June 14, 2012 at 3:54 PM ET
Late-night cravings for pizza may soon be satisfied not by all-night delivery, but by this huge vending machine. Invented by Italians and just now arriving on our fair shores, the Let's Pizza machine actually creates the pizza more or less from scratch, and then bakes it as you watch. The future is here, and it's a bit carb-heavy.
Unlike the frozen and reheated affairs you're likely to find at a 7-11, this pizza is actually created when you order it, from "fresh" ingredients. The dough is mixed and flattened, the sauce spread, the cheese and toppings sprinkled. Some items are no refrigerated, no doubt, but nothing is frozen or pre-prepared. It's thin-crust, since it has to be fully baked in just a minute and a half. Each machine has enough ingredients for 200 pizzas, and offers four variations.
Here's an entertaining video of the Let's Pizza machine being demonstrated by an overdubbed model:
They've found enough success in the old country that the machines are finally coming stateside. They'll soon be found at "malls, airports, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, universities, gas stations, bus stations, etc," Ronald Rammers, CEO of the company distributing them here, told Pizza Marketplace.
The price has gone up since they first made their debut; they were about $4.50 a year ago when Atomic Toasters encountered them, but the recommended price is now $5.95. Hopefully the quality has gone up, too — that site's reporter described the pizza he got as having a dry, spongy crust and chemical taste to the cheese.
But the convenience and novelty of the whole operation may overcome any gourmet scruples, and they could even be used institutionally to ensure quick pizza creation for places like fairs and schools.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.