Here’s Why Michigan Should Be the Pizza Capital of America
"Welcome to Michigan--Pizza Capital of the US!"
How come no one ever says that? They should!
Even though pizza's been around in the United States since the early 1900s, its popularity exploded after World War II. Soldiers fell in love with the Italian delicacy while they were stationed overseas, and drove a national craving for pizza that's never let up.
It was that push that initiated a proliferation of pizzerias all around the United States. Different regions began to produce different variations. Chicago developed its famous deep dish pizza. New York's hand-tossed, thin-crust, foldable slices broke away as an East Coast favorite. Detroit went square and put the marinara sauce on top.
Independent mom-and-pop pizzerias eventually gave birth to the major chains we know and love today.
Did you know that two of the three largest pizza chains in the United States got their starts in Michigan?
Pizza Hut barely edges out Domino's as the largest pizza chain in the United States. According to the latest data available, Pizza Hut has 6,604 locations in the US, as compared to 6,571 for Domino's. Little Caesars is a distant third, with 4,177 American locations.
Pizza Hut started in Kansas, but both Domino's and Little Caesars trace their beginnings to Michigan!
Domino's began in 1960 in Ypsilanti, when brothers Tom and James Monaghan purchased a local pizzeria named DomiNick's near the campus of Eastern Michigan University. Additional locations were soon added, and the name officially morphed into Domino's in 1965.
The launch of Little Caesars goes back a year earlier to 1959. Originally called "Little Caesars Pizza Treat", it started in Garden City, outside Detroit. Franchisees began to sign on in the early 1960s, and soon Little Caesars would become one of the fastest-growing pizza brands in America.
Both Domino's (Ann Arbor) and Little Caesars (Detroit) still call Michigan their home headquarters.
Say what you will about chain pizza vs. local pizzerias, but there's no denying Michigan has made an indelible mark on pizza consumption in the United States. That deserves nationwide recognition.
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