It seems everyone is seeking openness: in government, in home layout — and now in restaurant design.
The trend these days for new restaurants is to remove walls and bring the action behind the scenes up close and personal to customers.
That’s been demonstrated in Port Orchard with the just-opened Pizza Hut restaurant on SE Mile Hill Drive.
Instead of having a counter area where diners order their meals and have only a limited view of what’s going on behind the scenes, they now can watch their pizza being prepared from start to finish.
On the other side of a glass partition, customers can view the pizza dough being rolled and spun into a pie-sized shape, then watch as a dollop of sauce is spread on top, followed by shredded cheese and their choice of toppings.
Behind the pizza preparer is a large, brand-new pizza oven that takes care of the baking.
For those working in the kitchen, Pizza Hut regional marketing manager Janet Brooks said the pizza oven has been designed to be cool to the touch even as it moves pizzas along on a moving assembly line into the oven.
“This open concept is new to Pizza Hut,” Brooks said.
“This restaurant in Port Orchard is the second in this region to feature the concept.” A new restaurant in Maple Valley was the first to include the concept in its design.
The pizza restaurant moved from its old location on Bethel Road to a strip mall located across from South Kitsap High School on Mile Hill Road, where it resides near the Dickey’s barbecue space and a stand-alone 7-Eleven store. While it does have inside seating for diners, much of its business is drive-up carryout.
Brooks said the business, which staged its grand opening on July 26, is one of 110 Pizza Hut stores owned by Mukilteo-based Emerald City Pizza. Members of the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce and city mayor Rob Putaansuu also were there for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that morning.
In addition to its new open concept, the restaurant has added the Pizza Hut Wing Street line of food, which includes chicken wings and desserts.
So far, it has been popular with customers and has helped increase carry-out business, she said.
Store manager Jen Lea’e said the location has hired 25 employees to staff the location.