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Top 10 American Pizza Chains

People nowadays eat out more than before, and the number of families that eat out rather than at home grow bigger every year. Most of these people look for quality, delicious food, fast service, and affordable restaurants. One kind of food and restaurant that fits the bill is the pizza restaurant. The pizza is one kind of food that, when you ask someone in a different country other than America and Italy, would tell you that the food originated in the United States. This popular Italian dish has morphed into one of America’s favorite kind of food.

Pizza is the fastest-growing kind of restaurant in the country, as a matter of fact, the fastest growing restaurant chain in 2017 was a pizza restaurant called Blaze Pizza. This article shares 10 of the best pizza chains in the United States. The list factors in sales in 2017, popularity, and consumer choice. Although Pizza Ranch is not in this list, it was actually voted the #1 consumer favorite as of April 2018 according to Statistics Portal. The top ten, we’re sure you’ve been to, and if not, then get out and try a slice there now. This list does not include those wonderfully amazing small pizza joints, but with the best pizza in a neighborhood, rather it is centered on pizza chains in the country.

10. Domino’s

Operating since 1960, Domino’s had a rather longer name before, it was known as Domino’s Pizza, Inc. Now it’s changed its name to the simpler, more impacting “Domino’s.” The name came from an employee years ago and it sounded perfect to the owner, Tom Monaghan. Together with his brother, James Monaghan, Tom founded Domino’s back in 1960 by buying a pizza joint in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Within 5 years, the one small joint expanded to three pizzerias, and just like wildfire, word spread of a new pizza place serving delicious pizza, and Domino’s grew from there and never seemed to stop growing.

With more or less 15,000 stores worldwide, Domino’s is the seventh out of all fast food restaurant chains in terms of store population, with almost 5,400 right here in the United States, and second only to rival Pizza Hut. But internationally, it is the largest pizza chain in the world. Delivery-wise, Domino’s covers an average of 10 million miles per week, and that’s just in the United States. The pizza giant also delivers 1 million pizzas every day around the world. Outside the U.S., it is most popular in India, the U.K., Mexico, Turkey, Japan, and Australia.

9. Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut has long been the big name in the restaurant fast-food and pizza business for years and years. It is the biggest restaurant chain serving pizza in the United States, and almost 17,000 stores available all over the world. Dan and Frank Carney, with $600 as a startup, opened the first-ever Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kansas back in 1958. One small store in Wichita grew to 300 in just a span of a decade. Popularly known as the pizza place with the red roof, this style of architecture is consistent in their stores around the world.

A company wildly popular for advertising, promotions, and other gimmicks, Pizza Hut is a trailblazer in the pizza restaurant industry, they also paved the way for other pizza restaurant formats other than dine-in family-style and delivery locations like lunch buffets and pasta bars, and the upscale concept, kind of like a fine dining theme with an expanded menu, called the Pizza Hut Bistro. They also have radical, but mostly effective, food ideas like the stuffed crust pizza, and their best one yet, the Buffalo Chicken Pizza. Of course, the pizza that takes the cake, and only served by Pizza Hut, is their original mozzarella stuffed crust pizza.

8. Little Caesars

Apart from owning teams in the NHL and MLB, respectively the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers, Michael Ilitch also founded the 3rd most popular pizza company in the United States, Little Caesars. Back in May of 1959, Mike and his wife, Marian Ilitch, opened a store in Garden City, at a strip mall in their hometown in Michigan. They called it Little Caesar’s Pizza Treat, and amazingly, it is still open to this day. Today, the couple is worth $6.1 billion and have 7 Little Caesars of their own.

Their trademark slogan “Pizza! Pizza!” started as a promotion, two pizzas for the price of one. They also have the Hot-N-Ready promotional taglines apart from those popular double-word tags. Presently, Little Caesars menu offers the Deep! Deep! Dish pizzas, the Extramostbestest pizzas, and Classic pizzas, together with their famous breads on the side. The company has over 4,000 stores in the United States alone, and about 5,500 stores worldwide. This number seems small compared to the first two companies in the list, but Little Caesars is the third best in the land, raking in a total of 3.7 billion dollars in sales in the United States in 2017 alone.

7. Papa John’s

One advantage of a young company over the older, more traditional ones is its openness to new things, particularly technology. Papa John’ has had its share of firsts in the pizza restaurant industry over the years. A relatively young company compared to Pizza Hut, Little Caesars and Domino’s, Papa John’s was founded two decades after these three pizza titans. A small broom closet was turned into a pizza delivery place by founder John Schnatter. Papa John was barely 23-years old at the time, and he had to sell his car in exchange for pizza equipment, which, in hindsight, was the best decision he ever made in his life. That small space turned into 5,200 stores in just a span of 34 years.

Papa John’s is the fourth most successful and most popular pizza chain in the United States, and here are some of its milestones as a company. They are the original pizza store that invented a dipping sauce for their pizza, best done with the crust edges of the pizza. Papa John’s was also the first ever pizza company to venture off-tradition and try out the online ordering option, which wasn’t a regular thing back in 2002. John’s broom closet pizza shop was in Indiana, today the company is headquartered in Jefferson, Kentucky.

6. California Pizza Kitchen

When talking about different and non-traditional pizza flavors, California Pizza Kitchen’s menu has them, and they’re actually really very good. From the roasted garlic chicken pizza, to the Thai chicken pizza and the Original BBQ chicken pizza, their latest flavor is the Spicy Chorizo pizza. The California Pizza Kitchen likes to call themself a gourmet pizza restaurant, offering a wide menu including plate meals, bread, soups, salads, pasta, and even children’s meals. The first store was born in Beverly Hills, California back in 1985. The founders were Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax, both lawyers. But the pizza and the flavors came from Spago’s chef Ed LaDou’s genius. Spago, by the way, is one of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants.

The first year was a runaway success, and in just 7 years, there were 25 more CPK restaurants in the country. Today, the gourmet pizza chain has restaurants in 18 countries, including 200 of them in the United States. If one day, you have a craving for pizza, but wouldn’t want to be limited to just that, the California Pizza Kitchen is the best restaurant for it. It’s a pizza place that serves more than just great pizza, but a complete three-course meal as well.

5. Papa Murphy’s

In case you don’t know what the term take and bake means yet, it is a kind of pizza restaurant that prepares pizza, complete with the crust and all the ingredients, and sells it to customers uncooked. The customer then cooks the pizza in their own oven. These establishments are also called take and bake pizzerias. The best take and bake in the United States is Papa Murphy’s. Papa Murphy’s was founded in 1995, but it’s history is actually traced from two pizza companies, namely Papa Aldo’s Pizza and Murphy’s Pizza. Founded in Hillsboro, Oregon, Papa Aldo’s started in 1981. Then in California, three years after Papa Aldo’s launched, Murphy’s Pizza started serving customers in Petaluma, California.

The two pizza companies merged in 1995 and was named Papa Murphy’s and today they have more than 1,500 outlets in the United States, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. According to Statistics Portal, Papa Murphy is the second Consumer Favorite as of April 2018. This tells us that Papa Murphy’s has one of the best-tasting pizzas in the country. Maybe it has something to do about freshly-baked pizza and how it tastes, as opposed to the other pizza that bake theirs in the store and has to be delivered or picked up before it is served on the table.

4. Marco’s Pizza

Marco’s Pizza’s tagline reads Authentic Italian Pizza, only a few pizza chains can declare their pizza to be authentic and Italian, and Marco’s Pizza is one of them. This pizza chain was founded by Pasquale Giammarco back in 1978. Pat Giammarco was born in Italy, in Sulmona of the Abruzzo region. At age nine, he moved to Michigan and grew up working in their family pizzeria in Dearborn. How much more Italian can a pizza get than having a pizza company founded by an Italian? Pat’s first store was established in Oregon, Ohio and by 2017, 29 years later, there are more than 800 Marco’s Pizza locations all over the United States and the Bahamas.

Marco’s Pizza’s main menu includes subs, salads, side, desserts, and of course, pizzas. Their signature cheesy bread (Cheezybread) is a must try. The pizza store was also voted the 3rd most favorite pizza chain by consumers according to the Statistics Portal as of April 2018. The store has popular promotions called Everyday Value where we can get two medium-sized, two-topping pizzas for only $6.99 each. Another one is the XL Big Cheese Pizza blasted with five different kinds of cheese for only $9.99.

3. Round Table Pizza

Inspired by a drawing of King Arthur and his knights eating and enjoying pizza right at the Round Table, founder William Larson opened his first pizza joint in 1959. The first one was called Round Table Pizza Parlor and was located in Menlo Park, California. Today, the company has 450 stores worldwide, with 10 stores in 5 countries outside the United States. The bulk of their stores are located in the state of California, right where the company headquarters is also located, too, in Concord. Round Table also has lunch buffets and offers catering services for their customers.

The company calls itself The Last Honest Pizza as they take pride in using only the best ingredients, from the dough to every single topping. Wheat from family farms in Idaho, premium meats, and the freshest vegetables. The classic Round Table pizza flavors are the King Arthur’s Supreme with 12 ingredients, and the Wombo Combo featuring artichoke hearts and Roma tomatoes. To cater to families, the company also has their different-themed restaurants called Round Table Pizza Clubhouse – Pizza Pub Play. These establishments have arcade games for the kids and big-screen TVs and beer for the adults. Truly one of the oldest pizza chains in the country, Round Table is simply one of the best in the land.

2. Cici’s

Thirteen years ago, Cici’s was named the fastest growing pizza chain in the country. With 500 store locations back then, Cici’s was one of the most popular pizza places in the United States. Fast forward to 2018, Cici’s is famous for their pizza buffets and as party venues like tour groups and school events. The first store was opened back in 1985 in Plano, Texas, by Joe Croce and Mike Cole. For consecutive years, Cici’s is always at the top of the list for consumer favorite pizza. In fact, by April 2018, they are the 8th favorite in the United States according to Statistics Portal.

New products in their menu are the Endless Pan and the New Baked Pasta. They also have crazy pizza flavors like the famous Mac and Cheese pizza. Pizzas come in different shapes and sizes, too, like the flatbread pizza and the deep dish and stuffed crust pizzas. THe restaurant also offers variety in their salads, chicken wings and desserts. Cici’s also has Value Packs featuring pizzas, cheese breads, cinnamon rolls, and chicken wings. In the tradition of the mac and cheese pizza, we can’t wait for the next new flavor that Cici’s will serve to their customers soon.

1. Sbarro

An Italian grocery store is called a salumeria. The big pizza company started out as a salumeria back in 1956 in Brooklyn, New York. The success of the salumeria led to the establishment and founding of the Sbarro restaurants all over the country. At first, Sbarro targeted malls and shopping centers as their restaurant locations, then quickly gained popularity even outside the United States. Founded by an Italian family headed by Gennaro and Carmela Sbarro, it is one of the oldest pizza chains in the US, operating since 1956. Sbarro is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, and now has locations in 33 countries all over the world.

Sbarro serves New York style pizzas and signature Italian dishes, clearly from their Italian roots and their New York influence. Sbarro’s most popular dish is the XL NY Pizza that comes in different flavors like pepperoni, sausage, and cheese. Another popular pizza is the Roman pizza with the famous hand-crushed Roman sauce. They also offer stromboli, pasta, and salads. Sbarros are everywhere, in shopping malls, airports, colleges and universities, naval bases, and even in in the Pentagon. Ever so popular in airports and malls, Sbarro has conquered not just these two iconic spaces, but also the rest of the world, making them the last pizza chain in this top ten list.

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