Piece O’ Pizza

Piece O’ Pizza was the brand name of a string of eateries that once decorated the Southern California landscape…an amazing reach considering the awfulness of their signature product. Do you like pizza where the crust tastes like matzo, the toppings have the thickness of carbon paper and you can’t decide whether to eat the pizza or the box it came in? If you do, you’d have loved Piece O’ Pizza pizza. Just awful. What kept them in business, it seemed to me, was their great, racy slogan (“Had a piece lately?”) and the fact that there then weren’t a lot of other places where one could grab a fast pizza to take home.

Also, they served a decent meatball sandwich and a more-than-decent (and very cheap) spaghetti plate. Many of the Piece O’ Pizza stands were in “Skid Row” style areas, and I bet that spaghetti plate kept a lot of homeless people alive.

Like I said, they were all over L.A. There was one on Pico just east of Sepulveda, one at Beverly and Fairfax, another on La Brea just south of Hollywood, another on La Cienega near Airdrome, another on Western just south of Hollywood…and (I’m guessing) at least 200 more. As far as I know, there’s only one remaining. It’s down on Venice Boulevard about a half-mile west of Sepulveda. A year or two ago, I was in the neighborhood and in need of rapid lunch, so I decided to go in and have the spaghetti plate, just to see if it was still the same. Since there is no parent company now to supply the preparations, I was expecting totally different cuisine…but the meat sauce was more or less what I recalled, or at least it seemed to have evolved from the same recipe.

I probably won’t go back since I now have better places to eat. I suspect that’s what killed off the Piece O’ Pizza chain in or around the late eighties. As Numero Uno and Pizza Hut and even Domino’s spread, everyone had a better place to get a quick pizza or to have one brought piping-hot to their door. Speculating further, I’d guess that too many of their stands were located in depressed areas, which made it difficult for them to upgrade their product. It would have been awkward to simultaneously improve their menu (thereby making most items more expensive), advertise that they’d done this…but still service the crowd that just wanted the cheapest-possible plate of pasta.

I don’t exactly miss the places since they weren’t that good. On the other hand, I’ve been to fancy Italian restaurants where I enjoyed a $20 entree a lot less than I liked the Piece O’ Pizza spaghetti plate. Even in the early eighties, it didn’t cost much over two dollars…and that included garlic bread.

86 Responses to Piece O’ Pizza

  • Darrel King says:

    I worked at the Piece o Pizza on Wilshire, in the seventies and it was one of the best pieces in town. Our manager Al would lay down a layer of cheese, then the toppings and finally another layer of cheese! Still to this day, after tasting some of the best of Naples, Brooklyn, and Boston it stands as one of the most delicious in my recollection. Others of notable mention were/are Bellini’s on Pico, Bruno’s of course and the indescribably delicious Coop in Palms. Does anyone remember Pizza Man? They delivered! Yikes!

  • Rich says:

    I had my first piece at the Beverly and Fairfax location a few days after it opened. A friend of mine and I ordered a whole pizza and sat out back in my car and ate the pizza. We “forgot” to return the pizza pan when we were finished, and I still had it until about two years ago. I hope they don’t throw me in the slammer for grand theft.

  • Ed Maui says:

    Piece o’ Pizza!!! We grew up eating the pizza from the shop on Venice and McGlaughlin backinthe 60’s and 70’s. We would also ocasionally visit the one on Pico inW.L.A. I have fond memories of the pizza.
    My mom would have us call to order the pizza and always ask for the crust “well done”. Thank you for bringing back the memories!

    PS. I remember the Goody Goody Resturant on Wilshire – it was next to a grocery store where our Dad we take us to go grocery shopping!


  • Jeremy Goldman says:


  • Al says:

    I grew up in Brentwood and my family and I used to go to the one on Wilshire all the time. Also, I had a friend who lived near the one on Venice and we used to walk there and get slices. I seem to remember them both being pretty good, for my admittedly not too discriminating palate. I drive by the one on Venice every now and then and I’m actually glad it’s still there and that some things remain the same. I haven’t eaten there in years, though.

  • Robert Simmons says:

    I am wondering what ever happened to Mother’s pizza. It was a home pizza delivery restaurant in North Hollywood CA back in the 1970’s.

  • Gail Ann Greminger says:

    Oh gosh. I had my very first pizza at a birthday party held at the Piece O’Pizza off Beverly and Fairfax. (and also had a wallet stolen there many years later)
    I loved that little place with its checkered tablecloths.

    From about 1969 to 1971, I babysat every Saturday night. The mother would give me money to take my ward for dinner. So every Saturday, we walked to Piece O’Pizza, ordered a combination dinner for two and would happily feast upon salad, spaghetti and a cheese pizza– all for less than five dollars.

  • Jonathan King says:

    For a year or so in the late ’60s, my best friend and I would walk home from Fairfax High at 3 p.m., stopping at Taco Tah (next to the POP on Beverly) for a ritualistic tub of refried beans and a soft drink. Piece O’Pizza was reserved for more formal evening dining (i.e., sitting down indoors, with non-plastic flatware), and we hit that hard as well between ’67 and ’69, addicted as we were to the house salad dressing. (You could buy it bottled, but it was never as good somehow.) One night we dropped in late in the evening, and they were out of lettuce … so I left two friends there and drove pellmell to the nearest supermarket (Ralph’s on 3rd, maybe?) for two heads of iceberg. We had a nice salad.

  • John Engstrom says:

    The La Cienega location, close to Santa Monica Freeway, late hours and economical pricing made it a great choice for late night college parties and poker parties thereafter. The pizza, at least at that location, was pretty good, and an excellent value, albeit not the best pizza in town.

  • Bobby K says:

    When I was a kid we lived in W.L.A., around National Blvd. and Bentley Ave.
    We used to go the Piece O’ Pizza on Pico Blvd. just E. of Sepulveda Blvd. Great family times, as well those fun High School days.
    I was just telling my wife that the POP sign had their catch phrase ”Had a Piece Lately” on it. She started laughing but did not believe me, so I took the challenge and found all these great comments about some great old memories! I will never forgot that great pizza’s molten cheese blistering the roof of my mouth…and the days healing! I still remember the taste of that great Pizza and the red checkered table tops.( I think?) Very Cool Blog! Ciao.

  • John Howard says:

    Wow, great to find this thread. Caron Koss, please thank your father and uncle from me, another sentimental customer with fond memories of the Reseda PoP as a teen in the 60’s. I recall clearly that the price of the spaghetti dinner for 4 was $4.25 – that’s 4.25 for all 4 people, not per person. An amazing deal even for those days. When other teens would drive to ice cream stores, my gang of friends would drive to PoP in Reseda late at night for that great salad! I remember the wall had a mural that looked reminiscent of a map, with names of Italian cities interspersed with local town names – Palermo, Venice, Pisa, Canoga Park, Van Nuys, Chatsworth – we thought that was pretty funny. I remember the guys tossing the pizzas. I probably saw one or more of the guys who posted here that they worked there. From the time I was 8 or 10 to the time I was 18 or so I must have been in there hundreds of times with family members, with friends and their parents, and with too many groups of my teenage friends to remember them all. So I’m sure I contributed to the owners’ well-deserved comfortable lifestyle, and that’s nice to know. Thanks for the great family food and the memories!

  • Caron Koss says:

    Thank you all for your kind words about my family’s restaurants. I was very surprised to see this post as someone sent my sister the link. My father Alex (88) and his brother, Marty (92) are both alive and doing quite well. I think they will be very happy to know that many of you think of the restaurants with fondness and good memories.

    I used to love going to the Reseda place and visit my father when I was very young and I would sit for hours watching the pizza maker flip the pizzas. I must confess that I used to eat the pepperoni and cheese…oh so good. The only other place I went to was the one on Laurel Canyon. There were 19 or 20 in all.

    Someone mentioned the salad dressing … another one of my favorites. Many years ago I asked my dad what the recipe was and unfortunately, he could not remember. We used to marinate the chicken in it at home all the time because we all loved it so much.

    I recognize some names in this post. If you remember me please contact me at carongoldberg@verizon.net

  • John Marzy says:

    Mark is definitely being unfair in his characterization of Piece o’ pizza’s food. I don’t believe he’s ever had a “Piece” the way he writes about the store! I worked at the Reseda location in 72/73. The dough was made fresh and it was a thrill to hand toss pizza – each and every one! Real mozzarella cheese. Great salad dressing. Wish I could get the recipe. Fond memories, goodnight Kid-o.

  • Karen McCowan says:

    I’m an Oregon PI looking to reach the owner of the La Cienega Piece ‘O Pizza. Finding this person could help a really great client remain in the country with his family, including a disabled adult child. If you can help please email kmacinvestigations@gmail.com.

  • Steven Moshlak says:

    My folks and I used to either get pizza from Piece ‘o Pizza, in NoHo or in later years, Reseda. the other place, was Mike’s Pizza, over in Panorama City.

  • John M says:

    As a kid we use to frequent the location on Venice since it was right down the street. It was one of the first places that put pong in their store. Unfortunately, we were such bratty kids that we would not leave. And we would muscle the manager for free pizza by making noise or claiming funny things crawled on the food. Ofcourse not true. We just loved the food and we were brats. I think the place is still there and if I ever go back to the old neighborhood I may have to pop in.

  • Kathryn ashe says:

    Used to be taken to the pico location when growing up in the 50’s in west LA. Pizza dough was hand tossed behind the window facing the street. In the early 50’s a $10 dinner for 4 included a large salad, large bowl of pasta and a large cheese pizza.

    Having lived in Italy, I can say, piece of pizza was pretty darn good. The only other place in Los Angeles to get decent pizza in those days was Patsy d’mores in Hollywood or at the farmer’s market off fairfax.

    Have to agree with Sheila, I too loved the house dressing.

  • Sheila says:

    We “loved” the italian dressing, and would purchase their bottled dressing all the time. We still say, it was the best.

  • Jeff Schneider says:

    And one other thing…the cooks let me help make the pizza. Would never happen today.

  • Jeff Schneider says:

    I grew up eating at the Laurel Canyon POP store beginning in 1953. Here are the corrected facts: Family dinner for four… a large salad with that wonderful dressing, a large helping of spaghetti and meat balls (I was the only one who liked meatballs, I got all 4!), a large plain pizza, cokes and all the Italian bread and butter you could eat. Price was not “under $10” it was $3.98. But wait, TUESDAY was family night, the same meal was $2.98! Our entire neighborhood would get in line by 5 pm and wait for our dads. There were only about 8 tables. Like ‘Cheers’, everyone knew each other. We moved in 1963 and went to the Reseda store, that’s when they raised the price by $1 and drinks were extra. Still way below $10. Maybe the food wasn’t great, but the memories are.

  • Ron says:

    Growing up in the late 50s and early 60s my brother sister and I were taken out to dinner once a week and our parents asked up where we wanted to go and the answer was ALWAYS Piece O Pizza. We lived in Mar Vista until 1962 and we went to the one on Pico near Sepulveda and after 1962 we moved to the Fairfax district and went to the one on Beverly near Fairfax. While I loved the Pizza and spaghetti it was the Italian Salad Dressing that kept bringing me back as a young adult. I miss it.

  • Mark Kraus says:

    To Sheldon Helfing: this is Mark Kraus a contributior to this blog and fellow JB Jr High band member 50 years ago. Say hi if you see this OK?

  • Tony Colvin says:

    It was that meatball sandwich that was fantastic. The one on 18th & La Cienega made the best meatball sandwich I have ever had to date. The last one on Venice in Mar Vista still makes a good one.

  • Andrea says:

    And,…it was beautiful inside.6 tables tops. Pretty little hand blown glass lamps above each table,checkered clothes and the grapes like someone else said. Very, very quaint. :-)

  • Andrea says:

    Chewing. On a mushroom pizza and for a moment it reminded me of Piece O Pizza in Manhattan Beach.Frank used to manage and toss pizza dough. And as a child our whole family would eat there for cheap but it was so good! Years later i brought our babies right from the hospital! Fun tradition. Matter o fact the Kreir family our neibors on Gates all seemed to work there at one time or another in some capacity..mom Louise was our waitress many a time. So sad this place is gone.

  • Michael Wolf says:

    In 1952 our family moved into a house near Panorama City, and our neighbors, Al and Naomi Koss had just gone into partnership with Al’s (of Al’s Piece O’Pizza in Reseda) brother Marty to open what would become the Piece O’Pizza Company. In the early ’50’s you could buy the family meal, A Large Cheese Pizza, a huge Mixed Italian Salad, an even huger bowl of Spaghetti and Meatballs, and get a really fair serving of garlic bread, enough to serve a family of 4 for under $ 10.00. Al lived in the valley, so he developed the Laurel Canyon shop, while Marty who lived off of Robertson in Beverlywood, opened the La Cienega locations, but it was a family business, run with integrity, by people who cared about their product enough that it gave Al a home on Beverly Dr in Beverly Hills, plus a holiday home on Coronado Island. I’m sure Marty did as well, if not better. These were great people who stayed close to my family all through their lives. It’s a shame that times have changed, costs have risen so high, that families can’t run these business’s anymore. Our family had a chain of grocery stores, they were extremely high quality, but costs exceeded income, and mega-conglomerates bought the chain. The stores are there, the names are changes, and they now belong to a larger chain that is based in the East.

  • Gary Wallace says:

    I worked at Al’s Piece O’ Pizza on Reseda Blvd in Reseda back in 1969. It was a fun job. It was my first real job after getting out of the Marine Corps. Had some interesting experiences there. We got tired of eating Italian every night so we sometimes traded pizza pies for dessert pies from the House of Pies shop across the street. Once we traded a large pizza for a bag of pot. I remember “hot dogging” with pizza dough tossing whenever pretty girls were watching. There was more than a couple “fails’ then. Ha! I prevented a robbery from happening one night. All in all it was a fairly decent place to take the family for dinner. I drove buy the location many years ago and was saddened to see that Al’s Piece O Pizza had been replaced by a porn shop.

  • Keith says:

    This thread is cool !! …I was talking to my sons, about my first job in LA, in 1974 (I am originally from the UK) and he directed me to this website !!
    One of my first jobs, was working at the Piece O’Pizza on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood !!..back in my “Hippie” days !!some wild times back then !! with the Whiskey close by, when I got off work early, I used to work with Hector, Hussien and Scott, for the late shift, we were supposed to stay open until 3 am, but being “high” and with a bad case of the “munchies”,we used toclose up around 2 am, leaving just the outside order window open, and Hussien would cook up these fabulous Steak Sandwiches !!…oooh man !!…with the free soda & food, that’s was one of the only perks working there !!…I remember one night Linda Lovelace stopped by and ordered a “Meatball Sandwich” which really cracked us both up, and Gene Hackman stopped by early am and ordered a slice of pizza… also remember a bum that always used to hang around the place, he usually stank pretty bad, and we would give him pizza or something, and then ask him to leave, sometimes he would come in all cleaned up, from someones kindness, but then in a few weeks he would be f*cked up again….Then I moved up in the world (j/k) and started working at Luigis Pizza on Figuroa in Highland Park…wonder if that made the “old resturants list”..better check !!

  • Sherry aitken says:

    I wish I could find that old sauce in the Newport area.

  • Sherry aitken says:

    The sauce was excellent and certainly better than most of today’s crop. They were a little thin compared to La Barbra’s the best ever or Bruno’s. Pizza Pete’s down on the fun zone in Newport Beach had a very similar sauce for years until it was sold and now is crap

  • Mike says:

    I ate at the one on La Cienega & 18th St quite a few times, and also the one on Beverly Blvd, just east of Fairfax. Their pizza wasn’t too bad, especially for the price!

  • Mitch Levine says:

    Our family would generally eat at Norms on La Cienega or POP on Beverly Blvd and Orange Grove. The pizza was pretty decent but back then Pizza was in it’s infancy so it was hard to compare to other eateries. We enjoyed the view of CBS and sometimes wished we were having a taco at Taco Tah next door.

  • Shel Willens says:

    I grew up on this pizza and still think it was the best sauced pie in town. Only one better was Joe Labarbera in WLA. Tuesday night was any pizza on the menu for the price of a plain one between 9 & 11. It was one place you could always get a piece.

  • Joel Grossman says:

    My POP of choice was the one on La Cienega and 18th St. I loved their pizza. I would buy a slice on my way home from Louis Pasteur Jr. High. I remember a slice of pizza was .25 cents and .01 tax. I will tell you something else- My absolute favorite thing on their menu was the submarine sandwich. They were the best. To this day I have never had a sub sandwich as good as the ones I got at POP on La Cienega and 18th St.!

  • Laura DeMarco says:

    We ate Every Friday at the one on Sepulveda and 10th street in Manhattan Beach…many memories!!

  • David Dee says:

    When I was in college I remember driving one night with my Mom, who was visiting from out of town, past the POP on La Brea. Standing under the bright neon sign that said “had a piece lately” was a hooker. My Mom commented ” I think that’s appropriate advertising”. I laughed my ass off.

  • Sheldon Helfing says:

    Piece o’ Pizza was actually very good pizza. I went to many of their locations and was the perfect place to go to after a rock concert (especially at the Santa Monica Blvd. near Sweetzer location. I would then drive up with my buddy Phil to the Orange Julius at Santa Monica and San Vicente (next to a car wash) to finish off the meal with an OJ (not orange juice). I loved those. Their signage was just as memorable to me as Piece o’ Pizza (the devil with his hands in an interesting place). There was nothing better than that combination (Piece o’ Pizza and an Orange Julius) after seeing The Kinks. They were always open very late at night, which was great. Once, my friend Phil and I came from a social event where he was kissing this girl for over an hour. What else did you do back then? We then went to a Piece o’ Pizza on La Cienega and Airdrome where he ordered this giant meat ball sandwich. Unfortunately, he couldn’t eat it. His jaw was stuck from all that kissing. It was like he had lock jaw. Needless to say, I was laughing my head off.

  • Christopher says:

    In a tiny corner mall at Santa Monica Blvd. (and Orlando I think) in West Hollywood, there was one of their stores next to a dry cleaners. During the late sixties and into the seventies, the large sign that faced S.M. Blvd, said “Drop your pants here and have a piece next door.” It was there for ages until the pizza place closed–it is now a foh soup place–but the dry cleaners remain.

  • Mike Rubin says:

    @Mike G. I worked at Piece o’ Pizza locations, too, mostly at the one on Pico at Orange or Sycamore, near La Brea. Also did some time at the one on Pico near Sepulveda and the much inferior one at La Cienega near Cattaraugus (I think). Before I started work at the Pico near LaBrea location, my family ate there on Family Night many weeks in a row.

    I learned a bit about the restaurant biz there, including how scalding dishwasher and spaghetti liquid could melt human skin. The food at both the Pico locations always was fresh, but the location on La Cienega had an expanded menu with a lot of frozen, then fried, fast food items.

    My unfondest memory of my time at PoP was an occasion when I went in to pick up my check and took my (first ever) girlfriend with me. Even though my girl was all of 16, my manager thought up every conceivable stall tactic and errand in the kitchen with which to burden me while he shamelessly hit on my gal; I wanted to kill him. Otherwise, I worked with some great people, ate decent food for very little money (and got paid little money), and always had a job waiting for me when I returned from college on breaks.

  • Geri says:

    I’m 56 yrs young, and lived in North Hollywood until I was 6 years old. I have vivid memories of POP. I was astonished by the talented pizza thrower in the window, and could ‘t wait to get inside where there were red and white gingham tablecloths, grapes and leaves on lattice on the walls and ceilings, a plastic basket filled with yummy bread, great salad, and spaghetti with meatballs and a pie. Our family of four ate for $3.98-that included a large bottle of Coke. Really, my parents were not wealthy by any means, and this was our one night out a week. Mom said it was a Thursday night. At 85 years old, Mom said it was Thursday nights that she felt wealthy to take her family out for dinner at a time when a fun thing to do was paste S&H Green Stamps into books for savings.

    Thank you POP.

  • Lola says:

    When you didn’t have much money on you and you were hungry, a slice from Piece O’Pizza tasted pretty good, OK? (was it 25 cents?) – and you could afford to buy it.

    How many people remember the Goody Goody Drive In on Wilshire at Berkeley in Santa Monica, a few blocks west of the WLA “Piece O’ Pizza”
    Car hops male and female wore brown slacks, tops and hats and were on skates I think… and the #1 burger had incredible sauce.

  • Mike G says:

    I worked for POP for 6 years, putting myself thru high school and college. The food was quite good and used fresh ingredients. They had specials several nights a week that were real bargains. We frequently had celebrity clients who were great fans. The writer should realize that many of the “skid row” areas were once middle class neighborhoods when POP started in 1the 1940’s. The pizzas were made by hand (and we all knew how to throw them in the air), dough was made fresh daily, as were the sauces, and the cheese was pure mozzarella. There were about 20 stores that went out of business once the founder’s son took over and began tinkering with recipes and profits.

  • Don West says:

    I used to frequent the Piece O’Pizza on Western Ave in Hollywood. If therre when Ray Parks was the chef, you got a KILLER pizza, never had a complaint. Back in those days, the “Tuesday Night Special” was $1.85 for any large pizza. We’d have Ray add extra cheese for 50 cents. Any other cook and we’d not go in. I still have pictures of Ray at work, and the marvelous creations he concocted. I heard Ray passed away many years ago, a shame, he was a very interesting, intelligent character, and always an interesting conversationalist. One night when back in the L.A. area after moving much farther north, my friend and I were treated to a freebie. When we went to pay, he just looked at us and said, “get out!” That was Ray :)

  • Irving says:

    Hi I used to stop at Venice and maclaughin for my slice , it’s so good I don’t know how long this place been there but seems like long time ago well the food is original , the employes are so friendly ..

  • Marc says:

    My father has lunch regularly with one of the original owners of Piece O’ Pizza. I was practically weaned on POP, Tommy’s, Pink’s and Tito’s.

  • L.N. Smithee says:

    What is described as the business plan for Piece O’ Pizza sounds like what the once-proud Little Caesars chain is now: Pre-prepared pizza for people with the munchies and want to pick one up right fast like and scarf it.

  • Stan says:

    My Buddies in the Airforce used to laugh our buts off when ever we saw the slogan “Had a Piece Lately” on TV LOL… that was our slang for having sex

  • Kathie says:

    When we first came to California in 1954 my mom sent a picture of that “racy” sign back to relatives in Ohio. At the ripe old age of 4 I didn’t have any idea what was so funny.

  • Yvette says:

    My Grand Father lived just around the corner in Hollywood. I remember liking mushrooms for the first time when eating their pizza. I was pretty young, so I didn’t know what their slogan meant. hahaha Anyway. I think about their pizza when ever I have mushrooms to this day. :) But Matzah? I think not. hahaha I remember liking their cheese too. Carolina West was near by. Loved their hot fudge sundae’s. Now I want pizza and dessert. (:

  • Craig Printup says:

    I used to frequent the Venice location in the picture back in the 1970’s. I thought their pizza was pretty good, and the crust was a lot thicker than matzo back then. I much preferred Bruno’s further west on Venice Blvd. though.

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