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Cast your vote from more than 100 nominees before Jan. 23!
Photo courtesy Pizza Hut
When the urge strikes to eat some pizza, what’s the first chain that comes to mind? Pizza Hut? Domino’s? Papa John’s? Or a smaller chain like Bertucci’s or Marco’s? We’ve rounded up 100 of America’s leading pizza chains and are asking you to vote for your favorites for our eighth annual ranking of America's Favorite Pizza Chains. The polls are open from now until noon on Thursday, Jan. 23, and when they close we’ll know which pizza chain is America’s favorite.
Take the Survey: America's Favorite Pizza Chains
Industry website Pizza Today ranks the top 100 American pizza chains based strictly on gross sales (Domino's takes the win with a whopping $13.5 billion), so we considered that list to be a great jumping-off point. We included every chain on the list, no matter how small (Michigan-based Buddy’s Pizza has just 14 locations) or large (Pizza Hut has more than 18,000) and built those chains into a survey. So go ahead and take the survey, and tell us what your favorites are; you can vote for up to 40 chains.
When you’re voting, take into consideration the entire experience, from convenience to diversity of menu options, the care put into making each pizza, the freshness and quality of the ingredients, the atmosphere and the actual flavor and texture of the pizza itself. After voting ends, we’ll announce the winners the following week. Click here to take our survey, and when you're finished, you can check out last year's ranking or learn where you can find the best pizza in your state.
Top 9 Best Pizza Chains in the USA
Pizza chains may not have the romance of your local neighborhood pizzeria. But they are a great way to get reliable, consistent pizza wherever you are in the country. And they usually offer good value for money too.
Here we take a look at the nine best pizza chains in the USA. We’ll find out what makes them so good. And we’ll give you all the information you need to plan your next visit.
So without further ado, let’s see what’s out there…
Hip to Be Square: Detroit-Style Pizza Is Conquering America
From coast to coast, the Motor City's signature pie is everywhere right now.
Over the last decade, Detroit-style pizza has grown from a local pride point to one of the hottest food trends across America. From coast to coast, pizza pros nationwide are baking up their version of the Motor City&rsquos crispy, cheesy-crusted deep dish, and for good reason: It's ridiculously delicious.
"Detroit is trending because it&rsquos new to people," adds Brian Spangler of Portland's beloved Apizza Scholls. "12 years ago, it was Neapolitan, and then it was Neo-Neapolitan. There was about a 10 year run of that thin crust pizza explosion across the US and I think people are ready for something new." (Spangler has been chronicling his work on a Sicilian/Detroit hybrid via Instagram.)
The crispy square slices are nothing new to those in the Motor City, who simply know it as "pizza." The signature style originated in 1946 when August &ldquoGus&rdquo Guerra started baking his mother-in-law's dough recipe at his tavern, Buddy&rsquos Rendezvous. Legend has it that Guerra&mdashout of sheer genius or pure practicality&mdashrepurposed blue steel pans that were used for carrying automotive parts into baking pans. He placed his mother-in-law&rsquos fluffy Sicilian-style dough in the rectangular pan and lined the top edge-to-edge with Wisconsin brick cheese. After it was baked, Guerra added two red &ldquoracing stripes&rdquo of marinara sauce, the final defining characteristic of a good Detroit-style pizza, and the local legend was born.
Beyond crispy, cheesy, greasy goodness, a lot of the credit for Detroit-style's national ascent may go to a simple case of good timing. In 2010, legendary pizzaiolo Tony Gemignani's International School of Pizza held a class attended by two brothers from Michigan. A year later, those brothers opened VIA 313&mdasha reference to Detroit's area code&mdashdown in Austin, Texas. That same year, Gemignani launched a Detroit-style pie at his own spot in San Francisco's North Beach.
In 2012, Shawn Randazzo, who spent over a decade running a couple locations of Cloverleaf (a franchise started by Gus Guerra and his wife in the '50s) won 1 st Place in the International Pizza Expo. He later launched his own pizzeria and consulting company, Detroit Style Pizza Co., which has gone on to train an entire generation of aspiring pizzaiolos in the fine art of DSP.
Even Little Caesar's (which actually started in Detroit in 1959) got in on the action, rolling out a "DEEP!DEEP!" Detroit-style pie nationwide in 2013. One would think America's third-largest pizza chain co-opting the trend would&rsquove marked the apex of Detroit pizza proliferation however, the number of mom-and-pop joints throughout the country serving it up has only continued to rise.
Clearly, Detroit-style has become far more than a mere flash in the pan. But like Neapolitan and Neo-Neapolitan before it, it's only a matter of time until the next big thing captures the hearts and stomachs of our fellow hungry Americans. At least for now, one thing remains certain: For pizza lovers, it's hip to be square.
You don't have to travel to Detroit for a good Detroit-style pizza. Here are some of our favorites from coast to coast.
Tony Gemignani, the 13-time World Pizza Champion, was perhaps the first person to sell Detroit-style pizza in California. He uses a mix of white cheddar along with the traditional Wisconsin brick cheese, which creates a crust that tastes like a grilled cheese sandwich in the best possible way.
Few things in this life beat a pairing of pizza and beer, and at Cellarmaker, craft beer meets Detroit pies with toppings like garlic confit, black truffle, and hen of the woods mushrooms.
Like many of LA&rsquos best restaurants, Apollonia&rsquos is located in a random strip mall. On weekends, their off-menu Detroit-inspired pie, complete with crispy cheese-crowned edges, is available by the slice.
Jeff "Smoke" Smokevitch&rsquos Detroit-style pizza won him first place two years in a row in the International Pizza Challenge. Blue Pan gets their crispy caramelized cheese crust with a blend of brick, white cheddar, and whole milk mozzarella cheeses. (Fun fact: Smoke studied under the legend himself, Tony Gemignani.)
VIA 313 was started by a couple brothers from Michigan who had moved to Austin and wanted to pay homage to their favorite food. After starting in a trailer back in 2011, they've since opened five locations, including a couple brick-and-mortars.
Paulie Gee&rsquos is cult pizzeria from Brooklyn that specializes in wood-fired pies, but they've been slowly expanding, popping up in cities like Columbus, Miami, and Baltimore. Exclusive to their Chicago location, they offer a Detroit-style Logan Square pizza with gluten friendly and vegan options for everyone.
Emmy Squared is the Detroit-style follow-up to the wood-fired pies at the neo-Neapolitan Pizza Loves Emily in Clinton Hill. Opened in 2016 by husband-and-wife founders Matt and Emily Hyland, there are two locations in New York City, and the couple opened a third in Nashville just last year.
From the same folks behind the chain Artichoke Basille&rsquos, they're famous for piling on the pepperoni. But it&rsquos their mustard pie with spicy mustard, strips of corned beef, and handfuls of sauerkraut that made them a viral phenomenon.
The cheese was piping hot when I opened the box and the pizza was cut fairly evenly.
Marco's boasts using freshly made dough and I could tell, especially when comparing this crust to other ones I've eaten over the years. Each slice had the perfect bite to it without being too dense or chewy
The crust had a fluffy, buttery flavor, but still held up to the gooeyness of the cheese mixture. Even though cheese hung off the sides of pizza slice, nothing fell off while I was eating.
What’s happening with America’s largest pizza companies?
Who added stores in 2018? Who pushed their sales to record highs? Who dropped off a bit? Who are this year’s movers and shakers? The 2018 Top 100 Pizza Companies list is compiled based on total units annual sales.
Last month, we published our list of the nation’s 100 most successful independent operations. Now, we present to you our yearly listing of America’s 100 largest pizza chains. The list is released in November each year.
Domino’s has unseated Pizza Hut as America’s biggest pizza chain based on global retail sales in Pizza Today’s 2018 Top 100 Pizza Companies list. There has been movement at the top of the list as pizza companies jokey for position. Joining Domino’s at the top of the list of largest pizza chains are Pizza Hut, Little Caesars Pizza, Papa John’s and California Pizza Kitchen. Read more on the Top Five Pizza Chains in America.
Fast-casual leaders have gained market share and have established a foothold in this year’s ranking. A prior No. 1 in the Hot 100 Independent Pizzerias list, Buddy’s continues to climb the top pizza companies list.
CiCi's Is America's Favorite Pizza Chain
BOULDER, Colo. -- CiCi's Pizza is America's favorite pizza chain, according to a national study of more than 7,600 consumers conducted by Market Force, a provider of customer intelligence solutions. Papa John's and Papa Murphy's ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Sbarro, Pizza Hut, Godfather's, Domino's and Little Caesars also made it onto the list of favorites.
The study, conducted in August, was designed to uncover which pizza chains consumers like most and why they prefer one over another. Market Force first calculated the favorites based on the total number of votes, and then factored in the number of locations for each chain for a more level view of the results.
Of the 12 national and regional pizza chains studied, Pizza Hut garnered the most number of total votes across the country, given that it has more than 6,000 U.S. locations. When viewed as a calculation of favorite votes per location, regional chain Cici's Pizza took the top spot.
Fast-casual pizza chains are broadly doing well by offering inexpensive food options to consumers who are still budget-conscious in a tepid economy.
The Coppell, Texas-based CiCi's Pizza has honed the buffet concept, distinguishing itself from big pizza delivery players by focusing more on the dine-in experience. With approximately 550 locations in 24 states, CiCi's is growing steadily at a pace of about 25 to 30 new locations per year. That said, No. 2 ranked Papa John's credits its industry success to focusing on quality ingredients rather than low prices. And Papa Murphy's wins consumer accolades for food quality and taste, cleanliness and overall value.
Market Force also analyzed the results geographically to see which pizza chains are most popular in the four regions of the country--the Northeast, Midwest, South and West.
CiCi's came out on top across all but one region, the South, where Papa Murphy's won over the most consumers, followed by CiCi's. Sbarro came in second in the Northeast, Godfather's in the West and Papa John's in the Midwest. Papa John's came in third across all other regions except the Midwest where Papa Murphy's held the No. 3 spot.
Market Force also asked consumers to rank the pizza chains based on various attributes such as food quality/taste, customer service, cleanliness, atmosphere and overall value. Between them, Papa Murphy's and CiCi's Pizza dominated all of the categories. Papa Murphy's rated tops for food quality/taste, cleanliness and overall value. CiCi's Pizza received the most votes for best service and atmosphere, and Papa Murphy's came in second in these two categories. Godfather's, known for its old-Italian atmosphere and steadfast focus on pizza, also fared well, coming in at the top five for all attributes, including second for food quality/taste. Sbarro brought up the rear in all of the categories.
"Its no surprise that Americans love their pizza. In fact, recent data shows that pizza restaurants represent 9.5% of the U.S. commercial foodservice market," said Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer for Market Force. "This love of pizza creates huge opportunity for chains to differentiate themselves and win a larger slice of the market, which is what we're seeing with breakout chains like CiCi's, Papa Murphy's and even Little Caesars."
The survey was conducted in August 2012 across the United States. The pool of 7,600 respondents reflected a broad spectrum of income levels, with half reporting household incomes of more than $50,000 a year. Respondents' ages ranged from 19 to over 65. Approximately one-quarter were men and 75% were women, and 73% reported working full or part time. Half of the respondents have children at home and more than two-thirds are married.
Top 5 pizza delivery franchises in the UKPizza Hut Delivery. Pizza Hut is, of course, one of the biggest pizza chains out there. … Papa John’s. As a leading pizza delivery chain, Papa John’s offers thick crust pizza, dough-based snacks, drinks and desserts. … Domino’s. Domino’s Pizza Group plc is one the leading pizza brands in the UK. … Fireaway. … NKD Pizza.
The Most Popular Pizza ToppingsPepperoni. Pepperoni is a classic favorite and America’s most popular pizza topping. … Mushrooms. This earthy topping can be a little divisive in the kitchen but it makes the perfect pizza topping no doubt. … Sausage. Sausage has a precedent that can’t be beaten. … Onions. … Bacon. … Pineapple. … Beef. … Peppers.More items…
Here’s the Most Popular Fast Food Burger in the United States
Fast food burgers are like professional sports teams: there’s some regional divisions but everybody has a favorite and they’re usually fiercely loyal to it. And just like with professional sports teams, somebody’s got to be the champion: that’s why Market Force International does an annual survey to figure out just which burger is America’s favorite. The answer this year, reports Yahoo!, is California’s darling, In-N-Out.
The West Coast chain is known for its quality, fresh meat burgers and its rather un-secret secret menu of “animal style” burger options — adding pickle, grilled onions, and “extra spread” (a Thousand Island-like sauce). The chain is a little different than many in that it’s known for paying and treating employees well and hasn’t done any franchising, or gone public. Stores all need to be within a certain distance of a distribution center, meaning that In-N-Out keeps a tight hold on its production chain, which helps keep the quality up (and this means it’s only in a tiny fraction of the country, making its title even more impressive).
Behind In-N-Out, the next best burger chains are Five Guys Burger and Fries and the Midwestern favorite Culver’s. The big national chains, however, are at the bottom of the barrel, with Burger King, Carl’s Jr, Wendy’s, Jack-in-the-Box, and (in very last) McDonald’s all getting panned. Digging deeper into the numbers, when it comes to food quality, you see Smashburger join the top ranks (and win in the healthy options category) and Steak ‘n Shake and Whataburger show up for value. Unsurprisingly, employee-friendly In-N-Out tops the staff friendliness category.
But even as In-N-Out took top honors in the burger rankings, it lost out on another title. Last year, it had also been the top fast food restaurant overall in the country, but this year it was overtaken by the Southern chicken chain, Chick-fil-A.
Seattle-based writer Naomi Tomky uses her unrelenting enthusiasm for eating everything to propel herself around the world as an award-winning food and travel writer.
The Epicurious Blog
In preparation for our Super Bowl Sunday celebrations, we decided to find out which of the big pizza delivery chain restaurants had the best pies. We tasted cheese and pepperoni pizzas from the big four (Pizza Hut, Domino&aposs, Papa John&aposs, and Little Caesars) to find out which one was worthy of a place in our game day spread.
See the results after the jump >>
The winner: Domino&aposs
This was by far Epi editors&apos preferred pizza of the bunch. They liked the balance of softness and crispiness in the crust, the slightly sweet sauce, and the savory spice of the pepperoni. Some felt it could use a little more cheese, but the quality of the crust is what won over the tasters, "The crispy crust is a nice touch, it has a little chewiness like real pizza," said one judge.
2nd Place: Pizza Hut
Overly sweet sauce and a thick, doughy crust put this pizza out of favor with many of the tasters. "The crust is quite puffy and fluffy, not for a crisp crust lover." However, the abundance of gooey cheese and a healthy helping of pepperoni helped make up for some of this pie&aposs shortcomings.
3rd Place: Little Caesars
While the judges enjoyed the thin crust and flavorful "zesty" sauce of this pizza, it ultimately lost points for lack of freshness. Despite the fact that it was made while we waited (there were no "Hot-n-Ready" pizzas prepared), most judges felt it was very similar to frozen pizza. "Very processed look and flavorless dough, tastes very pre-fab," stated one judge.
4th Place: Papa John&aposs
Although the majority of the judges felt this one looked the best in the box, they were disappointed by the very sweet sauce, lack of cheesiness, and dry mouth feel. "Tastes like the dough mostly. Needs a heavier hand with the cheese," noted one taster.
This was one of the threads I consulted before my Dominos taste test, and I&aposm sorry to say that I was misled. My advice would be go for Papa Johns. It&aposs slightly more expensive but they have nice offers online and taste much better than either Dominos or Pizza Hut. Recently I ordered a 2 topping pizza, chicken bacon ranch sub, sauceless wings, and dish chicken alfredo pasta from Dominos all in one go so that I could have a comprehensive evaluation.
The pizza was actually good though my standards aren&apost particularly high. The sub was a bit disappointing. For some reason it was more sour than I thought it would be even given the fact that Ranch turns sour when heated. It just didn&apost taste all that great and the bacon was hardly noticeable though the chicken and cheese were nice. The pasta was probably my favorite part. I would say they gave you enough chicken and that the sauce is not too greasy, but overall it wasn&apost anything to cry with joy over.
The real deal breaker was the chicken wings. Though the taste was acceptable the texture was absolutely horrifying. I could not believe I was eating meat. By comparison I had always liked the Papa John wings (sauceless). After an 8pc of the Dominos wings (I finished it because I hate wasting food) I had to rinse my mouth with sweet ice tea and order 30pcs of PJ wings to reconvince myself that chicken wings were edible. The meat was soft and soggy (how does that even happen?) and there was hardly any chicken taste.
So I realize that one trial may not be best to go by but Dominos chose a bad day to screw up because I can pretty safely say that I won&apost be trying them again. Sure they are cheaper than Papa John&aposs, but if you add the various deals (like Monday Mania and Web Wednesday) and the points (worth about $3 per if you translate between 25 pts and a 3 topping large pizza), the difference in price is very little and VERY worth it.
So my verdict is PAPA JOHNS over dominos unless you want to permanently ruin chicken wings for someone that is, in which case get them 40pcs of unsauced wings and force them to eat it all.
Article claims that Pizza Hut has "overly sweet sauce?" Really? Then what does that make Papa John&aposs sauce? Pizza Hut&aposs sauce NEEDS more sugar, whereas Papa John&apos is just right. The perfect pizza &aposmerge&apos would be Pizza Hut&aposs thin crust Super Supreme, but with Papa John&aposs sauce. I like a greasy pizza- and like it to be cooked lightly brown on top and not a lot of tomato sauce.
If I was judging it would be Papa John&aposs as worst and then a three way tie for not-quite-as-bad-as-Papa John&aposs. However, even bad pizza is pretty good. I wouldn&apost turn down PJ if someone else ordered it and paid.
Felixvega you lie. Domino&aposs does not use frozen dough for its hand-tossed pizza, never has. Stop making stuff up.
This article really doesn&apost make sense? I am not all all biased but, I have worked at several of these chains. First you say delivery chains, but Little Caesars does not deliver. The article states that Little Caesars tastes "Pre-Fab?" What you may not know is that they are the only major chain that still makes dough in the store fresh. No frozen discs made 3 months ago (Pizza Hut) and no frozen dough balls allowed to defrost made 3 months ago (Dominos). If the critics that made the comparison were judging based a New York Style pizza. ok. maybe these are not the same. But these "great and gourmet" pizza parlours are just mom and pop locations. Not Billion dollar empires like the big three. I eat from all Pizza locations trying to size up competition. In order it should be: Little Caesars, Dominos, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut. That is why Little Caesars is the fastest growing pizza chain in the world and Voted Best Value in America 7 years in a row.
Papa John&aposs 4th place - I don&apost think so. Pizza Hut is one big greasy mess. My list would be:
1st - Papa John&aposs
2nd - Domino&aposs
3rd - Pizza Hut
4th - Little Caesars
I&aposve heard of Papa Murphy&aposs but never had it. They don&apost have in California that I know of. Round Table is good but expensive.
Papa Murphy&aposs is pizza that is freshly made at the store, you take it home and bake it yourself. They&aposre not bad and you can customize however you like.
Never heard of Round Table and Papa Murphy&aposs. I&aposm guessing they were going for national chains, all of which are gross. I&aposd rather eat a Red Baron.
America’s Most Popular Supermarket May Surprise You
Consumer experience and satisfaction have been in decline over the past few years (well, duh) but it appears to have stabilized a bit, including within the supermarket category. This is all according to a new report from The American Customer Satisfaction Index , a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of quality for U.S. products and services.
to market! Best Reusable Grocery Bags to Buy in 2020 The index used data from interviews with roughly 85,000 customers to compile a score between 1-100, rating grocers on everything from cleanliness to store layout and the quality of meat and produce. While the larger grocery category average score held steady at 78—following a two-year dip in score from 2016-2018—certain individual supermarket chains fared better than others in the report.
H-E-B , a privately owned supermarket chain with locations in Texas and Northern Mexico, took the top slot, tied with Trader Joe’s , whose founder passed away last weekend, and Northeast-based Wegman’s , all scoring an 84 on the index. These were followed by another three-way tie between ALDI , Costco, and Publix , who each racked up a respectable 83.
Down at the bottom of the index is national chain Albertsons and discount grocer Sav-A-Lot, which each scored a 75, with big-box superstore Walmart bringing up the rear, clocking in at 73. Whole Foods, now owned and operated by Amazon, landed in the middle of the pack, scoring a 79 for the second straight year, while BJ’s Wholesale makes the biggest jump, adding four points to its 2018 score.
Find the full Customer Satisfaction Index for U.S. supermarkets below.
- H-E-B – 84
- Trader Joe’s – 84
- Wegman’s – 84
- Aldi – 83
- Costco – 83
- Publix – 83
- BJ’s Wholesale Club – 82
- Sam’s Club – 80
- ShopRite – 80
- Kroger – 79
- Target – 79
- Whole Foods (Amazon) – 79
- Hy-Vee – 78
- Meijer – 78
- Ahold Delhaize – 77
- Giant Eagle – 76
- Southeastern Grocers – 76
- Supervalu – 76
- Albertsons Companies – 75
- Sav-A-Lot – 75
- Walmart – 73
Do you agree with these rankings? Let us know in the comments below.
Header image courtesy of Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury / Getty Images.