Pizza Franchise Invaders

franchise pizzerias

The New York City and Long Island area has long been renowned for having the best pizza thanks to an abundance of quality mom-and-pop slice shops. Yet, there is still room in the marketplace for franchise pizzerias to ply their trade to those who can’t seem to find a love for our regional style of pizza. Or in many cases, most of these chains are open late enough to cater to the late-night bar crowd faced with a lack of options.

These are some of the major pizza chain players in our area.


Founded in Brooklyn in 1956, this 800-plus strong chain is based in Columbus, OH. Sbarro’s specialty is New York City-style pizza (natch) and is fairly basic in choice selection (cheese, pepperoni, mushroom, supreme, double duo pepperoni Roman pizza).

Pizza Hut

Founded in 1958 in Wichita, KS by two Wichita State University students, Pizza Hut has 13,728 worldwide locations (excluding China and India, which are operated by different partners). Pizza choices include meat (Supreme, Meat Lover’s, Primo Meats, BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger), chicken (Hawaiian Chicken, Chicken-Bacon Parmesan, Backyard BBQ Chicken, Buffalo Chicken), veggie (Premium Garden Veggie, Ultimate Cheese Lover’s, Veggie Lover’s) and of course, build your own. Customers can also get decadent and throw stuffed crust into the mix as well. 

Domino’s Pizza

Founded in 1960, this Ann Arbor, MI-based franchise boasts 13,811 locations worldwide as of 2017. There are options aplenty up to and including building your own pizza and pasta. As for pies, Domino’s has ultimate pepperoni, Cali chicken bacon ranch, Honolulu Hawaiian, MeatZZa, spinach and feta and ExtravaganZZa. 

Little Caesar’s

Yet another Midwest-based chain, Little Caesar’s is the third-largest pizza business (as of July 2017 there are 4,317 locations in the United States) behind Pizza Hut and Domino’s and was founded in 1959 in Garden City, MI. Those looking to get a pizza fix can avail themselves of both New York and Chicago-style versions of Ultimate Supreme, Hula Hawaiian and 3-Meat Treat. 

Papa John’s

Founded in 1984 by John Schnatter, Papa John’s has upwards of 4,700 locations nationwide as of January 2016. While the man who would have you think he is Peyton Manning’s BFF promises that his chain is all about, “Better ingredients, better pizza,” his menu offerings include signature specialties, such as (The Meats, bacon cheeseburger and Hawaiian BBQ chicken) and Papa’s lighter choices (Mediterranean veggie, Tropical Luau, grilled chicken and Canadian bacon) 

Za Late Night Pizzeria

The outlier on this list, the mysterious Za Late Night Pizzeria only boasts Seaford and Rockville Centre locations. In staying true to its moniker, operating hours are from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Patrons rave about the range of menu options that range from your standard plain and Sicilian slices to mac and cheese, sriracha and BBQ chicken bacon ranch. 


Hiding in plain sight in Costco‘s food court is some pretty darn good pizza. Like everything else at the warehouse store, Costco’s pizza is jumbo-sized. It can even be considered “New York style” pizza, by less discerning folks, because Costco purchases its dough from a Brooklyn-based distributor. 

Click for more from Long Island Weekly‘s pizza issue:

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Dave Gil de Rubio
In addition to being editor of Massapequa Observer and Hicksville News, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI).

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