In Wichita, Kansas, there is a little slice of Pizza Hut history. The original Pizza Hut restaurant, which opened in 1958, is now a museum that is open to the public. The museum includes the original red and white checkered tablecloths, pizza pans, and even the oven that was used to cook the very first pizzas.

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Pizza Hut was founded by two college students, Dan and Frank Carney, who borrowed $600 from their mother to start their business. The brothers were originally from Kansas and had attended Wichita State University. They had the idea to open a pizza restaurant after working at a local pizzeria while they were in college.

 

The Carneys leased a small building on East Douglas Avenue in Wichita and set to work on creating their own pizzeria. They named their restaurant “Pizza Hut” because their building was only large enough for eight tables and they wanted people to know that they specialized in pizza. The Carneys recruited their friend John Bender to help them with the business. Bender designed the original Pizza Hut logo, which featured a red-roofed hut with yellow letters.

 

The first Pizza Hut restaurant opened on May 31, 1958. The menu consisted of pizza, spaghetti, salad, and soft drinks. The Carneys hired student employees from Wichita State University to wait tables and cook pizzas. Business was slow at first, but word began to spread about the delicious pizza at Pizza Hut and soon the restaurant was attracting attention from all over town.

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Pizza Hut became so popular that the Carneys decided to franchise their concept in 1959. By 1963, there were 100 Pizza Hut restaurants across the United States. Today, there are more than 18,000 Pizza Hut restaurants in over 100 countries around the world. And it all started with that very first restaurant in Wichita, Kansas.

 

If you’re ever in Wichita, Kansas, be sure to swing by the original Pizza Hut restaurant-turned-museum for a slice of history (literally)! You’ll be able to see the very first oven used to cook pizzas as well as other artifacts from the early days of this now global chain. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even get inspired to open your own pizzeria one day!

 

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