Where did the baby name Calizza come from in 1986?

Calizza from Pizza Hut (mid-1980s)
Calizza from Pizza Hut

Here’s a baby name that might make you hungry: Calizza. It appeared on the U.S. baby name data in 1986 but never again, making it a true one-hit wonder.

  • 1988: unlisted
  • 1987: unlisted
  • 1986: 8 baby girls named Calizza [debut]
  • 1985: unlisted
  • 1984: unlisted

Calizza, like Dijonnaise, can be traced back to a new food product and (more importantly) the associated marketing campaign.

In this case, the food product was Pizza Hut’s Calizza, a six-inch “Italian turnover” on the lunch menu. It came in two varieties: Italian Sausage and Five Cheese. The name “Calizza” was a portmanteau of the words calzone and pizza.

It was introduced nationally in early 1986 with the help of three “wacky, tacky” commercials featuring an Italian mother and son. Here’s one of them:

If you’re curious to try a Calizza, you’re out of luck — Pizza Hut unceremoniously discontinued the Calizza a few years after introducing it. But you could always give this fan-created 3 Cheese Calizza recipe a shot.

Source: “Pizza Hut Introduces Calizza Via Chiat/Day.” Adweek 10 Mar. 1986.

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