4 America’s Once Favorite Pizza Chains That Have Gone Out of Business

According to Statista, the number of pizzerias in US pizza sales exceeded 45 billion US dollars in 2021, however, the number of pizzerias across the country decreased by nearly three thousand last year. This means that while some pizzerias have thrived, others have experienced the ongoing sting left by the pandemic and have faced inflation and supply chain issues.

America’s unending hunger for pizza has seen the rise and fall of many chains over the years. While some chains are growing so rapidly that they’re planning hundreds of new locations, others have been less fortunate. Whether dining out or ordering in, the restaurant crowd in the United States is a fickle bunch, with ever-changing palates and preferences.

Just as some steakhouses have fallen out of favor in recent years, the same unfortunate fate has befallen some once-loved pizza chains. Along with struggling chains like Cici’s and California Pizza Kitchen, which moved to stay relevant this year, here are four titans of American pizza who have gone out of business for good.

RELATED: 5 Once Biggest Burger Chains in America That Went Out of Business


Pizza heaven

Pizza heaven

Pizza heaven

One of the progenitors of the pizza delivery era, Pizza Haven is but a bygone relic for pepperoni lovers in the Pacific Northwest. The chain originated in Seattle in 1958, operating as a once-revolutionary dial-a-pizza format that made it one of the first to market for such a brand. At its peak, Pizza Haven had 42 locations in the Pacific Northwest and California, but its days were numbered as it became a casualty of the pizza delivery wars of the 1990s.

With the emergence of giant companies like Pizza Hut and Domino’s, Pizza Haven couldn’t keep up, eventually going the way of Blockbuster Video and filing for bankruptcy in the late 1990s, before disappearing altogether.

Eat this, not that

Eat this, not that

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Pizzeria ShowBiz

show pizzeria sign

show pizzeria sign

A pizzeria with creepy games, rides and animatronics – sound familiar? If you guessed Chuck E. Cheese, you might be surprised to learn that there actually was another eerily similar concept that predated the rodent-themed pizza box. The concept was called ShowBiz Pizza Place, a kid-focused restaurant that served pizza with a side of shenanigans.

Initially opening in Kansas City in 1980, ShowBiz featured an animatronic stage show called Rock-afire Explosion, featuring a hillbilly bear called Billy Bon, a musical gorilla, and a frisky mouse.

Unsurprisingly, there’s really only room for one animatronic pizza place, so when Chuck E. Cheese became the de facto brand for ball pits and pizza, it eventually took over ShowBiz and converted all locations by 1992, leaving the origins of the brand in the dust of the 80s. . Of course, the fact that Chuck E. Cheese went bankrupt and resorted to selling frozen pizza isn’t exactly the pinnacle of success either, so only time will tell how long America will have a pizzeria with animatronic creatures.


Happy Joe’s pizza

happy joe's pizza

happy joe’s pizza

While not entirely gone, the future looks uncertain for a Midwestern pizza chain that has enjoyed great success in recent years. While Happy Joe’s once boasted 42 locations in Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, North Dakota and Wisconsin, its parent company Dynamic Restaurant Holdings has filed for bankruptcy, resulting in the imminent closure of several company-owned locations.

Unlike Pizza Haven and ShowBiz, however, there’s still hope for Happy Joe’s. The bankruptcy, caused by the woes of the pandemic and stifling competition, hasn’t affected the franchised locations, which still account for most of its units. So while Dynamic couldn’t service its $5.3 million debt, the brand lives to fight another day.


Pizza Cucinova

outdoor cooking pizza

outdoor cooking pizza

While nowhere near as prolific as Pizza Haven, but a sweet spot on the radar compared to ubiquitous entities like Domino’s, Pizza Cucinova was an Ohio-based mini-chain with a loyal following that seems to have vanished overnight. With no formal announcement or acknowledgment (his website is no longer functional and his last Instagram post was in 2019), all five locations have closed, giving no time to craft pizza-loving Ohioans to grieve.

The life of the company was short. It first opened in 2013, before becoming a handful of outposts, some of which never returned after initial pandemic-induced closures. The chain was owned by the Florida-based Vivaria Group, which bought Pizza Cucinova from Sbarro, a chain known for its own struggles, which speaks volumes for its chances in a pizza-saturated market.

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