Pizza Hut Number One.

Pizza Hut Museum

Field review by the editors.

Wichita, Kansas

The small brick building that housed the World's First Pizza Hut doesn't really look like a hut, but that's not why it got that name.

Pizza Hut Museum.

The story goes that brothers Dan and Frank Carney, who were students at Wichita State University, were approached by the landlady of a tiny, closed beer joint just off campus. She wanted a nice neighborhood business, and she'd read an article in a November 1957 issue of the Saturday Evening Post about a "pizza craze" sweeping the nation. Maybe the brothers would like to open a pizzeria?

Dan and Frank didn't know anything about pizza, but they were interested in starting their own business. The problem was that the little sign on the building could only fit nine characters (and, mmm, a Pepsi Cola bottle cap logo). Names such as "Campus Pizza" and "Pizza Place" were too long -- but "Pizza Hut" fit the sign. It opened on June 15, 1958.

Pizza Hut Museum.

19 years later, the Carney brothers sold their Pizza Hut franchise to PepsiCo for $300 million.

The University was eager to identify itself with the Carneys, and moved the little building onto campus in 1986. It served for a time as an inspirational Meeting Hut for WSU's Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs, but mostly it sat empty.

Pizza Hut Museum.

In 2017 the Hut was moved again -- this time to what WSU called its "Innovation Campus" -- and on April 25, 2018, it officially opened as the Pizza Hut Museum. Inside, visitors can watch old Pizza Hut commercials and sit at an original Pizza Hut table under a vintage Pizza Hut stained glass lamp. Most of the exhibits were collected by Dan's wife, who gave them to him as a surprise birthday present (They both attended the museum dedication).

Two of the Museum's most prized mementoes are its original recipe for Pizza Hut pizza sauce (written by Dan on a napkin) and a copy of the 1957 Saturday Evening Post that started the whole thing.

Pizza Hut Museum

Address:
1845 Fairmount St., Wichita, KS
Directions:
On the campus of Wichita State University. I-135 exit 9. Drive east on E. 21st St. N. for two miles. Turn right at the stoplight onto Mike Oatman Drive and onto campus. You'll see a red brick building on the left (the Marcus Welcome Center). Turn left just past the building into the little parking lot. You'll see a much smaller red brick building straight ahead. That's the Pizza Hut.
Hours:
Summer M-F 12-4. During school M 9-4, T-Th 12-4, F 9-4
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Bright Spot for Health aka The PyradomesBright Spot for Health aka The Pyradomes, Wichita, KS - 1 mi.
Museum of World TreasuresMuseum of World Treasures, Wichita, KS - 3 mi.
Carry Nation StatueCarry Nation Statue, Wichita, KS - 3 mi.
In the region:
Horse Made of Car Bumpers, Wichita, KS - 4 mi.

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April 22, 2019

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