Thursday, February 1, 2018

Nostalgia Bomb! - McPizza

What was it?
In the 1980s McDonald's wanted to break into the pizza market and take on companies like Dominos and Pizza Hut, so the began testing the McPizza. It wasn't until the 90s that the test phase branched out into over 500 stores. Originally it was served as a "family-size", which was brought to the table and placed on a raised rack, but they quickly began serving it in a personal-size format, which could be included in an Extra Value Meal with fries and a drink.

McPizza ad

When was it available?
I've read that the earliest test markets actually started in the 70s, but most articles related to McPizza state that it started hitting test restaurants in the late-80s and by 1991 had branched out to around 500 stores. In Canada, it was phased out in 1999, although I know it left my local McDonald's well before that. Officially, it appears it left almost all McDonald's by the year 2000. It was ultimately removed from most McDonald's menus because it took 11 minutes to cook, which wasn't in-line with their policy of providing food as fast as possible.

What about today?
Much like the start date of McPizza, there is a lot of conflicting information about this, but up until recently my understanding was that you could still get McPizza at two locations; Pomeroy, Ohio and Owensboro, Kentucky. From what I've read, both of those restaurants served their last pizzas as of 2017, but it appears that that largest McDonald's - located in Orlando, Florida - is the only restaurant that still offers the McPizza.

Why do I remember it?
Mostly, because it was delicious.

In an Extra Value Meal
An odd thing about where I grew up is that pizza is like religion. There is no Pizza Hut or Dominos there. They would crash and burn. Everyone gets their pizza from their favourite "joint" and you'll hear many arguments as to which is the best. So when McDonald's came out with McPizza I assumed it would be garbage and would never last, but when I first had it I was hooked. That said, no one in my family would ever go to McDonald's to get a pizza, which is why the personal-sized pie was so crucial. If we all went to Mickey Ds I could get a pizza for myself!

I remember it having a cornmeal crust or something, which was unheard of where I lived. All the crusts were typically the same and I'd dare say that's how it is even today. I can't think of a place that deviates. I'd never had anything like that and I really enjoyed it. Also, I think they added parmesan to their mozzarella cheese, which was something I'd never had before and really liked as well.

McPizza is a bizarre thing, because under the lens of nostalgia and passing time it seems like everyone enjoyed it and wishes they could still get it, but that just can't be the case. I know that most articles I've read state that McDonald's removed it from their meny because of the time it took to cook, but let's real here; if the stuff was selling like gangbusters, they'd still have it on the menu.

The reality is that McDonald's took on a pretty tough market and didn't see enough upside to keep the product going. I can attest to it being good - and I consider myself a pretty tough pizza critic - but money talks and now McPizza is (pretty much) no more.

This is the box I recall
If I'm ever in Orlando, however, and I happen upon this magical McDonald's that still carries McPizza, you can be damned sure I'll be buying it and reliving my childhood for a few gooey, cheesy moments.

I hope you enjoyed,