a deep-dish Chicago-style pizza, but at the time it was a magical bread bowl of tomato sauce, cheese and meat. For the longest time I thought that I'd imagined the existence of this pizza, but thanks to the internet, I found that I wasn't crazy. Here's some commercials for it.

There were four varieties of the Priazzo: Roma, Florentine, Napoli and Milano. My family tried them all. Here's how they went.

Roma: Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, beef, pork, onion, mozzarella and Cheddar. I remember this one being good, but 9 year-old me was staunchly against mushrooms and onions.

Florentine: Cheddar, ricotta, Parmesan, Romano and mozzarella mixed with ham and spinach. At the time this was our least favorite. But seeing this list of ingredients today, I would love this pie.

Napoli: Parmesan, mozzarella, Cheddar and Romano topped with slices of tomatoes. A good one, but wait until you see the next pie.

Milano: bacon, pepperoni, Italian sausage, beef, pork, mozzarella and Cheddar. This was our favorite. To paraphrase Joey Tribbiani, all that meat, good; all that cheese, good.

Oh man, they still sound so delicious! And so heavy. If I ate some of that now I'd have to sleep it off like a bad hangover then walk 10 miles to work it off. The Priazzo didn't last very long, maybe only three years. They weren't the hit the hut was hoping for. One reason was probably they they took so long to cook. After the Priazzo faded away, we returned to life of half-and-half pan pizzas and Book-It related personal pan pizzas.

At least I'll always have the great memories of dinner out with my family and Juice Newton. We'll always have Juice Newton.

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