Is there a food more widely adored than pizza? There are practically endless possibilities when it comes to how you can make and enjoy pizza, so it’s no wonder that pizza chains are among the most visited restaurants in the U.S., even during and after a pandemic.
Here are the top pizza places in the U.S. you should know about. We made sure to include information on how each restaurant is continuing to operate in response to COVID-19 so you can know what to expect the next time you find yourself craving a delicious slice of pizza.
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Pizza Hut is a chain with more than 18,000 restaurants worldwide. It is one of the most popular international pizza chains because of its affordability, convenience, and many menu options.
Dozens of Pizza Hut Locations temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of other restaurants closed their dining rooms for eat-in services but continued to offer carry-out and delivery. To protect the safety of their team members as well as their customers, Pizza Hut introduced contactless options for delivery, carryout, or curbside pickup.
In addition to pizza, Pizza Hut’s menu includes pasta, wings, and desserts. In January of 2021, the pizza brand brought back a fan favorite from the 90s: The Edge. The Edge is a thin-crust pizza with toppings loaded all the way to the edge. If you are in the mood for something different, there are plenty of other menu options to choose from or you can create your own.
Domino’s Pizza is an American multinational pizza restaurant chain with 17,800 stores in more than 90 countries. For the first few decades after its launch, Domino’s focused on simple, convenient pizza. It wasn’t until 1992 that the chain introduced its first non-pizza menu item: breadsticks. Since then, the company has added thin- and pan-crust pizzas and flavored crusts, as well as buffalo wings, boneless chicken, and several dessert items. In 2008, Domino’s launched a line of oven-baked sandwiches and instantly became the largest sandwich delivery company, a title they still claim today.
Domino’s is another one of the few success stories to come out of the pandemic. CEO Richard Allison credits the chain’s success to focusing on franchisees and employees. As businesses across the country were forced to close their doors, Domino’s introduced its first new pizza in decades: the cheeseburger pizza. In a partnership with Nuro, the chain launched autonomous delivery and continued offering contactless delivery.
Papa John’s is the fourth-largest pizza delivery restaurant chain in the United States with over 5,199 locations, 4,456 of which are franchises, in the U.S. and 44 countries worldwide. The company was founded on the desire to offer pizza made with better ingredients. The main ingredients used to make a Papa John’s pizza are free from MSG, fillers in the meat toppings, BHA, BHT, cellulose, and partially hydrogenated oils. The slogan “Better ingredients. Better Pizza” is still being used by Papa John’s today.
Papa John’s is credited as being the first for creating and marketing a dip specifically made for pizza. The brand’s popular garlic dipping sauce has been included with every pizza ever sold by Papa John’s, since its founder, John Schnatter, first made it in 1984. As of 2021, the Papa John’s menu includes dozens of pizzas – including a “create your own” option – as well as breadsticks and desserts. Their newest product release was the Papadia – a twist on the flatbread sandwich that is available in five different varieties plus a “create your own” version.
In response to health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, Papa John’s introduced contactless delivery. They continued to promote in-app and online ordering, while relying on delivery and carry-out services for their customers.
Papa Murphy’s is a large take-and-bake pizza chain. It was formed in 1995 when two local take-and-bake pizza companies, Papa Aldo’s Pizza and Murphy’s Pizza, merged. There are now more than 1,300 franchises across the United States and Canada.
Papa Murphy’s unique business model has helped it remain one of the most popular pizza chains in the U.S. The company claims that its take-and-bake business model guarantees fresher ingredients and more control for the customer.
Rather than using freezers or pre-packaged ingredients, they make their dough from scratch, shred their cheese in-house, and chop their veggies by hand. Customers can then choose their own crust, sauce, and toppings, and then take the pizza home to bake it whenever is most convenient for them.
Papa Murphy’s adopted several protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They offer several ordering options like
Casey’s Pizza began in 1968 as a general store in Iowa. It wasn’t until 1984 that Casey’s introduced pizza into its stores, which has since become one of its signature food items. Today, there are more than 2,300 store locations across 16 states. In October 2020, Casey’s announced a full-scale re-brand, introduced a new logo, and dropped ‘General Stores’ from its name.
For the last 35 years, Casey’s has been making pizza with made-from-scratch dough, whole-milk mozzarella, fresh vegetables, and a variety of meats. Each location bakes its pizzas fresh all day long. Their breakfast pizza and Taco pizza are customer favorites, but they offer staples like cheese and pepperoni as well.
When you order from Casey’s, you can choose from a wide variety of pizzas as well as appetizers, sides, sandwiches, and more. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Casey’s began implementing its “COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan” which includes social distancing measures and proper hygiene measures. They also introduced a “No Contact” delivery option.
Pizza Ranch is a fast casual restaurant chain operating primarily in the Midwest United States. It is a Christian-based company with a vision “To glorify God by positively impacting the world.”
Pizza Ranch offers pizza, chicken, a salad bar, and a pizza and chicken buffet. Their menu also includes a variety of sides and desserts. Since the first restaurant opened in 1981, 216 locations have opened across 13 states.
Despite intermittent shutdowns because of COVID-19, sales at Pizza Ranch soared in 2020, resulting in their best year to date. The company adapted by relying more on pick-up and delivery services, rather than dine-in. This meant temporarily closing their buffets, which have since reopened as COVID-19 protocols have changed. Still, they maintain safe practices to protect both their customers and team members.
Cicis Pizza is an American buffet restaurant chain that specializes in pizza. It was founded in 1985 and there are now 397 franchises and corporate-owned restaurants in 29 states. On January 25, 2021, Cicis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company blaming the COVID-19 pandemic and stated that, because of its buffet model, delivery wasn’t beneficial. Within two months of being acquired by D&G Investors, Cicis came out of bankruptcy and is seeing an increase in sales.
In addition to their unlimited pizza buffet, Cicis’ pizzas are available through pickup and delivery. They recently added the Giant Pizza to the delivery and pickup menu. As for dine-in services, Cicis began implementing safety protocols that would protect the health of customers and team members. Rather than serving themselves at the pizza buffet, customers point to the items they want and a team member serves it to them. Together with social distancing and an emphasis on proper hygiene, Cicis has promised to keep business flowing during the pandemic.
Pizza Boli’s is a pizzeria restaurant chain that was founded in Maryland in 1985. There are currently over 70 stores in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.
Pizza Boli’s promises “Fresh Never Frozen” ingredients, including a secret recipe pizza sauce and a unique blend of 100% cheeses. The menu includes pizza, Stromboli, subs and wraps, wings, pastas, salads, sides, and desserts. They have several signature pizzas as well as an extensive list of ingredients available to create your own pizza.
In response to COVID-19, Pizza Boli’s added a no contact delivery option. Through their mobile app, customers can request no-contact delivery. Some stores also offered curb-side pickup. The company also encourages customers to pay with credit cards to ensure as many payments as possible are hands-free.
Papa Gino’s is a restaurant chain that specializes in American-style pizza as well as pasta, subs, salads, and numerous appetizers. There are 97 Papa Gino’s stores across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Since 1961, Papa Gino’s has been committed to providing great food, attentive service, and clean and convenient restaurants.
Each pizza on the menu at Papa Gino’s is made to order. Their dough, which is made with just five ingredients, is hand-stretched, without using a machine.
In March 2020, Papa Gino’s began offering only delivery and carry-out in all of its restaurants. Online payment was encouraged to minimize contact and no-contact delivery was implemented. These options remain available today, even as dining rooms began to open again throughout New England.
Rosati’s Authentic Chicago Pizza is an American casual restaurant chain that specializes in Chicago-style pizza. The chain was founded in 1926 and has since grown to include more than 200 locations across the United States. In 2018, Rosati’s was ranked 21st on Pizza Today’s list of the top 100 pizzerias.
Rosati’s Pizza uses authentic Italian family recipes that have been passed down through generations. Their dough is made fresh daily, never frozen, and is baked on a rotating pizza deck oven rather than a conveyer belt. They offer four styles of Chicago pizza crust: Traditional Thin Crust, Double Dough, Chicago Deep Dish, and Authentic Stuffed. In addition to pizza, Rosati’s offers appetizers, wings, salads, pastas, sandwiches, dinners, and desserts.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rosati’s increased the frequency of their cleaning procedures, limited the use of cash transactions from customers, and introduced no contact delivery as well as optional curbside pickup.
Mountain Mike’s Pizza is a chain of pizzerias located in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah. The company was founded in 1978 in Palo Alto, California as a single pizza restaurant and has since grown to include more than 200 restaurants. Mountain Mike’s promises a family-friendly atmosphere and the freshest and finest ingredients.
Mountain Mike’s Pizza is known for its “legendary crispy, curly pepperoni” but their menu includes a lot more than just pizza. Customers can also enjoy wings, sandwiches, salads, sides, and desserts. The company recently launched a rewards program and redesigned its mobile app to make mobile ordering easier. As restrictions on dine-in eateries lifted, Mountain Mike’s continued to focus on delivery and carry-out services to reach customers who still didn’t feel comfortable visiting the restaurant for a meal, even with social distancing measures in place.
Pizza Patron is a pizza chain with locations in Arizona, California, Illinois, and Texas. The chain intentionally opens locations in areas with a high number of Latino residents. In the 35 years since its launch, Pizza Patron has opened over 100 locations across the Southwest United States. The Latin-inspired pizzeria uses dough that is proofed for 12 hours before being topped with house-made marinara sauce, fresh vegetables, and Latin-inspired flavors.
In 2018, Pizza Patron went through a complete brand relaunch. As it worked to appeal to younger customers, the company began adopting a more modern aesthetic that included a new logo and color pallet. Today, the Pizza Patron menu includes pizza, wings, sides, and desserts.
Regarding COVID-19, Pizza Patron implemented numerous health and safety protocols while continuing to offer drive-through, carry-out, and delivery.
Blaze Pizza is a chain restaurant that was founded in 2011 by Elise and Rick Wetzel of Wetzel’s Pretzels. The name of the company is based on how quickly the restaurant can make and serve each of its pizzas.
Blaze Pizza uses a made-to-order concept that allows customers to choose what ingredients they want on their pizza. Customers work their way down the service line as team members make a pizza according to the customer’s ingredient choices. Once assembled, each pizza is placed in a gas-fired pizza oven that maintains a temperature of 700 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Blaze Pizza began using social distancing markers as well as tamper-proof stickers to immediately seal each pizza after it is baked. Their pizzas are available to order for delivery through the company’s app or website, or through DoorDash, Postmates, or Uber Eats. They also offer contactless curbside pickup at many of their locations.
Mr. Gatti’s Pizza is a pizza-buffet chain that originally opened as a pizza and hamburger restaurant 1964 in Stephenville, Texas. In the 1980s, Mr. Gatti’s added a game room and buffet bar to many of its restaurants. In 2007, Mr. Gatti’s was renamed as Gatti’s Pizza and as of 2019 there were 41 locations in eight states.
In addition to its signature pizzas, Gatti’s offers salads, pasta, wings, appetizers, sides, and desserts. While dining rooms were forced to close because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Gatti’s locations continued to offer menu items via delivery and carryout. As dining and game rooms have begun to reopen, Gatti’s continues to use health and safety protocols to protect their customers and team members.
Pizza Guys began in 1986 as a single restaurant with a focus on serving customers high-quality food including unique specialty pizzas. There are now over 70 franchises across California, Nevada, and Oregon. Their menu includes pizza, pasta, salads, wings, and more.
As the restaurant industry faced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pizza Guys relied on technology to attract and keep customers. Each store uses a system that allows customers to track and receive notifications about their order via text message. Additionally, customers can pay for their orders with contactless payments like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay.
Jet’s Pizza is an American pizza restaurant chain that was founded in 1978 in Michigan. The first franchise opened in 1990 and as of October 2020, there were 390 franchises in 19 states.
Jet’s Pizza is best-known for its square, Detroit-style, deep-dish pizza. In addition to the deep-dish crust, Jet’s offers hand-tossed round, thin, NY style, seasoned cauliflower, and gluten-free crust options. Each crust can be flavored with one of the company’s signature flavorings: butter, Cajun, garlic, Jet’s Turbo Crust, poppy seed, Romano, and sesame seed. They still use the original family recipe from 1978 and their 8-corner pizza has been trademarked by the company. Their menu also includes sides, salads, and sandwiches.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jet’s Pizza kept its stores open but began implementing contactless delivery as an alternative to carryout.
Round Table Pizza is a chain and pizzeria franchise with over 400 restaurants in the Western United States. The company was founded in 1959 in Menlo Park, California. Today, the company’s modern restaurant design pays homage to its past while providing a contemporary dining experience for customers to enjoy. In May 2021, Round Table Pizza opened its first delivery-only restaurant.
Round Table Pizza’s menu includes a lineup of specialty pizzas as well as appetizers, salads, and desserts. The company recently introduced a Street Taco Pizza for a limited time only. Their pizzas are available in sizes ranging from a personal 6.5” pie to a 16” extra-large pie.
In response to COVID-19, Round Table Pizza adjusted store hours, made changes to their buffet and salad bars, and closed most of their arcade areas. They continue to offer delivery and carryout with contactless options.
Little Caesars is an American pizza chain that was founded in 1959. As of 2020, it is the third-largest pizza chain by total sales. There are more than 5,000 locations worldwide, with franchises in the United States, Asia, the Middle East, Canada, Latin America, and Caribbean.
In 1997, Little Caesars began advertising their “Hot-N-Ready” Pizza – a large pepperoni pizza for just $5. Today, many main menu items are included in the “Hot-N-Ready” menu, which was designed to make popular menu items available to be carried out immediately. In June 2020, Little Caesars reintroduced Stuffed Crazy Bread, which was first introduced in 1995.
To follow COVID-19 regulations and recommendations, Little Caesars continues to offer no-contact delivery, Pizza Portal pickup, and carry-out. Orders can be placed online or at the store via drive-thru or pick-up window.
California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) is an American casual dining restaurant chain offering California-style pizza. The restaurant was founded in 1985 in Beverly Hills, California. There are now over 250 locations in 32 U.S. states and 11 countries.
Since it first opened, CPK has offered innovative, hearth-baked pizzas like their Thai Chicken, Jamaican Jerk Chicken, and The Original BBQ Chicken pizzas. In addition to their signature pizzas, CPK now also offers salads, appetizers, soups, pasta, sandwiches, desserts, and more.
When COVID-19 forced restaurants to close their dining rooms, CPK permanently closed 46 of its locations because they couldn’t be converted to take-out restaurants. Its other locations relied on take-out services to stay in business until dining rooms could open once again. Today, you can enjoy a socially-distanced meal at California Pizza Kitchen inside one of their dining rooms or in their outdoor dining area. In many locations, take-out is still available.
Marco’s Pizza is an American restaurant chain that specializes in Italian-American food. The first restaurant was opened in 1978. There are now more than 800 Marco’s Pizza franchises in 34 states, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and India.
Marco’s Pizza specializes in high-quality, freshly made pizza. Customers can choose from several crust styles and a long list of toppings to create their own pizza, or order one of several available signature pizzas. Their menu also includes pizza bowls (pizza toppings without the crust), subs, salads, sides, and dessert.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Marco’s Pizza has offered delivery and take-out at all its locations. Contactless service continues to be standard as the company makes the health and safety of its customers and team members a top priority.
Sbarro is an American pizzeria chain that sells New York-style pizza by the slice, as well as other Italian-American foods. There are currently over 600 locations in 33 countries, including stores found in shopping malls, airports, college campuses, and service areas.
Sbarro’s menu includes NY-style pizza, Roman pizza, Stromboli, pasta, salads, and more. Because of COVID-19 policies and recommendations, some Sbarro locations have been temporarily closed or are operating under limited hours. Most stores continue to offer delivery through Door Dash and other food delivery services.
Toppers Pizza is a chain of pizza restaurants in the United States that was founded in 1993. There are now more than 65 locations across the country. The chain’s target customer market is college-aged students and customers between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. To accommodate its target audience, most of the chain’s locations stay open until 3:00 AM or later.
Toppers offers pizza, Topperstix, wings, sides, desserts, and more. Among its most popular menu items are its signature pizzas like the new Nashville Hot pizza. There are also vegan recipes available.
To maintain the health and safety of its customers and team members, Toppers has continued to focus on the delivery aspect of its business. They implemented contactless solutions for carry-out as well. Because they have always been a primarily delivery-based business, Toppers has continued to be successful throughout the pandemic.