People are sharing photos of converted Pizza Huts

People are feeling very nostalgic about dine-in Pizza Hut restaurants.
Alamy, Courtesy of Mike Neilson

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/ Source: TODAY
By Daniella Musacchio

What happens when a Pizza Hut closes? It turns out that a lot of them don't just get torn down.

All over the country, former Pizza Hut restaurants have been repurposed into other businesses like banks, churches, liquor stores, a funeral home and — you guessed — totally new restaurants.

While dine-in Pizza Hut restaurants have been closing for years, in 2019, the popular chain announced that it would be closing hundreds of locations offering across the country within two years to focus on its carryout and delivery businesses.

These closures have been leading to more content for one hyper-focused blogger.

Pizza Hut restaurants around the country have been converted into other businesses.Mike Neilson

Startup founder Mike Neilson created the blog Used to Be a Pizza Hut around 2008 after a co-worker joked about telling someone to "turn left where there used to be a Pizza Hut" while giving driving directions.

"You can always tell when a building used to be a Pizza Hut," Neilson told TODAY Food, alluding to the iconic shingled, trapezoidal roofs characteristic of the restaurant chain.

"I had the thought that there should be a blog about this," he continued, adding that he believed the idea would appeal to a lot of people since the recognizable buildings are almost everywhere in U.S.

The blog was initially created as a joke project and Neilson's family members were the only regular readers. However, about four years after he started the blog, he began receiving submissions from strangers, so he started posting their pictures, too.

In 2013, Neilson created a Twitter account, @UTBAPH (an abbreviation of the blog's name), dedicated to converted Pizza Huts in an attempt to find the best platform for his content. He also created Facebook and Instagram accounts dedicated to the project, but remains most active on Twitter. While he is not able to verify that every building with the very recognizable roof was indeed a former Pizza Hut, Neilson said he still gets a kick out of seeing all the submissions.

The account even recently gained about 5,000 new followers, nearly doubling in size after one of Neilson's tweets received thousands of likes and hundreds of retweets earlier this month.

So far, one person shared a picture of a former Pizza Hut in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, that now functions as an urgent care facility.

Others have spotted banks with the signature sloping roof.

Many former Pizza Huts, like a shoe store in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and a dentist office outside of Dallas, have kept the recognizable red roof.

A lot of Pizza Huts appear to have been repurposed into restaurants, presumably because they didn't have to bring in totally new commercial kitchens.

Some people have even joked about spotting former Pizza Huts on hit TV shows.

Neilson admitted that sometimes he takes breaks from posting. However, whenever he gets a bunch of submissions, he's excited by the fact that he's been able to compile a pretty extensive collection of former Pizza Huts.

"Our landscape changes quickly these days," he said. "It is nice to remember what was, even it if it was somewhat recent — and even if it was just a chain pizza establishment."