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.

70 Responses to Piece O’ Pizza

  • Jacke E Cole Weiser says:

    I live in Manhattan Beach which had a Piece O’Pizza Restaurant on Sepulveda Blvd and 10th Street. We had the last restaurant closed about 10 years ago. We was a favorite family dinner spot for all the years it was open. My family either went to eat dinner there or ordered for pick up almost every week. By the Manhattan Beach is not a lower class area as the reviewer stated where the restaurants locations are located. I now stop by the last restaurant located on Venice Blvd and McLaughlin in WLA. Yes it is a dive and you would not want to eat there. But I find the food delicious and is almost identical to the original food. All the choices for Pizza, spaghetti, Italian salad, and their delicious garlic bread are still available. I usually stop there on my way home from WLA to Manhattan Beach.

  • Shelly Willens says:

    I have eate pizza pies all over the world in all shapes, sizes and with vitually every imaginable topping. Of them all, the sigle pie that stands head and shoulders above the rest was the meatball and sausage pie served at the La Brea store. Ate one every Tuesday night because of free extra toppings after 9:00 pm. The sauce stands out in my mind as the best eve even 55 years later. I’m heading for Venice for a nice hot ‘piece.’

  • Tom OMara says:

    I worked at a number of Piece O Pizzas…One in Culver City, One in Hollywood…The one in Hollywood stayed open til 3:00 in the morning…I worked that shift along side my best friend Robert Samuel…He’s the one who taught me to spin the dough…which we did in front of the customers much to their delight…It was a great job and the Koss brothers, who owned all the places, treated everyone with respect and fairness. Sooo many interesting characters in Hollywood at 3:00 a.m.!…It’s one of my fondest memories!

  • Ed Cipo says:

    As far as I remember Mr. Koss, the owner, passed away in the late 70s.
    When I knew him, in the late 60s, early 70s, he was not well and was planning to retire. Only problem was, he had no one to take over the business. I worked at three locations for about 2 years as a store manager. I really enjoyed throwing the pizza in the air in front of a bunch of people gathered on the sidewalk watching and amazed by it! “Had a piece Lately?”

  • gil deane says:

    Our young family frequently had the pizza and spaghetti combo on La Cienega…it was cheap and we thought it was pretty good….but that was a long, long time ago!!!!1

  • S. Deane says:

    In the 50’s my wife and I were dating and ate at the La Cienega and Pico and La Brea location many times. Loved the pizza. have many fond memories. Still go to the Apple Pan, though we live in Orange County.

  • Daniel Benson says:

    Piece o’ Pizza! Yes! I ate there as a kid when my family of five would order the dinner for four. Times were a little tough for us back then and no doubt my full-time working mother enjoyed it the most – feeding the whole family for about 5 bucks and not having to cook after her already long day. My memories of it are all good. At nine or ten-years-old, I thought the murals on the walls were pretty snazzy and having never tasted better, I loved the pizza.

  • Jeremy says:

    In the late 50’s through the early 70’s I lived just on Greenfield Ave just north of the Pico restaurant loved the pizza! Piece o Pizza and the Apple An two iconic restrautants of WLA!

  • Keith Fisher says:

    Back in the ’50’s, Piece O’ Pizza on Reseda Blvd. just north of Vanowen was our go to Italian eatery. They had an Italian dinner salad with little bits of cheese…provolone maybe? parmesan? Not sure, but I loved it! Pizza wasn’t bad either.

  • Daniel Dintzer says:

    In the mid 50’s I was 16 years old and a friend took me to have my first experience with pizza at the Piece of Pizza, Beverly and Fairfax. No seating, just stand outside and eat your slice. Many, many other other pizzerias followed, but this was the first.
    The same friend introduced me to Mexican Food at “The Dog”, El Coyote Mexican Restaurant, a few blocks away, also on Beverly Boulevard, which still stands

  • Randy Luse says:

    Back in the 1950’s ate at or take out from the Sun Valley store at Laurel Canyon and Wicks. Great price and loved the combo meal, still talk about it 50 years later.

  • Caron Koss says:

    Hello again. This is Caron Koss, Alex Koss’ daughter. I just wanted to update those who would like to contact me about my father and uncle. I have heard from many of you and I do forward your messages to them. They both have really enjoyed reading your memories.

    My new email is [email protected]

    Thank you,
    Caron

  • Gail says:

    I’m reasonably sure I had my very first pizza at the Beverly/Fairfax location sometime around November, 1964 (at a birthday party.) I liked it a lot and talking my parents into an occasional pizza was a wonderful treat. A whole cheese pizza cost $1.25.

    About three years later, I landed a steady babysitting job on Saturday nights. Part of our routine was that I was given $5.00 and we’d walk to Piece O’ Pizza, order a Combination Dinner for 2 (salad, spaghetti and a cheese pizza) and we’d waddle back to their home, stuffed to the gills and smiling.

    Even years later, when we’d moved from that area, I remember enjoying an occasional pizza from their Reseda Blvd store in the Valley. Good memories from Piece O’ Pizza; I still grin if I spot one of their signs.

  • Michael Wolf says:

    Piece O’Pizza came from the imaginations of two brothers in the early 50’s, AL and Marty. AL was our neighbor in the Valley. Originally you could get a family meal that included a big plate of Spaghetti, a Pizza, Garlic Bread. AND a 1/2 gal. Jug of soda, that served a family of 4 for $ 3.95. I ate that meal at least once a week sometimes on Laurel Canyon, sometimes at home as take-out, with AL bringing it home for us . Those restaurants made the brothers very wealthy people.l

  • Gloria Mitchell says:

    As a teenager in the 60’s I frequented the Piece o’ Pizza near Laurel Canyon and Whitsett. It remains my standard for a slice of pizza. It was big and foldable with a little pool of grease on top which I now realize was my first introduction to a New York pie. Fabulous!

  • Mark M. says:

    My dad used to take us to the pico location almost every Saturday night, and he later forced me to work there when I turned 16. I wasn’t happy about it at first, but eventually I enjoyed it. Learning how to make pizza was so fun for a kid! Eventually my brother worked there as well, and later other friends joined us too. It became our place. I remember all the tables were numbered except for the farthest one from the kitchen, which was named “Siberia.” Tony Dam was the owner at that time. He was always good to us kids. Great memories.

  • Richie says:

    You’re nuts, the pizza is amazing!!! Our friends and family stopped ordering anything else. Maybe you are talking about an older recipe? The garlic cheese bread is also exceptional. Fast, cheap, and good, the Holy Trinity of Food!

  • Philip McCan says:

    I had my first Italian sub sandwich at the Piece O’ Pizza on La Cienega and 18th St. when I was about 10 years old. I always got one after getting a haircut from Morris the Barber on La Cienega and Airdrome.

  • Bruce says:

    We moved to LA in 1966 from NYC and were fascinated by the novelty of “How would you like a hot delicious pizza delivered to your door, right now! Pizza Man, he delivers!” (Is there an .mp3 of the audio anywhere on the web?) and “Don’t cook tonight, Chicken Delight.”

  • John Hindsill says:

    Boys and girls, there still are several Piece O’ Pizza stores around the greater L.A. area, including the Westside (which seems the orientation of much of this site) in Mar Vista

    Darrel, Pizza Man, has 10 locations around greater L.A.area, including one about a mile of my home. I rarely eat pizza anymore, but sometimes I get a pie from them for nostalgia sake.

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