Happy Joe's

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Happy Joe's
Type privately held company
Industry Restaurant
Founded Bettendorf, Iowa (1972 (1972))
Founders Lawrence Joseph "Happy Joe" Whitty
Headquarters Bettendorf, Iowa, U.S.
Number of locations 48 stores (2011)
Products Italian-American cuisine
pizza · pasta · desserts
Website HappyJoes.com

Happy Joe's Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor is an American pizza parlor chain based in Bettendorf, Iowa. The restaurant chain was founded in 1972 by "Happy Joe" Whitty, a former Shakey's Pizza manager. Its 61 restaurants are located in the Midwestern United States (in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin).

The menu at a typical Happy Joe's comprises a wide selection of pizzas, baked pasta dishes, hot sandwiches, ice cream and soft drinks. Their pizzas come in thin crust, deep-pan, and Chicago-style varieties. Many locations also feature a buffet and salad bar.

The restaurants are geared toward the family, and children's birthday parties are frequently held there. For those celebrating a birthday, a server will bring out a complimentary sundae for the honoree, blow a bugle horn and – after announcing the honoree's birthday – sing their birthday song.

Each place setting includes a place mat, containing word games, jokes and artwork submitted by customers (who receive a free large pizza if their submission is used). Many Happy Joe's restaurants also have arcade video games and a viewing window to allow younger children to watch a cook make their pizza.

Happy Joe's claims to be the first pizza restaurant to offer a taco pizza (a pizza with refried bean/tomato sauce, cheese, lettuce, tomato and taco chips). After a franchisee suggested adding tacos to the menu, Whitty invented the restaurant's best-selling product, the Taco Pizza. [1]

The Happy Joe's location on Gilbert Street in Iowa City, IA was destroyed by a tornado on April 13, 2006, part of the Easter Week 2006 Tornado Outbreak Sequence.[2]

Recently Happy Joe's has begun to offer pizza delivery through FedEx to most points in the continental US.[3]

Joe Whitty was nearly fired from another pizza chain for sponsoring a party for a group of special needs children without first checking with his boss in 1972. Happy Joe's shuts the restaurant down one day a year to have a party for those less fortunate, requires its franchisees to do the same. They have been having these Special Needs parties since 1972.

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