A Trip Down Memory Lane
The first Mother’s Pizza Parlour and Spaghetti House location opened in 1970 at King and Paisley in Westdale Village in Hamilton, ON. They called it “Mothers” to convey a family-feel that Hamilton’s local families and students would enjoy. The restaurant’s parlour-style pizza, 1920’s-style ambience and family-friendly atmosphere made it an instant success.
Mother’s expansion began with the opening of its second location in Kingston, where the team turned a funeral parlor into a pizza parlor! A third location also opened on King Street in Hamilton. Pasta entrees were also added to Mother’s then pizza and subs menu.
In the early 1980’s, franchising took off at Mother’s, with restaurants popping up across Canada. A Mother’s Pizza in Calgary was the first in the chain to use a telephone ordering and delivery service and sales jumped by over a third almost immediately.
At its peak in the mid-80’s, over 120 Mother’s Pizza stores were open across Canada, with additional locations in the US and the UK. It was estimated that during this time, 10% of all pizza consumed in Canada came from Mother’s Pizza!
In the mid-80’s, Mother’s became publicly traded and the original owners sold their stake in the company to a new group of investors, many of these investors were Toronto Blue Jays one of whom was Ernie Whitt. It was during this time that the chain began to struggle with increased competition and other factors.
In 1989, Little Caesar’s purchased the franchise and began to close many of the Mother’s sit-in locations and change the existing take-out and delivery locations into Little Caesar’s. By the early 90’s all Mother’s locations were closed or converted.
In 2008, Businessman Brian Alger acquired the then-expired trademark to Mother’s Pizza – one of his favourite childhood brands. No stranger to retro brands, Brian is known for reviving The PoP Shoppe across North America. Brian teamed up with Restaurateur Geeve Sandhu in 2011 to plan for the return of Mother’s Pizza. Geeve owns several restaurants in Southern Ontario including Black Bull and Squires Public House.
Determined to “get it right,” Brian and Geeve collaborated with former Mother’s franchisees and employees to recreate the brand’s classic recipes. They also incorporated details from the classic Mother’s Pizza ambience into their new restaurant including Tiffany lamps, black and white movies playing around the dining room, and familiar red and white gingham tablecloths.
Decades after the chain closed, Mother’s Pizza made its return in the town where it all happened – in Hamilton - at 701 Queenston Road on April 1, 2013. Tens of thousands flocked to Hamilton to relive their memories of Mother’s Pizza - a go-to spot for generations of birthday parties, field trips and family gatherings.
After a successful first year in Hamilton, Mother’s Pizza opened its second location in Kitchener, Ontario at 4391 King Street East in May 2014. According to Brian, “the folks in the Kitchener/Waterloo area have been great supporters of our Hamilton location since we opened and we’ve received more requests from that area than anywhere else for us to return.”
Mother’s Pizza continued in its expansion, opening a third location at 185 King George Road in Brantford, Ontario. Brian and Geeve hope to open many more Mother’s Pizza locations in the coming years!