We all knew, on some level, that the McPizza was on a slow crawl toward extinction.
How could a publicly traded fast food chain with more than 15,000 locations across North America justify and sustain the production of pizzas in only two of its restaurants? It made no sense.
But then again, the McPizza never really did make much sense (just check out the ad below), and the economic argument for its existence didn't really either by the time it was relegated to its two final outposts in McDonalds's Pomeroy, Ohio and Spencer, West Virginia locations.
The strangeness and scarcity of the McPizza made it the stuff of legend. To a generation fixated on nostalgia and irony, it was a slice of 90s worthy of pilgrimages to one of the two remaining US franchises that sold it.
Those who loved the McPizza came from miles around, sometimes as far as 1,000 miles, to wait 11 minutes—an eternity in McTime—and bite into one of the last remaining exemplars of McDonald's foray into pie-making. When we asked McDonald's for an explanation for the sudden disappearance of the McPizza from the Pomeroy and Spencer locations, they were pretty coy, offering only a prepared statement from Greg Mills, the franchise operator of the Pomeroy and Spencer locations, that confirmed the demise of the pie.
"Our menu is always changing, and we will no longer be serving pizza at our locations, but we continue to offer a wide variety of items for our customers to try and enjoy," Mills is quoted as saying.
When we asked McDonald's for a second time why exactly it was discontinued, we got no response from corporate offices, so we called each of the locations involved. A woman at the West Virginia location essentially recited the press release above verbatim, while the Pomeroy location told us, "It was a corporate decision."
"Our customers expect much more from us and we had to say goodbye to the pizza. Hopefully there is an item on our menu now that you can look back on years from now and love just as much as you loved the pizza."
For more information on McDonald's relationship with its ugly duckling, we must look North, to Canada. When Billy W. from Toronto demanded an explanation from McDonald's Canada in 2012 as to why they got rid of the pizza of his youth, the Golden Arches obliged.
"You know what else was great when we were kids, Billy? Everything. Being a kid was amazing," McDonald's Canada answered. "But sometimes the great memories of our pizza overshadows the amount of time you had to wait to get that pizza. At least 11 minutes. Maybe you really didn't notice because you were a kid and were preoccupied with something else. But whoever was getting that pizza for you, they probably remember. Our customers expect much more from us and we had to say goodbye to the pizza. Hopefully there is an item on our menu now that you can look back on years from now and love just as much as you loved the pizza."
Clearly, McDonald's Canada was far more forthcoming in its motive to kill off the McPizza than the bland press release offered by its American counterpart. And it still doesn't really answer any question as to why Greg Mills or McDonald's decided to get rid of the McPizza once and for all.
But what we can say is that the McPizza's death was as strange as its life; sudden and unexpected, a doughy mystery wrapped in a corporate enigma, now officially relegated to the pantheon of discontinued fast food.
McPizza, we hardly knew thee.