Happy Joe's

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Happy Joe's
privately held company
Industry Restaurant
Founded Bettendorf, Iowa (1972 (1972))
Founder Lawrence Joseph "Happy Joe" Whitty
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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