After writing several other nostalgic 90s articles about all you can eat restaurants that don’t exist anymore, I’ve had a lot of friends ask me to write about the Dine-In Pizza Hut restaurants from the 90s. Now, unlike Sizzler and Smorgy’s which are now totally defunct in Australia, there are actually a few all you can eat Pizza Hut restaurants in Australia. They are spread out quite far with only 1 or 2 left in most states, so unless you live near one, you may think these were all gone for good. There is a list of the remaining locations at the end of the article.
Luckily for me, I live about an hour away from Ballarat, Victoria, which is not only home to a lot of local history at the old-timey gold rush theme park Sovereign Hill, or the home to the confusingly out of place Kryal Castle, a medieval theme park, but it is also the home of two iconic culinary icons – one of Victoria’s most interesting McDonald’s restaurants (an article for another day) and also one of the two final Dine-In Pizza Huts in Victoria.
Memories of Pizza Hut Dine-In in the 90s
My local Pizza Hut Dine-In was at the Werribee Plaza (now called Pacific Werribee). It was one of those standalone restaurants with the iconic “hut” shaped roof like the logo that most people will remember. It has since been demolished and replaced by the Hungry Jack’s which is still there today. As far as I knew at the time, this was the only all you can eat restaurant in Werribee and was great for birthdays.
My favourite memories are from 1997 and 1999 when they had their star wars promotions. I loved going there to get the toys. The Werribee store had a life-size Darth Maul statue that I desperately wanted. One of these statues now resides at Comics R Us in Melbourne, I’ll need to get a photo of it next time I’m there.
Above is my partner’s aunty and uncle at their birthday party in May 1990 at the Werribee Pizza Hut Dine-In. With a cheaper lunch price than dinner price, Pizza Hut was a great low cost and a low maintenance birthday party to cater to as many kids as needed without worrying about cooking or cleaning. Whilst there wasn’t a playground or anything else to do there the constant back and forth to get food was more than enough to keep you entertained.
Here is Leah and Adelle Gould around 1997-1998 at Werribee Plaza Pizza Hut.
The Works (All You Can Eat) Pizza Hut Australian TV Commercials
This iconic series of Pizza Hut’s Australian ads featured a young woman informing groups of diners about The Works deal – for $4.95 at lunch on weekdays and $6.95 at dinner in 1996.
This later version had the pricing at $5.95 and $7.95 instead.
The Works Menu at Pizza Hut
Whilst everyone calls it “all you can eat”, the formal name for this has always been called “the works”. This gave you access to unlimited pizza, salad bar and desserts. From memory, when I was a kid, you bought drinks by the jug but now you can get bottomless soft drinks for $4.95.
I suppose they call it All You Can Eat in the signs inside as well.
The Pasta at Dine-In Pizza Huts in Australia
Whilst most kids loved the unlimited desserts, I was all about the pizza and pasta. I recall loving the creamy pasta sauce. I don’t know if you could actually call it carbonara or not, but it’s what introduced me to carbonara, which is still my favourite pasta sauce. Every few years on my pilgrimages to the Ballarat Dine-In Pizza Hut, I always get a sample of it, even though it tastes like plastic.
I don’t think I’ve ever tried the other bolognese style sauce there. Just that creamy white sauce for me. The main difference is that back when I was a kid, I always added the bacon bits to my pasta, making the world’s saddest bacon carbonara. I used to try and look online to find these for sale. I believe they were bacon flavoured soy chips or something and they were a little flat, round discs about 1cm in diameter. They added a much needed crunchy texture to the pasta and it’s just not the same without it.
The Pizza at Dine-In Pizza Huts in Australia
I guess this is the real main attraction. You basically get unlimited access to all the basic pizzas on the menu. Margherita, Pepperoni, Hawaiin and the like. You don’t get any of the upgrades, such as cheesy stuffed crust or the more premium pizzas. I think the selection has stayed pretty much the same for decades and I’m ok with that. It’s pretty good to be able to try one or two slices of everything instead of just having the same pizza to yourself. That being said, on my most recent visit I did eat 3 pieces of pepperoni, which is one of the most basic pizzas you can get, but they had a good amount of topping.
Pizza Hut Garlic Bread
The all you can eat garlic bread is different to what you get as a takeaway, each piece is cooked in an oven individually and it’s pretty dang good. It’s not as good as the Sizzler cheesy bread, but then again, nothing is as good as that. This is a popular item, with hot trays getting cleared fast with the last few pieces getting left to dry out. If you’re ever at one of these places, grab it whilst it’s hot!
The Works Salad Bar
For some reason, they have a salad bar here. I’ve never seen anyone use it and I’m quite confused about how it works. I guess there’s a bit of a lettuce base you can start with, but that looks like something that’s half made with soggy croutons in it. I would have expected plain lettuce with things like croutons to be separate, something for the gluten-free folk who would have a terrible time here. I never even noticed that they had pasta salad or potato salad here, but when I’m downing ungodly carbs anyway, I can easily live without this.
My partner’s aunty who sent the vintage photos asked me if they still have the creepy corn floating in water at the salad bar. I didn’t recall but I guess this photo proves it.
The chocolate mousse was popular, especially since the ice cream machine wasn’t available today.
I don’t recall brownies being a thing when I was a kid.
It was sad to see the curly bowls missing at Ballarat, but they still live on in other locations.
My Recent Trip to Dine-In Pizza Hut Ballarat
I’ve been writing these nostalgic articles for a year or two now, and this was actually intended to be one of my first. I actually encouraged a family holiday (Christmas present) to Ballarat that got postponed from around March/April 2021 through to November 2021 due to COVID-19. Due to some poor life choices (too much KFC at lunch) and then a very grumpy baby on our final day, we had to scrap the Pizza Hut all you can eat plan, eventually being able to go in February 2022.
Charlie Loved It
My son Charlie loved the variety of food here.
The chocolate mouse was fun, but messy.
But he licked the bowl clean, too bad about the table though.
They let us take home all the food that was going into the bin.
Here’s what we took home, though we couldn’t even get through that much of it in the coming days. The garlic bread didn’t reheat well at all.
Photos from Marion Pizza Hut Dine-In
One of the other surviving Pizza Hut dine-in locations is in Marion, South Australia and one of my Facebook friends, Dave McLennan goes there regularly and has sent me some photos to add as his location captures some other modern and vintage aspects of the 90s Pizza Hut all you can eat experience. Dave hosts an awesome radio show and podcast called Dave’s Video Graveyard, where he talks about old movies from the 80s and 90s and it’s hilarious.
Below is a young Dave (in the West Coast Eagles jumper) and his friends at the Broken Hill Pizza Hut in the 90s.
Outside the Marion Pizza Hut
The Marion Pizza Hut looks a bit newer than the Ballarat one, but still retails the iconic roof shape.
Iconic Pizza Hut Ice Cream Bowls
The Marion location still has the old clam shell-shaped bowls, unlike the Ballarat location. this bowl shape probably reduced the volume of food you could fit, but certainly felt fancy to me as a kid, despite being made of light plastic.
Dessert Sprinkles Etc
This is different to the Ballarat location, this feels familiar to me from somewhere, but unsure if my local Werribee / Hoppers Crossing location used to use this type of thing, but I think it may have.
Adult Supervision Of Children Is Required At All Times
Oh boy, if only this sign was lower so the children could read it… I recall years ago seeing young kids go to absolute town on the dessert bar and other counters at my local Pizza Hut locations. Please supervise your kids if you go to one. I recall they often used to use the same scoops and tongs for multiple things, spreading chocolate mouse into the sprinkles and jelly. Was very gross.
Why Supervise Your Kids at Pizza Hut?
Dave sent me this photo knowing I’m writing this article and I assume it goes to prove why adult supervision is required at Pizza Hut dine-in. That being said, soft serve and pizza probably go well together. The creamy taste of ice cream with a savoury pizza crust isn’t that too far from desserts such as apple crumble or various cheesecakes.
All You Can Eat Pizza at Marion
The Best Australian Pizza Hut Toys
Pizza Hut has had a lot of great promotions over the years. They haven’t done toys in years from what I recall, but in the 90s, Australian Pizza Hut had some great stuff. The toys available at Pizza Hut were often a bit more premium than what you’d get in a Happy Meal. Among these, Pizza Hut was known for hand puppets, character cups and mugs, Star Wars toys, VHS videotape deals and DVD and computer game deals. The most memorable hand puppets available in Australia are shown below.
The Land Before Time Pizza Hut Puppets
Above Shows 4 of the 6 or so dinosaurs from The Land Before Time films. I found this image on eBay, but also have Petrie but never owned the T-Rex. I can’t find my toys to take a photo but will update this article later when I have a better image.
Goosebumps Hand Puppets at Pizza Hut
Above is an old photo of my Goosebumps Pizza Hut puppet collection including Slappy the Dummy, the Mud Monster, the Mummy and Cuddles the Hamster. I’ve since sold my doubles on eBay, they were worth more than you’d think!
Casper Movie Pizza Hut Toys
Another image from eBay, I only owned the Casper puppet from this series, but Fatso, Stretch and Stinky were also available.
Blinky Bill Pizza Hut Puppets
It doesn’t get much more 90s kids in Australia than Blinky Bill. These puppets include Marcia Mouse, Blinky Bill, Flap the Platypus, Splodge the Kangaroo and Nutsy the koala. These were cool as there wasn’t that much merchandise for these at the time as far as I can remember.
Beauty and the Beast Character Cups
This series of plastic mugs from Beauty and the Beast reminds me of the KFC Disney and Looney Tunes 3D mugs that were also out in the early 90s, but slightly more practical.
Street Sharks Pizza Hut Cups
Above is Streex and Ripster from Street Sharks, these were very cool as they were about the size of the actual Streek Shark action figures.
I used to have this on, Jab but I can’t find it anywhere. I hope I still have it, as vintage Street Sharks toys, especially these sell for crazy money on eBay. These Street Sharks cups and topper figurines sell for about $80 each on eBay as they were exclusive to Australia. If you’re going to sell yours, be sure to open up your postage to worldwide to receive top dollar!
Star Wars Cups at Pizza Hut
Cups with Star Wars characters were a big thing at Pizza Hut around the world. Whilst Some countries had 3D character moulds on top, we just had these simple plastic cups available.
Above are some of the Star Wars cups at Pizza Hut Australia from the 1997 film re-releases.
Dave McLennan even took his favourite Jar Jar Binks Episode 1 cup back to Pizza Hut recently.
1997 Star Wars Pizza Hut Toys
As a kid, I only had three of these toys. I’m not sure how the first one with R2D2 works, but somewhere I still have the other 3. This includes a sliding puzzle of Han Solo in carbonite, which I quite enjoyed as it was the right scale for my regular Star Wars action figures. The third toy here, is a low-tech arcadey style game where you turn the nob on the left, to move the background of asteroids, whilst you move the Millenium Falcon through it with the joystick. This is pretty fun. The 4th toy is a Death Star that shoots out cardboard Tie Fighters.
Star Wars Episode 1 Toys at Pizza Hut 1999
Star Wars Episode 1 merchandising was a massive event. As Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell are owned by the same parent company, the USA had a massive crossover event with different toys at each restaurant. Since we didn’t have Taco Bell in Australia at the time, we missed out on some of them.
My local Werribee Pizza Hut Dine-In had a life-size Darth Maul statue in the store. One of these statues ended up in Comics R Us in Melbourne CBD but it’s recently closed down and I can’t find any images of it online. I really wanted this in my house when I was a kid, I still do.
As well as the toys, there were also puzzles available, one blue and one red.
Pizza Hut Star Wars Episode 1 Puzzles
The blue puzzle introduces a lot of the names of characters,
The red puzzle shows the characters who exist across Episode 1 and the later films (as well as Padme and her daughter Leia).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Movie Badges
When the 2nd TMNT film came out, there was a big Pizza Hut promotion with a series of collectible badges. Below are from Dave’s collection.
What’s interesting here is that in the original film, the TMNT were seen eating Domino’s Pizza, not Pizza Hut. However, it seems ties have remained strong with a recent TMNT Pizza Hut Promotion in Australia in 2021.
Monsters in My Pocket at Pizza Hut Australia
Matchbox released its Monster in My Pocket toys at Pizza Huts in the UK, USA and Australia. These were the same toys as released in toy stores. There is a bit of confusion in the Monster in My Pocket collectors community online about exactly what you could get here in Australia.
What’s confusing is that this toy collection had 48 toys in it, not 42 (each character was available in multiple colours, which added to the collectability).
My Monster In My Pocket Collection
Above (excluding the neon red) are my 44 of 48 original colour Monster in My Pocket toys I got from a guy on Facebook Market Place selling multiple sets of these. His mum had worked as a manager at Pizza Hut in Australia in the 90s. The fact that I got 44 different characters, not 42 as advertised on the packaging suggests there may have been a printing error on the packaging, with other collectors stating Pizza Hut likely had 44 or 48 total figures in its set.
Other 90se Australian Pizza Hut Promotions
The Pizza Hut Esky that you got with some sort of meal deal was very cool.
The same would have been the same for this large drink cooler.
Pizza Hut Activity Placements
Whilst there are rarely good promotions for kids at Pizza Hut these days, I did find these activity placements with some pencils or crayons for kids to do whilst dining in. Yes, I took some home with me.
Where are the remaining Dine-In Pizza Huts in Australia?
There are now only 13 remaining dine-in locations in Australia, mostly across the Eastern states. Their addresses are below.
New South Wales – Dine In Pizza Huts
02 4573 8553
69 Macquarie Street, Windsor, NSW, 2756
02 4317 2810
Lakehaven Shopping Centre, Goobarabah Avenue, Lake Haven, NSW, 2263
02 9603 3244
1/1 Swettenham Road, Minto, NSW, 2566
02 6360 0906
Cnr New & Bathurst Streets, Orange, NSW, 2800
02 8321 1962
7 Archibald Ave, Waterloo, NSW 2017
Queensland – Dine In Pizza Huts
07 5482 2101
112 Bruce Highway, Corner Excelsior Road, Gympie, QLD, 4570
07 3800 0466
Grand Plaza Shopping Centre, 1-25 Brown Plains Rd, Brown Plains, QLD, 4118
07 4785 0556
21 Herbert St, Bowen, QLD 4805
07 4635 8240
871 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba, QLD, 4350
Victoria – Dine In Pizza Huts
03 5333 3999
31-35 Victoria Street, Ballarat, VIC, 3350
03 5822 2378
525-535 Wyndham Street, Shepparton, VIC, 3630
South Australia – Dine In Pizza Huts
Cnr Morphett & Sturt Roads, Oaklands Park, SA, 5046
Tasmania – Dine In Pizza Huts
03 6228 0793
Cnr Newtown & Forster Roads, New Town, TAS, 7008