In early January, we opened a poll asking you to vote for your favorite American pizza chains. More than 100 chains were considered, from the largest international behemoths to far smaller regional ones. Nearly 600 voters chimed in, and while the race was tight, one chain rose to the top of the heap.
If you’ve ever tried to make a pizza from scratch, you’ve probably learned that turning out a decent pie is a lot harder than it looks; cheese, sauce and bread does not a pizza make. Successful chains have it down to a science. Some pride themselves on crafting each pie by hand with all-natural ingredients; others churn out a massive quantity of pizzas daily with the help of high-tech machinery. At the end of the day, though, every chain-pizzeria customer has his or her favorite.
What exactly did our voters look for in determining their favorites? We asked them to vote only for chains that they’ve been to, of course, but also asked them to choose those they truly respect. They were told to take into account the freshness and deliciousness of the product as well as the service, convenience, menu diversity and overall experience. Some voted based on a loyalty to local chains, while others preferred the big guys.
Note that we’re not exactly identifying these chains as America’s best. Because this was a simple tally, it’s a ranking of America’s favorites — the chains that you, the readers of The Daily Meal, are most likely to turn to when you’re in the mood for pizza but, for whatever reason, can’t get to (or don’t want to bother with) an artisanal pizzeria of the kind whose wares we rank annually in our signature 101 Best Pizzas in America.