The renovation (read: upscaling) of the old Food Circus in Seattle Center’s Center House had one sad, unpublicized aspect.
The project pushed out the last Pizza Haven.
It was an unsung end to a company founded in 1958 by Ron Bean (son of Pay n’ Save Drug/Lamonts Apparel mogul Lamont Bean).
It started with a single dine-in location on University Way and a home delivery operation (the first of its kind around here). Instead of baking pies to order, Pizza Haven’s trucks originally cruised around with pre-made inventory in warming ovens, ready to go wherever radio dispatch operators sent them.
At its peak the chain had 42 outlets down as far as northern California, and even franchises in Russia and the Middle East. It had a cute cartoon “Mr. Pizza” mascot, and fun TV commercials with angels welcoming you to “Haven—Pizza Haven, the place all good pizza eaters go when they’re hungry.”
Then Domino’s came to town, and Pizza Hut added delivery-only stores.
Pizza Haven repositioned itself into slice stands in mall food courts. But fiscal troubles continued.
The chain declared bankruptcy in 1997. The following year, every branch except Center House closed.
Bean tried to relaunch Pizza Haven in 2001, but it didn’t get off the ground.
The Center House slice stand continued for another decade, feeding the tourists and the local old-timers who’d grown up with the brand.