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BEIRUT: It was Valentine’s Day and grand plans for the perfect date had been set for a young woman in Beirut. Unfortunately, a last-minute work trip intervened and forced the postponement of the romantic night out. To console their heartbroken friend, Haya and Melissa picked up the perfect comfort food. 

“We ended up going to her place and I surprised her with pizza from Pizza Hut,” Haya told Arab News. “The restaurant was empty when I went to pick up the pizza. The chef let me decorate it with heart-shaped pepperoni.”

It might not have been the grand romantic gesture Haya and Melissa had hoped to arrange for their friend after her boyfriend left, but they all enjoyed the evening and look back on it fondly.

They were therefore greatly saddened by the news that Lebanon’s favorite pizza chain was closing its doors, the latest culinary casualty of the country’s economic crisis.

In a message posted on Facebook on May 23, Pizza Hut Lebanon said: “We will never forget the excitement on your face whenever you get your cheese stuffed crust pizza … Offering you the best quality and experience has always been our top priority. Until we are able to do that, with a heavy heart, we say goodbye.”

To some it might seem silly or trivial in a country where people have faced so much adversity in recent years to be upset about a fast-food joint closing down, particularly an international brand as ubiquitous as Pizza Hut.

But for others, a pizza on the table represents a social occasion to enjoy with family and friends, in a restaurant or at home, in a way that tacos or burgers and fries simply cannot match.

It is therefore understandable that the sense of loss goes beyond simple regret that the chain’s pizzas will no longer be available, and is perhaps more a reflection of the realization that precious memories of time spent in good company were often created while enjoying a slice or two.

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