This pizza chain that doesn't even have ovens was just named best in America

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The Delicious History of Pizza

A chain where business is all about moms was just named the best pizza restaurant in America.

Papa Murphy's ranks as America's favorite pizza chain, according to Market Force Information's annual quick-service-restaurant study.

This is the third year in a row that Papa Murphy's has snagged the top spot — despite the fact that its sales are nowhere near Papa John's, Domino's, or Pizza Hut's.

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This pizza chain that doesn't even have ovens was just named best in America

New York Thin Crust

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)


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California Style

(Photo by Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Chicago Deep Dish

(Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Detroit Style

(Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

New England Greek

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Colorado Style

(Photo By Brian Brainerd/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Tomato Pie

(Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Chicago Thin Crust

(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)


Unlike the biggest names in the pizza business, Papa Murphy's doesn't sell pizza piping hot and ready to be eaten.

Instead, the pies are never baked — the restaurants don't even have ovens or freezers. Customers buy a raw pie, to be baked at home.

Papa Murphy's has more than 1,500 locations in 38 states, as well as restaurants in Canada and the United Arab Emirates, making it the fifth-largest pizza chain in the US. It is by far the largest take-and-bake pizza chain in the country — the nearest competitor, Figaro's Pizza, has fewer than 50 locations.

While chains like Domino's or Papa John's appeal to younger, mostly male customers who are hungry for delivery pizza, Papa Murphy's is focused on marketing to families, something that pays off when it comes to finding loyal customers.

In addition to being named the No. 1 pizza chain by Market Force, Consumer Reports and Nation's Restaurant News have also ranked Papa Murphy's as the top pizza-restaurant chain in the US.

"Young males are not loyal. So a young male typically will love you today, and then when the next pizza place says they can charge nine bucks for that versus 10, they'll go for that," CEO Ken Calwell told "Moms are hard to get, but moms are really loyal."

In an effort to appeal to families, Papa Murphy's markets its pizzas as healthier options than the delivery-centric competition. The chain has lower-calorie options on the "Gourmet Delite" menu, cutting calories by serving up pizzas with thin crusts.

On the other side of the calorie spectrum is Papa Murphy's "stuffed" menu, with sandwich-esque pizzas like Chicken Bacon Stuffed, with one layer of creamy garlic sauce, chicken, bacon, tomatoes, and mixed onions topped with another layer of tomatoes, bacon, provolone, and cheddar.

Gonna have #pizza at office from #papamurphys coz why not .. Ordered using @talabat

A photo posted by mazen moosa (@mazendubai) on

The menu is completely customizable. The "Create Your Own" platform lets customers pick their own dough, sauce, and toppings combinations.

Another much-loved aspect of the menu is the dessert selection, especially the chocolate-chip cookie dough and the S'Mores Pizza, which is a (cheese-less) pizza covered with chocolate chips and marshmallows.

Papa Murphy's heritage draws from two take-and-bake pizza chains: Papa Aldo's Pizza, founded in 1981, and Murphy's Pizza, founded in 1984. In 1995, the two chains merged, forming Papa Murphy's.

While the majority of the company's locations are on the West Coast, the chain is currently making a major expansion push. Recently, Papa Murphy's announced plans to open 15 locations in Hawaii, with the first restaurant opening later this year.

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