Other than McDonald’s and the golden arches, I would say Pizza Hut has one of the most recognizable architectural designs when it comes to building exteriors. When you see the iconic slanted roof and the window shutters, there’s no denying what you’re staring at.

In a strange turn of events, former Pizza Hut locations that have been given a second life have now started trending amongst the subculture thanks to a website called “Used to Be A Pizza Hut” which has been featured on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and even spawned a viral YouTube song. It got me wondering, what have the former Pizza Huts across West Michigan turned into?

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History of Pizza Hut

The famous pizza chain was founded in 1958 by brothers Dan and Frank Carney while attending college at Wichita State University. Despite not knowing much about the pizza business, the brothers opened the restaurant to cater to their fellow classmates after receiving a loan from their mother. A year after opening the brothers had expanded to six locations. Nearly 20 years later the brothers operated 4,000 stores which they sold to PepsiCo for $3 million in 1977- not bad for knowing nothing about pizza!

Iconic Design

Wichita-based designer and architect Robert Burke drafted the iconic Pizza Hut roof in 1969 just as the Carney brothers' chain was looking to expand internationally. Hoping to distinguish their pizza brand from the competition the brothers wanted a design that was, "a fusion of common sense, the architectural taste of the 1950s, and a need for the design to be both remarkable and appealing in a variety of locations." Legend states that Burke requested a huge commission that the brothers were unable to pay, instead they offered Burke $100 per store built using his design not expecting their chain to grow to 4,000 so quickly!

Thankfully the majority of West Michigan's Pizza Hut locations are still in use today, whether still serving pizza or having been repurposed. If you know of any additional buildings that "Used to Be a Pizza Hut" let me know!

Used to Be a Pizza Hut

Check out these former West Michigan Pizza Hut locations that have been given a second life!


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