Skip to content

This Adored Regional Pizza Chain Wants To Open 1,000 Nationwide Locations

The Midwestern brand is reinvigorated under new leadership.

Few outside the Midwestern region have heard of the family-friendly pizza chain Happy Joe's Pizza and Ice Cream, but the company's CEO Tom Sacco thinks that may change very soon. According to him, the brand is the "best unsung restaurant story in the country today," and one he hopes to expand nationwide with 1,000 new locations in the next decade.

Happy Joe's, which has been around since 1972, currently operates 52 locations across Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. But since Sacco became its CEO last November, the company is on a rejuvenated growth path. So far, the chain has opened four new restaurants under his leadership, and while that may seem like a modest number, it represents more growth than the brand has seen in the last five years.

RELATED: This Popular Mediterranean Chain Is Opening 50 New Locations This Year

And Sacco has already taken several steps to clear the obstacles to major growth, like bettering the company's relationship with franchisees and making the undertaking more profitable for small business owners.

"I'm looking forward to sharing it with thousands and thousands of families and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of guests around this country in the years to come," he said of the brand to QSR Magazine.

According to the publication, the pizza chain is a hit in the Midwest, thanks to its vast array of top-quality pizza options (including breakfast and dessert pizzas), a huge selection of ice creams, a lunchtime buffet, as well as its ability to provide a nostalgic value for customers.

"The brand has been designed and has evolved to create these emotional connections with families. Particularly with the children in the family," Sacco says, comparing the Happy Joe's emotional appeal to that of In-n-Out Burger on the West Coast.

For more on, check out This Beloved Pizza Chain Is Opening 200 New Locations This Year, and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Deputy News Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura