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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cafe Silvestre in Salt Lake City, UT


If you look carefully at the sign for the Cafe Silvestre, you will notice that they feature "Homemade Mexican Food." I, for one, have always taken exception to the phrase "homemade" in reference to a restaurant. "Homemade" should mean that it was made in a home; a home being a place of residence, where people live, bathe, sleep, watch TV, and, when no one is looking, pick their noses.

So seeing this claim plastered so proudly on the giant sign has me wondering, amongst many other things, what in the world is going on at the Cafe Silvestre?

Regardless, it is nice to see the great state of Utah finally making an appearance on the blog, no thanks to you bums. I found this one myself by doing a Google Maps satellite view scan of the country (zoomed out to the state level -- I'm that good).

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Zia's Caffe in Kaneohe, HI



When your backdrop is a volcano and you are on an island one rogue wave away from being Atlantis, it is hard to say if you will even be alive tomorrow, so why worry about petty details like whether or not your friendly neighborhood cafe is hiding a dirty secret past.

But hey, this alleged UTBAPH has an upstairs. Pizza Huts didn't have an upstairs. 

Get it together, man! Don't let this facade fool you. You are smarter than that. Or, at least, your mom tells everyone you are.

Despite the extra fancy paint job by David, the submitter, to make that look like real brick on the second floor, the "upstairs" is faker than my interest in whatever people are talking about at parties other than old Pizza Huts.

I am not saying that this isn't a nice place -- it may well be. Just make sure you know what you are getting into with this one. Who knows what other secrets they are hiding. *coughdeadbodiesinthefreezercough*

Jake's Wayback Burgers in Monroe, NY

When you are in Monroe, NY, your options are limited in the food department, as well as the "finding something to do" department. When the Pizza Hut in Monroe closed a while back, it sat empty for a long time; a stark reminder of what once was.But that is not the end of the story, my friend. Thanks to what I assume was some kind of mix of drugs and unwarranted optimism, somebody decided to give the old Pizza Hut location another go, this time as a burger place called Jake's Wayback Burgers. There was definitely some effort put into masking this location, but I assume that most of the effort went into displacing the junkies who had, undoubtedly, turned this place into some sort of hobo storage facility during the long lull between legitimate business ventures. 


I have never been to a Jake's Wayback Burgers, mostly because I don't (and never will) trust people named Jake who aren't dogs. And, also, partially, because I have no idea what makes a burger a "wayback" burger, but I assume that expired ground beef is somehow involved. And then there is just the simple fact that there aren't any Jake's Wayback Burgers near where I live. OK, maybe that last one is the biggest reason. Although guys named Jake that aren't dogs are still on my watch list.Extra thanks to a guy named Charles who is not a dog (or, possibly, is a dog with excellent email communication and photo-taking capabilities) for sending this one in.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tampa Luv Chicken & Waffles in Tampa, FL



Before you try to scrounge together enough taxi fare to get down to Tampa to check out Tampa Luv, I should warn you that this place has gone the way of the Dodo. Sad, too, because the reviews were pretty good, despite the odd name.

Sent to us by Wendy, this UTBAPH is rocking some serious trapezoids. Looks like the roof hump may have been lanced off at some point. Hopefully some alert reader can help us track down what it becomes next.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Valley National Bank in West Orange, NJ


Oh, Valley National Bank. You sneaky little son of a Pizza Hut. You think you can plant some trees and make us all forget about your past? 

While there aren't many banks posted on this blog, I am often sent a link to an old Onion photo that pre-dates this blog by many years.


I am not even quite sure where the bank featured in the Onion photo is located (although, if it still exists, I would love to add it to the blog), but I know that the good people of East Orange can sympathize with it. But really, a bank in an old Pizza Hut is nothing to be ashamed of. It is probably a lateral move, if anything.

So stand proud, Valley National Bank. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. Besides maybe the fact that you live in New Jersey.

Submitted by Steve, who probably also lives in New Jersey.



The Beagle Brothers in Pittsburgh, PA Used to Be a Pizza Hut

What kind of blog doesn't have a theme song? A shitty one, that's what kind. Well, this ain't no shitty blog no more, because our good friends (and half decent people) the Beagle Brothers, based right here out of lovely Pittsburgh, PA (where UTBAPH is headquartered) have gone ahead and recorded a masterpiece that I would liken to Mr. Holland's Opus if Mr. Holland was completely awesome instead of being a big dumb boring sack of dust who hated his deaf son and his opus was an awesome song about a blog that went viral when the users of the internet apparently ran out of real things to look at online (90s movie references and run-on sentences are limited from this point forward in this post, I assure you).

So here, without much further ado, is the first of two versions. Note the cowbell.



And then, my personal favorite, featuring the Ladies Man, is the alternate version:



Since, apparently, the readers of UTBAPH know what to do to take things viral, I assume that these will both have (deservedly) a few million hits by tomorrow morning. And go check out the Beagle Brothers on Facebook and Twitter.

And, despite the post title, I should explain that the Beagle Brothers did not, in fact, used to be a Pizza Hut.

I think they were a Shoney's all-you-can-eat buffet.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

99% Invisible

If you don't already listen to the 99% Invisible podcast, then prepare to spend the next month or so catching up on old episodes (as I did towards the end of last year). Ostensibly, it is a podcast about design and architecture, but, in practice, it is a podcast about everything. The producers of 99% Invisible could argue, and rightly so, that it is a podcast about everything because design plays a role in almost every aspect of our lives, but that is only part of it. What I think is that, in an attempt to create a podcast about the interesting elements of design, they came to realize that there is almost nothing around us that isn't interesting if you dig in closely enough to the details.



As an example, a certain blog that I happen to curate (and that you, in turn, happen to consume) was the topic of the latest installment of 99% Invisible. Now, I put this blog, in terms of educational value/cultural awareness/architectural enlightenment somewhere in between a dick joke and a fart joke. It is, lest we kid ourselves, not much more than photos of old Pizza Huts.

But the good people at 99% Invisible (namely, Sam Greenspan and Roman Mars), who put this episode together, bothered themselves with the details of former Pizza Huts in a way that yours truly had not considered to do. The history of the buildings, the socio-economic reasons for their rise and fall, the official stance of Pizza Hut's corporate offices on this phenomenon -- these are all the kinds of things that they found interesting about this topic. And they were kind enough to share their findings -- with those of us who are still laughing over the word "fart" -- for our own enlightenment.

I had the pleasure of working with local producer Margaret Krauss on this piece, who, herself, is all kinds of interesting and talented.

Please check out episode 103 of 99% Invisible. Give Sam and Roman a follow on Twitter, and Like their page on Facebook. Maybe even buy a "Read the Plaque" shirt from their site (you will need to listen to a few episodes to get that reference).

Then, after you done got your learn on, come back here and laugh at silly pictures of abandoned buildings.

And if you came to this site via 99% Invisible, welcome.

Yours in childish humor being turned into something educational by much smarter people,

-Mike

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dragon China in Moraine, OH

Submitted by Danny, Dragon China in Moraine, Ohio is a great UTBAPH. First of all, Chinese restaurants love making it very clear exactly what they are, using a small, repeating set of words in their names (dragon, king, jade, garden, buffet, dynasty, rice, wok, super, China). Basically, pick two random words from that list, buy an old Pizza Hut, and you have everything it takes to open your own Chinese restaurant.Just to illustrate my point, here is a list of a few random combinations of the words above:
  • Dragon Buffet
  • Super China
  • Rice Garden
  • King Dragon
  • Jade Garden
  • Dynasty Buffet
  • Rice Wok
If some of those names look familiar to you, it is because I just named 75% of all of the Chinese restaurants in North America (the other 25% are P.F. Changs).The second thing that makes this particular UTBAPH so great is that they kept that original roof. That shiny, metallic-looking original roof is really going extinct these days, and it is good to come across a restauranteur who has too much of a sense of history (and/or is too lazy) to replace the roof.And then, thirdly, I love how China has one font. You know exactly which font I mean. It is as if the whole of China had a meeting one day and just decided, "This is our font. We will use it on soy sauce packets, chopsticks, restaurant signage, menus, and, yes, even video games from now on."

So next time you are in Moraine, Ohio, or, hell, even in Dayton proper, do yourself a favor and get down to the Super China Double Dragon Garden Rice Wok Dynasty Buffet. Or whatever the hell it was called.

Vacant UTBAPH in Sarasota, FL

Quick, get Jerry Filipowski on the phone. I have an UTBAPH to buy. I did some searching around the commercial real estate sites and it doesn't look like this UTBAPH is currently for sale, so maybe it will find a new life and make its way back onto the site with a glorious update. But, for now, this sad specimen sits empty, reminding us of what once was. I can almost picture this thing all cleaned up and turned into the Used to Be a Pizza Hut headquarters. Not exactly sure if Mrs. UTBAPH would go for that.But, hey, better to ask forgiveness than permission, right? Thanks to Greg for submitting this one and, potentially, breaking up my marriage. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

La Parrilla Rotisserie & Grill in Margate, FL

First off, thanks to Napa Auto Parts for sponsoring this post inadvertently. Yes, we see you, Napa, and we are all really impressed by those dorky little trucks you guys drive around with hats on them. 
I am more of a Pep Boys kind of guy myself, but I mean, hey, hats on trucks. You guys obviously know a thing or two about car parts. That is a part I didn't even know existed.
But I digress. La Parilla Rotisserie & Grill in Margate, FL has the best of both worlds: A rotisserie, for that slow cooked goodness, and a grill, for when you don't feel like waiting 8 and a half hours for some chicken.
Not to be all over the place with this post, but I have to stop my normal banter here and ask you, the reader, a very serious question. Don't make direct eye contact, but see that guy against the building, just beyond the Napa sign? Is that Tubbs?
Yeah, I thought so too. Don't blow his cover. I think he is on a stakeout of some kind. Anyway, this place used to be a Pizza Hut. Sorry I never got around to discussing that more, but I feel like maybe you had already deduced that given your ability to put context clues together. 



Avocado Fresh Mexican Grill in Saskatoon, Canada

Look closely. No, closer. Put your greasy nose right up against that work monitor. Do you see it? This is a tricky one.
Maybe in the days before the internet, you could get away with something like this. A few passers by may do a double take, but they would keep riding up the road on their elk to whatever the other restaurant is in Saskatoon (I assume there are two), and maybe make brief mention of how that place they passed "looked like it used to be something else, eh?" Which would be met with the standard Canadian response of, "What are you talking aboot?"
But in 2014, you can't just throw some stained lumber around a signature roof hump and not expect some overly specific blog run by a likable (if not somewhat pudgy) guy with way too much spare time to call you out on your literal facade attempting to hide your history. Nay, the internet has come calling, and it demands the truth. Fess up, Avocado. We all know what you are hiding.Alright, now get your nose off the monitor. Your coworkers are all staring at you.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

El Canelo in Erie, PA

According to Jason, the submitter, El Canelo Mexican Restaurant in Erie, PA is frequently in the paper for health code violations. They say that no publicity is bad publicity, which proves that "they" don't read the section of the newspaper that deals with minor problems like "mice" and "feces" in "kitchens."

And, hey, who are we to say that we don't probably have some mice living in our own kitchens? And what are we supposed to do, ask them not to poop everywhere? Especially in the improperly refrigerated meat? I have met some friendly mice in my day, and not one showed any proclivity to use so much as a chamber pot.

So we can sit here in our own unclean kitchens and scoff at El Canelo for its supposed violations, or we can ignore all of that, Like UTBAPH on Facebook and follow @UTBAPH on Twitter. You decide which way you want to go here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Nirlep Indian Restaurant in Charleston, SC

There are not tons of options when it comes to Indian food in Charleston, SC according to Charles, who sent this one our way. That may be so, but even if the entire city of Charleston were one big curry-smelling metropolis of nothing but Indian restaurants (and, hopefully some strategically placed public restrooms), I still know where I would go for my Personal Pan Paratha.Nirlep Indian Restaurant gets some pretty rave reviews on Foursquare, but I am sure you could have already guessed that. All good Indian restaurants have a booth where the owner has his laptop and is working as if that booth is his office. Since this place probably has tons of booths, I suspect that it fits that requirement.

Vacant UTBAPH in Westmont, IL

Now this here is a beaut. A classic Pizza Hut in all of its glory. Bright red roof, perfect blue sky, corner windows the whole way down to the ground. I am in heaven. But, lo, what is this email from Vladimir saying? This most perfect Pizza Hut ever is no more? At least, Vlad, tell me that it didn't become something awful and soul-crushing, like the new home of the Chicago Blackhawks or a check cashing place. Oh God, no. It is so much worse than even that. It is vacant. 

I can't look. Oh the humanity. No one told me how much crying there would be in blogging.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Mulberry Tree Child Care in Cannington, Australia

I don't know, I guess this used to be a Pizza Hut. Or are you guys just submitting random stuff to me now just to see if I will post it? I half expect the next submission to be a photo of a turd, claiming that it, too, used to be a Pizza Hut. Well, according to Mike, who may or may not be a pathological liar, this childcare and pre-school used to be a Pizza Hut until it was renovated beyond recognition. What kind of monsters would strip a former Pizza Hut of all of its glorious distinctive looks? The same monsters that are raising your kids while you are working, apparently.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

El Tucan Mexican Restaurant in Cincinnati, OH

Despite what the sign says, this place is currently "El Tucan," a Mexican Restaurant in Cincinnati, OH. Submitted by Mike, apparently this place changes names/owners on a frequent basis. At some point, a lot of renovations were done, rending it largely unrecognizable as a former Pizza Hut, but no matter. We are not here to judge. Oh wait, no, that is exactly what we are here to do.But I digress. The important thing here is that El Tucan, (or Plaza, for all of you people still living in last Tuesday) is going strong as a former Pizza Hut. I have seen a few UTBAPHs with the area of skylights before, so I am wondering if those are not part of the original structure. It almost looks like a big shitty Mexican place ate an old Pizza Hut in one bite, and still has a little bit of its meal hanging on its lip.Or something. Come back next week, when this is something else altogether.

Lazy Moe's in Forest Hill, Victoria, Australia

There is an awesome rumor that this place used to be called "Flaming Moe's," but, due to legal intervention, the name of this Australian former Pizza Hut had to be changed. So, for those who don't know, this is Flaming Moe's:
And I managed to grab this super secret security camera screen grab of the FOX lawyers putting the kibosh on the whole operation:Now, of course, this is all hearsay and conjecture, which (as we know) are kinds of evidence, right Lionel?So we don't (and probably won't) ever know the real backstory behind the name "Lazy Moe's," but we do know the backstory of the building itself, and, in case the suspense is killing you, this place used to be a Pizza Hut. Screened-in deck or chicken coop? You be the judge. Either way, I want to buy food and libations form a self-proclaimed lazy restauranteur, because we all know that they won't be cutting any corners when it comes to food quality and safety.Thanks to David for the submission. 


Monday, February 10, 2014

Domino's Pizza/Fish Feast in Gosnells, Western Australia

Some bizarre oversight in Australian Pizza Hut upper management led to two Pizza Huts being like a block and a half apart from each other in Gosnells, Western Australia. I, for one, am glad about this obvious screwup, because it gives us two posts in a row about two different UTBAPHs that are basically next door neighbors.Now, on top of that, we have ourselves a good old fashioned Western Australian double (nay, triple) whammy what with something called "Fish Feast" (complete with drive-thru) taking up a solid 1/3 of the former Pizza Hut (insert the knife) and a Domino's taking over the remaining two thirds (twist the blade). I say it every time, but there is something poetic about the Pizza Hut to Domino's transition. Were Henry David Thoreau still around, I have little doubt that he would have much to say on the topic.(For the record, I tried to find a famous Australian poet to fill in that reference, but ended up getting caught up laughing too hard about the Crocodile Hunter asking someone "What rhymes with 'G'day'?" to complete the search. So yeah, stereotypes of Australia are alive and well, in my brain. Perhaps I will visit someday to drink a Fosters and ride around in a kangaroo pouch to really learn more about the culture.)Thanks to Mike for the submission.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Foursquare!


For all of you Fouraquare users out there, you can now save the list of all of the UTBAPHs on the site (that are still open) to your Foursquare account to find out which ones are closest to you and check them off as you visit them.

Click here to view the list

If you don't use Foursquare, this is the perfect excuse to sign up. New UTBAPHs that get added to the site will be added to the list so that you can always stay up-to-date.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nero's in Gosnells, Australia

Don't let the big "Now Open" sign fool you. Nero's, sadly, is closed. But fear not, Gosnellians. I am told that a new place has opened up in this spot that is Indian/Italian. Yes, you read that right, and no, I have literally no idea what that could possibly mean. Tandoori Chicken Cacciatore? Curry Alfredo? Pasta Biryani? Maybe the submitter, Mike, can shed some light.

Whatever the hell it is, our team of researchers is working hard to get an updated photo of this place. We will keep you posted.


Cashland in Piqua, OH

NEED CASH FASTBRING US IPODLAPTOPS DVDS& MUCH MOREThat is what the sign says. I don't personally have an iPod. Always been more of a Zune guy. No chance they take one of them, but I still like the thought of going into the old Pizza Hut and getting something other than questionable service and a stomach ache. Maybe they will take my Archos Jukebox.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pour Some Out for Our Fallen Brother in Chicago, IL

It is never easy to report this kind of news, so I am just going to get right to it. We recently lost a brother, as depicted in the chalk outline below.

A life cut too short, this UTBAPH once thrived in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago but slowly withered away, feeling out of place in a world overtaken by the dreaded D&Ds (delivery and DiGiorno). Cordoned off like a crime scene, from this overhead view you can still make out the distinct flooring of the seating area, the entrance, and even the spot in the middle of the seating area where the buffet sat. Below you can see a photo taken of this UTBAPH shortly before its demise, looking haggard and neglected. No doubt, some new thriving business will take its place, but not before we take a few minutes to remember our long lost brother. Rest in peace, UTBAPH. You belong to the ages now.



Don Jose in Colonial Heights, VA

Another day, another Pizza Hut-turned-Mexican joint. This one, Don Jose in Colonial Heights, VA, submitted by Nikki, got a pretty nice paint job with crazy shit painted in the windows. Or else there is just a volcano in there. Either way, fun!

Of course, all of you culturally aware readers of this blog are familiar with Don Jose, the namesake of this fine place. Don Jose was, obviously, the Corporal of Dragoons (played by Paul Lherie in the original 1875 cast) in the four-act opera by the French composer Georges Bizet. While the critical reception was mixed in the first New York performance at the Metropolitan Opera in 1884, the audience slowly came around and it was soon incorporated into the Met's regular repertory.

Bah I'm just kidding. It was probably named for one of the owner's uncles or something because "El Pollo Loco" was already taken.

HUB Insurance in Kamloops, British Columbia

I can't quite figure out why there are mountains in the background of Kamloops, BC that look like the roofline of an old Pizza Hut, but who cares. That's awesome. 

There is no mistaking this HUB Insurance location (submitted by Mark) for anything other than a former Pizza Hut. A quick paint job on the roof (and I would be surprised if the old Pizza Hut sign wasn't underneath the big sign on the roof hump) is really all that was done to this one. I bet you even get some breadsticks with your term life insurance.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fat Pocket Pawn in North Versailles, PA

You're in a pinch, and you know it. You found yourself, somehow, in North Versailles (pronounced "ver-sales," yes way) Pennsylvania, and you need some cash, or, perhaps, you need more shit in your house. Either way, goldmine here (literally), as Fat Pocket Pawn will be glad to buy shit from you way below market value and sell other (or hell, even the same) shit to you way above market value. Hey, their pockets didn't get fat on fair market value, buddy. Besides, you are in a pinch. Now don't go in here expecting to see some bald guy and bunch of cameras making a reality show. This is not that sort of pawn shop. There is not anything signed by anyone famous in here. There aren't any historians inside explaining the significance of a pre-Civil War hand-crafted wood-inlayed bureau to anyone. Just some meth heads with stolen power tools. And, one more time, it's VER-SALES. Just in case you thought it sounded like a classy town. Thanks to Ryan for the submission.