Chain pizza may take its share of knocks, but there’s no denying its popularity with the American people. Still, the most popular chains may not be the most famous ones. Toppers Pizza, with about 70 locations in 12 states and headquartered in Whitewater, Wisconsin, topped a new readers’-favorite survey by the Daily Meal, while California Pizza Kitchen and Chicago-based Giordano’s came in second and third, respectively.
The website released its fourth annual America’s 35 Favorite Pizza Chains list recently, noting that it’s strictly a popularity contest, not a commentary on quality (which the site covers separately in its annual 101 Best Pizzas in America survey). “We asked [readers] to vote only for chains that they’ve been to, of course, but also asked them to choose those they truly respect,” the Daily Meal states. “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.”
And make no mistake—the big guys fared pretty well. Domino’s claimed the No. 4 spot, while take-and-bake leader Papa Murphy’s came in at No. 5. Pizza Hut scored the No. 6 spot and Papa John’s made the list at No. 8.
Toppers “rocketed to the top of the list this year thanks to a loyal following and the craveable Topperstix,” the article continues. “The brand has grown rapidly, doubling in size in just three years. Founded in 1993 by an industry veteran, Toppers puts customer service and fresh toppings at the forefront of its brand. A new format allows customers to interact with staff to see their pizzas get created. It’s a formula for success and loyalty.”
The article goes on to praise California Pizza Kitchen for its innovative artisan pies, including the Thai Chicken, Habanero Carnitas and California Club. As for Giordano’s, “its massive deep-dish pies are a Chicago must-eat.”
The Top 10 list looks like this:
1. Toppers Pizza
2. California Pizza Kitchen
3. Giordano’s Restaurant & Pizzeria
4. Domino’s Pizza
5. Papa Murphy’s
6. Pizza Hut
7. Gino’s East
8. Papa John’s
9. Uno Chicago Grill
10. Lou Malnati’s
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