Traditional recipes

America's 25 Best Pizza Chains

America's 25 Best Pizza Chains

You voted. Here are the results

While Pizza Hut might be the country's largest pizza chain, it isn't the country's best.

Late last year, we asked our readers to vote for their favorite pizza chain, out of a list of 100 throughout the country. From the smaller guys like Jet’s Pizza and Hungry Howie’s to the big guns like Domino’s and Pizza Hut, just about every pizzeria that would consider itself a chain (even a few with less than 10 locations) made their way into the survey. Close to 1,000 people voted for their favorites, and in the end one surprising chain found its way to the top.

America's 25 Best Pizza Chains (Slideshow)

Pizza is one of the most widely eaten foods in the country, and it’s easy to see why. It’s bread, cheese, and sauce — what’s not to like? But as you might know from that time you tried to make a pizza with a slice of Wonder Bread, American cheese, and ketchup when you were a kid, it’s not as easy as it looks to make a great pizza. Not only are these chains turning out good pizza, they’ve got it down to a science.

Some chains pride themselves on still making each pie by hand, 100 percent of the time. Others turn out a vast quantity of pizzas daily with the help of high-tech machinery. But at the end of the day, what they serve is still pizza, and according to our voters, it’s delicious.

So what exactly did our voters look for when determining what their favorites were? We asked them to vote not just for ones they’ve been to, but for ones they truly respect. They were told to take into account the freshness of the product, service, convenience, menu diversity, deliciousness of the product, and overall experience. Some voted based on a loyalty to local chains and others preferred the big guys. But in the end, the people have spoken, and we have ourselves a winner. And it might not be one that you were expecting.

This Is the Most Disliked Pizza In America Right Now

Following the rise in popularity of the Detroit-style pizza pie, Pizza Hut released its own version of the square-shaped midwestern classic back in January. Promising a thick, caramelized crust and cheese that stretches all the way to the edges in all directions, it was supposed to be a slam dunk launch for the chain that no one can out-pizza. Unfortunately, based on a mostly negative response to the pie on social media and in some food publications, it sounds like Pizza Hut may have inadvertently created the most disliked pizza in the country (at the moment…) instead.

You'd think that a pizza created with laser-like precision (it includes exactly 32 pepperoni slices) and one that had gone through 500 iterations in the year it took to develop it would leave no room for error. Sure, "everyone's a critic" is certainly true with every fast-food novelty, and some negative comments are par for the course, but it looks like Pizza Hut may have gotten it genuinely wrong with the regional favorite. (Related: McDonald's Is Making These 8 Major Upgrades.)

According to Deadline Detroit, locals have taken offense at the chain's mass-produced pie for its weak resemblance to the cheesy, crusty, deep-dish legend that has put their city on the national pizza map.

So, what are some of the most common gripes? Not crispy enough, not enough sauce, tastes like cheesy breadsticks, "looks like vomit" … you name it, and the complaint has been lodged.

Maybe Detroit-native Chris Powers, a bar owner quoted by Wall Street Journal's food writer Emily Heil, explained it best when he said the pizza "looks like a Detroit pizza—all the cornerstone elements are represented. But they're all a little off, so when you put them all together it ends up entirely different."

For better or worse, Pizza Hut's Detroit-style pizza is a limited-time item, which means the chain can yank it off the menu if the negative feedback starts to affect sales. But so far, that hasn't been the case.

UPDATE: Based on the sales numbers, it sounds like the haters may just be the loud minority. In fact, a representative for Pizza Hut who reached out to Eat This, Not That! stated the pizza's sales are exceeding expectations.

"Pizza Hut's Detroit-Style pizza has been incredibly popular and is exceeding forecasts. In fact, customer demand was so high we had to pull Detroit-Style advertising nearly two weeks early because we are selling out of it even earlier than expected," the statement read, adding the demand has been higher than the national average in the Detroit area.

For more on the latest fast-food trends, check out the 6 Most Anticipated Fast-Food Menu Items Launching This Year, and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get all of the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

America's 25 Best Barbecue Chains

Barbecue is one of those foods that's fiercely regional. In Texas, it's all about the beef in Carolina, the focus is pork and so on. Thankfully, there are great barbecue restaurants all across the country with multiple locations that are spreading the barbecue gospel far and wide. We surveyed nearly 10,000 folks from across the country, and these are the 25 chains that received the most votes.

Chains tend to get bad raps, because (for the most part) they rely on production lines and cost-cutting measures to deliver food that's as inexpensive and quickly-made as possible (think pizza chains versus an actual pizzeria). But when it comes to barbecue, there's really no way to cut corners. Because if you cut corners with barbecue -- by using low-grade meat, for example, or employing artificial means to give it smoky flavor -- people will know. And not only will they know, they'll get angry. You can screw around with burgers or pizza, but you can't screw around with 'cue.

All the owners of the restaurants on our list keep this fact close to heart, and it comes through in the food they serve. In order to assemble our ranking, we created a survey with 67 chain barbecue joints and asked the public to weigh in and vote for their favorites. Nine thousand, six hundred, and seventeen votes later, there was a clear champion.

Choosing a favorite type of barbecue is a subjective matter, but I think we can all agree that when done right, there's nothing on earth that's more delicious. And while some of these chains specialize in Texas-style barbecue and others focus on St. Louis, we should be mighty thankful that they've decided to expand and grace parts of the country that might otherwise not have access to great barbecue. So loosen your belt and read on to learn which 25 barbecue chains are America's best.

#25 Dickey's BBQ Pit

With more than 470 locations in 42 states, Dickey's, founded by Travis Dickey more than 70 years ago, is the world's largest barbecue franchise. Each location pit-smokes its meat on the premises, and free kids' meals are still offered every Sunday. While it's certainly old-fashioned, that's more the result of an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. Meats are served by the pound, and include Southern-style pulled pork, hickory-smoked brisket, honey ham, spicy Cheddar and Polish sausages, pork ribs, chicken, and turkey breast. There are no frills at Dickey's, just solid, honest-to-goodness barbecue.

#24 City Barbeque

Photo Credit: City Barbeque

With six Ohio locations, two in Kentucky, and one each in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Indianapolis, City Barbeque has been dishing up award-winning craft barbecue since 1999. Meats are smoked upwards of 18 hours, and while the owners don't claim to hew to any particular region's style, they're really representing the best of all worlds -- and doing it well. Brisket, pulled pork, pulled pork with slaw, turkey, pulled chicken with Alabama white sauce, and smoked sausage are sold on a bun, on their own, or by the pound, and St. Louis-cut ribs come slathered in their classic barbecue sauce. Sides and desserts are scratch-made daily don't miss the gumbo, hush puppies, or banana pudding.

Regional Pizza Chains That Really Should Go National

There’s no doubt that we love pizza in America. According to some studies , it’s our favorite food, enjoyed more than steak , hamburgers, tacos, or pasta. Statistics show that we eat an average of 23 pounds of pizza per capita annually.

A lot of that gets consumed at home, of course, either made from scratch or, far more often, picked up from the supermarket freezer case or ordered in for delivery. And a lot of that comes from some of the nation’s top pizza companies — led by Domino’s and Pizza Hut, both of them $12 billion-plus businesses worldwide.

But there are about 77,000 pizzerias and restaurants specializing in pizza around the country, and many of these are single operations or units of small regional chains. Some of these minor players in the pizza world are very good, offering unique approaches to this favorite food of ours — and pizza-lovers would benefit if they were more widely accessible.

Considering various pizza rankings and reading through numerous regional reviews, 24/7 Tempo has come up with a list of regional pizzerias that are well deserving of attention beyond their original target areas. All are first-rate — even though none of them made 24/7 Tempo’s recent Yelp-based list of America’s 25 favorite pizza joints .

In some cases, these chains have remained — at least so far — in just one state or small geographical area, like Pat’s Pizza, whose 15 locations are all in Maine, or Buddy’s Pizza, exclusive to Michigan.

Others, like Chicago-based Aurelio’s, have a few outposts far afield. One, L.A.’s 800 Degrees, has even opened in Japan and the Middle East. But if a chain is concentrated in one portion of the country, it qualifies as local by our reckoning.

We haven’t listed anything that’s too big, however. Some chains on this list have fewer than 10 units only one has more than 50. We haven’t included such operations as Marco’s, with more than 900 units, or the 1,400-unit Papa Murphy’s — though both are among the restaurant chains with the happiest customers .

We’d be happy to see any chain on this list opening down the street. Perhaps one day some of them will.

Papa Murphy's Garden Veggie

Papa Murphy's/Yelp

Patel says to opt for the Garden Veggie crustless option, however, Murray says the thin family size pizza is also a good choice. The crustless pizza is Papa Murphy's keto-friendly option, which gives you all of your favorite toppings from your favorite pizza order without the crust and served in a personal tray. For comparison, one serving of the crustless Garden Veggie only costs you 110 calories and 4 grams of carbs.

Where's McDonald's?

You'll notice that McDonald's didn't make this list again, either. It comes in on the list at spot 12, which is an improvement. Chipotle and its burritos are still number 11 on the list, and Sonic Drive-In is lucky number 13. Pizza isn't represented until well down the list, either, and they're grouped closely to each other with Papa John's at 17, Little Caesars at 18, Pizza Hut at 24 and Domino's at 26.

In the battle for the favorite doughnuts, Dunkin' Donuts (#15) beats Krispy Kreme (#23). And it's a little funny that Carl's Jr. came in at spot 20, while twin sister chain Hardee's came in at #30. It was a big year for chicken chains we'll give you a guess where one particular chain landed on the list (as a hint, Popeye's and its chicken sandwich came in at #14 on the list).

Chinese wasn't super popular fast food, with Panda Express coming in at #43. And if you count coffee as fast food (we definitely count it as one of the food groups), Tim Hortons came in at 28, beating Starbucks who landed at spot #31.

Here are the 10 best fast food restaurants in the country currently, according to Ranker.

‍Hounddog’s Three Degree Pizza

Address: 2657 N High Street, Columbus, OH 43202

Neighborhood: University District

Hounddog's Three Degree Pizza is “pizza for the people.” Though they offer a selection of specialty pizzas, they also have a “make your own” option that includes three different crusts (thin, “Smokin’ Joe’s” which is a thick garlic butter crust, or gluten-free) and even lets you pick from five different sauces. Careful! The sauces can be relatively mild (like Joes, traditional red sauce) to Howlin’ (even more spicy than spicy).

This is one of my favorite pizza places in Columbus. Highly recommend their meat lovers pizza! We did it with the garlic butter crust. So flavorful! Also we got breakfast pizza as well. Interesting and fun concept. We did it with the thin crust. It tasted like a breakfast lol. It even came with the maple syrup. But I just ate its original flavor. Lasagna bites were tasty as well. Good appetizer to start! Their pizza prices are around $20-25. Reasonable price for the pizza quality. - Yelp Review

24. Ben & Jerry's

Headquarters: South Burlington, Vermont

US sales: $78 million

Number of US locations: 235

Financial performance rank: 89

Customer satisfaction rank: 4

Value rank: 1

After taking a $5 ice-cream-making course at Penn State, best friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield purchased an old gas station and turned it into a scoop shop. Ben & Jerry’s is now known for inventive ice-cream flavors like Cherry Garcia, Phish Food, and Americone Dream.

Almost 40 years in the business, the ice-cream veterans keep finding new ways to bring its most loved products to customers. In May 2016, the company announced it would start “ flipping ” three of its classic flavors. For instance, the flavor Half Baked has been changed to Totally Baked — instead of brownies in chocolate ice cream and cookie dough in vanilla, the ice-cream-and-baked-good combos will be swapped.

We taste-tested pizzas from Pizza Hut, Papa John's, and Domino's — and the best choice is clear

According to a 2014 study by the US Department of Agriculture, about 1 in 8 Americans ate pizza on any given day. That's a lot of pizza.

While local pizzerias are always a good choice, there are millions of die-hard chain pizza lovers out there. These acolytes of the Pizza Big Three are steadfast in their preferences: Domino's, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's.

Pizza Hut may have replaced Papa John's as the official pizza of the NFL, but which of the three chains has the best pizza? With the Super Bowl drawing near, we decided to take the matter into our own hands and test the Big Three pizzas head-to-head to see who has the best pizza.

Who is crowned the classic-cheese champion, and who snags the supreme-pizza prize? Keep scrolling to find the results:

See How Philadelphia's Pizzeria Beddia Makes the Best Pizza in America

Philadelphia locals call Joe Beddia the Pizza Jesus. Others refer to him as the Jiro of Pizza. What makes him worthy of such praise? He makes the best pizza in America (yep, we said it). Restaurant and drinks editor Andrew Knowlton spent a day at Pizzeria Beddia to see exactly how Beddia makes the country's best pies.

Every day at 9 a.m., you'll find Beddia at Pizzeria Beddia, in his happy place: Making dough.

Beddia works his dough magic on the simplest of ingredients: organic flour, yeast, water, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, and sugar.

Each morning, Beddia divides up the dough he made the previous day into 40 equal pieces, which will serve as the foundation for the evening's pies.

Beddia makes enough dough for 40 pies a day. He says it's all he can manage without killing himself.

Beddia listens to Howard Stern on the radio while he makes dough.

Beddia arranges the classic letter board menu that hangs on the wall at Pizzeria Beddia.

Beddia's sauce couldn't be simpler: raw, crushed, canned New Jersey tomatoes sea salt and garlic.

Beddia's toppings are simple and classic—think house-made pork sausage, roasted onions, crimini mushrooms, and arugula.

Beddia uses exactly six ounces of sauce per pie, spreading it out in a spiral.

Beddia uses a mix of aged fresh and aged mozzarellas on his pies.

A 16-inch round tomato-and-cheese-pie at Pizzeria Beddia costs $19.

Pizzeria Beddia offers three different pies: a cheese pie, a spicy chile-laced pie, and a seasonal pie—this one's got spinach, fresh cream, spring onion, and red onion.

Beddia lives a five-minute walk away from the restaurant in Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood. He comes home for lunch each day after he makes dough in the morning.

He also fits some transcendental meditation into his lunch break at home.

John Walker, left, is Pizzeria Beddia's second and only other employee. Among his many duties around the shop are working the register and juicing fruits and vegetables for his and Beddia's daily juice fix.

The pizza arrabiata (left), seasonal pie, and cheese pie.

Beddia slices through a fresh cheese pie.

There's always leftover pizza dough, which Beddia bakes into little loaves and cuts into pieces for guests to help themselves to at the counter.

A few of Beddia's knickknacks, which include a bowl of dried Calabrian chiles and a miniature figurine of the Philadelphia 76ers' Charles Barkley.

Beddia and Walker take orders the old-fashioned way: by hand.

Walker counting the night's cash on the basement stairs.

And, finally, a slice for Beddia.

Beddia locks up shop around 10:30 p.m., after selling all 40 pies.

Sign up for the Bon Appétit


Will be used in accordance with our user agreement and privacy policy

Explore Bon Appétit

Food Innovation Group: Bon Appétit and Epicurious
© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.
Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated as of 1/1/21).
Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our affiliate partnerships with retailers.
Your California Privacy Rights
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast.

Watch the video: The Best Pizza In Every State. 50 State Favorites (December 2021).