As a kid, an invite to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s was a cause for celebration in itself. Games, pizza, and those legendary animatronic characters awaited, as well as the promise of piles of tickets and a couple fun prizes. But we bet that there’s a lot you didn’t know about this popular chain, and if you haven’t visited in a while, you’ll find that a lot has changed.
20 Things You Didn’t Know About Chuck E. Cheese’s (Slideshow)
The first Chuck E. Cheese’s opened 40 years ago, on May 17, 1977, in San Jose, California. It was actually the first family restaurant to incorporate arcade games into the experience; before Chuck E. came around, arcade games were more commonly found at adult-oriented places like pool halls. The kid-centric approach was an immediate hit (with a little help from those kooky animatronics), and franchising rights were sold in 1979.
Today, there are about 523 Chuck E. Cheese locations, and while those animatronics have taken a bit of a backseat, food has come to the forefront. Chef Gregory Casale was hired to revamp the menu and make it more adult-friendly in 2015, and flatbreads, specialty pizzas, wraps, giant warm “pizza cookies,” stuffed-crust pizzas, and other new offerings are making their way onto your local menu, and the chain has definitely changed with the times in other ways, too. So click here for 20 facts about this legendary chain!