John’s Frozen Pizza. One of Chicago’s favorite pastime meals.

Here is an empty John’s Frozen Pizza Pies Box.

Hello everyone. Today I will be writing about one of Chicago’s guilty pleasures. John’s Frozen Pizza was one of Chicago’s famous foods that were so unforgettable to everyone’s mind. Other frozen pizzas have come and gone, but this one I wished didn’t go away. I remembered other ones, like Totinos, La Pizzeria, Saluto, Jeno’s, and Mama Celeste. A couple of them are still around. The television commercials were memorable, and some had catchphrases that are present in everyone’s mind.

A man named Anthony J. Pizza founded the company. Yes, that was his real name. The plant that made the pizzas were at on Joe Orr Rd in Chicago Heights, IL. From reliable sources, the pizzas made their way to local grocery stores and supermarkets in the Chicagoland area in the late 1950s. The stores that I remembered carried them were Jewel, Dominicks, National Foods, Colony Foods, A&P, and High-Low Foods.

John’s Pizza came in different sizes and flavors. There was sausage, cheese, pepperoni, hamburger, and a deluxe combination. I remember they also offered three smaller pizzas in a box. Then, they came out with the three 3 square small pizzas in a box. I recalled my mother buying sausage and cheese for the family. My brothers and I loved them. She occasionally bought the hamburger one. That was good also. We usually had John’s Pizza on the weekend. Sometimes the kids in the neighborhood would drop by and have some pizza with us.

The best time of eating John’s Pizza was during of watching television. Whether it was a television show or a movie, it was a lot of fun. My brothers and I would watch Creatures Features on Saturday night on WGN-TV Channel 9 and have John’s Pizza with RC Cola. My mother would buy the six-pack bottles. I liked the square-sized ones better than the round ones.

On social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, when I or someone posts about John’s Pizza, everyone’s memory of it come flooding in. Most people loved it, and some didn’t. Some say it tasted like cardboard and the tomato sauce tasted like ketchup. I disagreed on both counts. It was good. I still preferred ordering freshly made pizza at take-out places.

John’s Frozen Pizza disappeared in the mid-1980s. I don’t know if it went out of business or sold to another company. I still eat frozen pizza from time to time. The best one that is close is Home Run Inn. It’s okay, but it’s not like John’s. It is still one of Chicago’s childhood memories when it comes to food. It was unique. I still miss it. Thank you. Pete Kastanes. Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.

12 thoughts on “John’s Frozen Pizza. One of Chicago’s favorite pastime meals.

  1. We used to have John’s pizza for dinner on Friday nights. We got the small ones because I liked cheese and my brothers liked sausage. Mary told me she used to have them for lunch – she lived a block from school, so time wasn’t a factor.

    Frozen pizza was nowhere near as good as it is now. We can get Home Run Inn and Reggio’s pizza here in Atlanta, and they’re both quite tasty. But you can’t beat John’s for the nostalgia…

    1. John’s was one of my favorite pizzas. I miss being able to purchase it. I grew up in IL and after my time in the USAF I moved to AL and have never able to find it. I moved around in the southern states but no luck finding it anywhere. Thanks for the information.

    2. I’m 66 years old and still remember eating that fabulous pizza, John’s when I was a kid living in the St. Louis area. It was delicious!

    3. Yessss!!!! I went to elementary school in Downer’s Grove for a year in 1965, and they served John’s every Friday for lunch. I can still taste it, just amazing!

      Does anyone know what was in it — the type of cheese? the sauce? — that made it so incredibly difficult to copy? In all these years, I’ve still never tasted anything like it…

      But apparently Home Run Inn pizza is similar? I live in NYC now, and can’t find it here… 🙁

      Viva John’s!

      1. I think it was just mozzarella cheese, so I’ll say the sauce, but it’s been over 50 years…

        We get Home Run Inn pizza in Atlanta at Publix Supermarkets. We have one every Saturday for dinner. You might suggest it to the store manager where you shop…

      2. Thanks John! I still dream of this pizza! I also just read that Ellio’s might be similar (and certainly easier to find…), any thoughts? I also read that Chicago pizza might possibly have sauce that’s a little sweeter, maybe that’s the difference…

        Thanks again, have a great one!

  2. Yes just thought about that pizza my mother worked at the factory we at a lot of those pizzas we lived next to the heights I have small bar in Colorado love to serve that pizza. Mom is gone love to no how to make them for sale frozen or served at bar help if you can

  3. I grew up on this stuff.. I really miss it! Didn’t Ron Santo have his own brand of pizza for a while in the 1970s?

  4. I lived Johns sausage pizzas! My mom always had them in the freezer. Wish they still made them.

  5. I worked at John’s Pizza in the late 60’s at age 17. First worked in the meat room, then the dough room, then sometimes in the maintenance area. I remember the spiral freezer getting jammed up and frozen pizzas everywhere ! I believe the guy in charge of the dough room was Chris Zotti. A real baker from Italy. Anthony had two sons who ran the business. Really great guys. I think it was Dick and John, but not sure. I heard Totinos bought them out, but again, not sure. A cookie factory was also rumored to have been in the original building. Good times..!!

  6. Yessss!!!! I went to elementary school in Downer’s Grove for a year in 1965, and they served John’s every Friday for lunch. I can still taste it, just amazing!

    Does anyone know what was in it — the type of cheese? the sauce? — that made it so incredibly difficult to copy? In all these years, I’ve still never tasted anything like it…

    But apparently Home Run Inn pizza is similar? I live in NYC now, and can’t find it here… 🙁

    Viva John’s!
    PS Sorry, had to post this twice, since I forgot to click the “Notify me of new comments via email’ boxes the first time, duh… 😉

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