Chain pizza may get a bad rap, and there’s no denying that a lot of it fits comfortably under the “fast food” umbrella. But in reality, just as with non-chain pizzerias, the quality can range from fine (because there’s no such thing as bad pizza, after all) to life-changing.
Every year, we round up 100 of America’s pizza joints, from huge international mega-companies to small regional favorites, and ask you to chime in and vote for your favorites. We ask our readers to take into account the freshness and deliciousness of the pizza as well as the service, convenience, menu diversity and overall experience. We then tally up the votes and determine a winner.
This year, our ranking counted down the top 35 American pizza chains. In the end, one chain came out on top, and (perhaps by no coincidence) the top vote-getter was also the country’s largest pizza chain: Pizza Hut, which has quite a long and interesting history.
However, we’re not the only folks surveying American pizza chain preferences, and another survey had a very different outcome. Every year, The Harris Poll surveys American consumers on their favorite brands across a huge spectrum of industries, including household, travel, automotive and entertainment. This year, they surveyed more than 45,000 people about their brand preferences across 87 categories, and a surprise winner took the top spot for pizza chain: Marco’s Pizza.
Based in Toledo, Ohio, Marco’s Pizza was founded by Italian immigrant Pat Giammarco in 1978 and boasts over 600 locations across the United States and in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and India. It’s very proud of its use of fresh ingredients: The sauce is made from vine-ripened tomatoes, the cheese is a three-cheese blend, dough is made from scratch every day and toppings are fresh, thick-sliced and abundant.
Whether you’re going to Marco’s Pizza or getting down with The Hut, we can all agree on one thing: Pizza is delicious. And sometimes, chain pizza can be right up there with what’s served at the 101 best pizza places in America.