FREE PRESS DINING GUIDE: Lunch buffet is Pizza Hut’s biggest draw

With today’s hectic lifestyle, more people are turning to fast-food retailers when there just isn’t enough time to cook.

Whether people choose to eat early or late, the Marion Pizza Hut, located 10 miles east of Hillsboro, directly north of U.S. Highway 56, will accommodate.

Opened in September 1994, regular business hours are Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Pizza Hut can also accommodate the frugal spender. They offer several specials and an affordable lunch buffet.

Manager Ken Riffel said the biggest draw right now is the lunch buffet, offered seven days a week, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Adults get an all-you-can-eat deal for $4.49, with children ages 4-12 eating for half-price ($2.25) and children 3 and under eat free (with the purchase of an adult buffet).

The buffet deal includes unlimited trips to the salad bar, a wide variety of pizzas, and even dessert.

The lunch buffet is especially popular with busy working people who may have short lunch hours.

“Everybody’s in a hurry,” said Riffel. “The buffet is something that’s easy and convenient. You can come in and in 10 minutes you can be gone.”

The popularity of the buffet could make it difficult to keep up with demand, but Riffel says early preparation keeps everything running smoothly.

“We start early in the morning,” said Riffel. “The thin crust dough is even done the night before.”

Riffel said Sundays are the busiest time for the buffets, so they always try to have extra help available.

Pizza Hut currently employs 16 to 18 people; four to five are full time.

“It’s a good company to work for,” Riffel said. “It’s not hard to work here, but there are such specific steps to follow, it may take a little time to catch on.”

For people who would prefer something other than pizza, the Pizza Hut has expanded its menu.

The restaurant recently added four pasta dishes. The choices include marinara, meatball marinara, primavera (alfredo) and chicken primavera.

Pork and chicken fettuccini are available, as well as a choice of spaghetti or rotelli. Customers can also choose between two sandwiches, both served with chips and a pickle.

Owner Bob Navrat, who has been involved with the Pizza Hut company since 1969, said the success of Pizza Hut can be attributed to not only a good product but to people.

“The people make the business,” said Navrat. “There have been good people involved since Day One.”

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