Pizza Hut makeover

Crews were working on laying down the foundation for what will be Pizza Hut’s expanded footprint on Southeast Boulevard in Clinton. The expanded and completely renovated restaurant could open as early as the end of June.

The inside of the long-standing Pizza Hut was gutted and will include all new furnishings, an expanded seating area, a larger kitchen and addition walk-in freezer, as well as a brand-new buffet and nine big-screen televisions.

Pizza Hut in Clinton has been gutted and is being rebuilt from the inside, a massive remodel and expansion project that is expected to be completed by the end of June.

Contractors say the Pizza Hut, located at 129 Southeast Blvd. in Clinton, was long overdue for a remodel and will now get a makeover that puts it among the highest quality facilities owned by the pizza chain, which started with the first Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kansas, nearly six decades ago.

As part of the work, the Pizza Hut will receive “all new plumbing, all new electrical and an all new ceiling,” said Billy White with Horizon General Contractors out of Fort Worth, Texas, which works on Pizza Huts all over the country.

White and others are currently setting down the foundation for what will be a new 65 foot by 15 foot portion of the building

“This will be the third one I’ve done since November,” White noted of the remodel. The two others were in Arizona.

Work at the Clinton location began on May 5 with the gutting of everything inside the existing restaurant, leaving the red hut shell and little else.

“We gutted it down to nothing but sticks,” said White. “It will be a brand new building when we get done with it. We’re going to re-do the whole parking lot too.”

The restaurant is adding an additional 1,200 square feet to the current 2,400 square feet space. The pizza place previously had about 30 parking lots and the revamped Pizza Hut will have double that, while seating 78 and having a total occupancy of 99.

Today, Pizza Hut is the world’s largest pizza company with $12 billion in global sales and more than 15,000 restaurants in 93 countries worldwide, the company notes on its website. Bergen Enterprises, a Pizza Hut/Wing Street franchisee based in Norman, Okla., owns the Clinton restaurant, as well as others in North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona.

Bergen’s remodel will include updated Pizza Hut logos, a brand new facade that will include stonework on portions of the outside, lights between large windows and red LED lighting atop the building. The Pizza Hut sign will be moved to the outer edge of the property, away from the expanded structure, and be transformed into a lit-up marquee, also adorned with the new logo.

“We’re adding the Wing Street and everything in the kitchen is new,” White said. “There will be a brand new 12-foot buffet. A lot of the buffets were taken out of the Pizza Huts and now they’ve begun to put them back.”

For Pizza Hut in Clinton, which White said was perhaps as outdated as any, the buffet never left. It will now be completely new along with everything else in the restaurant.

“It was really run-down. It needed it,” said White of the Pizza Hut. “It will look really nice, fresh and brand new.”

That will include granite counter-tops for the front customer counter, which will now face the expanded entrance, located on the same side of the building. It was previously to visitors’ left just inside the entrance, where there will now be restrooms down a short hall. The renovation will also include adding another walk-in freezer, bringing that number to two.

Perhaps as notable as the additional space and revamped look, the makeover will also include equipping that larger Pizza Hut with nine big-screen televisions and erecting a cedar fence that will line the sides and rear of the property.

“We hope to be done by the end of June,” said White, “so they can be open by July 4th.”

By that time, Clinton will have multiple new-look pizza restaurants. It is in the midst of a sort of pizza renaissance, with Pizza Hut’s remodel one of three sizable projects from three separate pizza chains currently ongoing across the city.

Domino’s, which saw its Clinton origins at a 1,200 square-feet space within the Jordan Shopping Center before moving to its current 1,500-square-foot spot at 304 Northeast Blvd., is renovating that space to add sit-down dining, an expansion that will double the size of the location to 3,000 square feet. In the other project, construction on Little Caesars at Sampson Crossing began this week.

Domino’s has a hopeful timeline that will see an early June opening, while Little Caesars is anticipated to open in mid to late June.

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