Chico’s Pizza – Revisited With Wes (Ralph) Popham

Remember the post from last summer titled: Do You Remember… Pizza Parlors.  That entry garnered almost 100 replies!


Well, a late reply came in about 6 months after the entry was posted from Wes (Ralph) Popham who actually worked at Chico’s Pizza when they opened back in 1968.  Wes wrote:


I came across your discussions of Chico’s Pizza at the bottom of St. Luis (sic) Heights in Honolulu. They brought back pleasant memories. I was hired as a cook and helped open the original Chico’s in Hawaii when I attended U.H. between 67-69. Ironically, I recently came across some pictures of myself and staff there. The food was great, especially the pressure fried chicken and potato wedges (wish I could find pizza, chicken and potatoes like that now somewhere in San Diego, where I live). The people who worked there were like family. We partied together after the doors closed and were even invited to the two owners’ houses for special holiday feasts. I had always wondered how Chico’s fared after I left Hawaii in 1969 when I graduated. I’m happy that it was a success, at least for a while. Aloha to all my old friends and coworkers.- Wes (Ralph) Popham


I emailed Wes and asked him if he would be so kind to share the pictures of Chico’s that he had recently stumbled across.  Wes was more than happy to share the pictures with us so enjoy!







Wow, what a nice trip down memory lane.  Although I never did have a chance to taste Chico’s legendary pizza, fried chicken, and potato wedges, I can just image how ono it was back in the day.  I can almost picture myself sitting at the table with a big bunch of friends waiting for our number (or did they use your name) to be called, while building up a hunger from the aroma of freshly baked pizza.


Mahalo Wes!  Thank you for sharing your pictures and memories of Chico’s Pizza with us.  I’m sure your pictures will stir up some old memories of happier times at Chico’s.  Aloha.




Added 2/5:  Pictures of Chico’s menu thanks to Sally.



46 Responses to “Chico’s Pizza – Revisited With Wes (Ralph) Popham”

  1. amber wadsworth says:

    Moses Lake Wa Chicos is exactly as described in all of you posts. People come to town for it lol, it’s amazing piled high toppings, the menu is about the same as the one above a few hometown specials. The owner went to the original Chicos and decided he wanted to buy into the company, and it has stayed the same for my whole 40yrs of life. No one can touch it. The look through window so u can watch them get it ready. We went to one in long beach Washington and it wasn’t anything like ours but the inside looked just like it.

  2. Heather says:

    Hi! I worked in Chico’s for about six months full time when I arrived in Hawaii in 1979. Got a good story for you. I was put on dispatch right away with counter work and only the guys worked the ovens. I have a scar on both arms from that place by the way as a guy told me to get a pizza and burned myself. But I got a call from someone from the Mako polo or what I thought was spelled like the shark…and then he yelled at me to put someone on the phone and they laughed as it was the Marco Polo building of course. I liked these pictures as I was doing the fryer in the am. and the counter looks the same! I guess I can admit that we got into trouble for making oyster pizza. Frank was cool though. He was very kind to me.

  3. Rodney says:

    Thanks @Coretta! I’d love to visit them in Lynwood, CA.

  4. Coretta says:

    From the look of the menu it appears that the Chico’s in Lynwood, CA is the same too.

  5. Steve says:

    I used to deliver for Chico’s back in the 70’s. Fun job, people would invite me in and join them for pizza and beer. Back in the good old days when DUI’s were not a big deal.

  6. Rodney says:

    Hi Kimberly and thank you for visiting the blog. I’m not 100% positive, but I thought someone had mentioned previously the the Chico’s you’re asking about indeed is the same owner.

  7. Kimberley Au says:

    Is this Chico’s the same chain that still exists in Moses Lake, Washington? The red tables and thin crust is just like I remember from my childhood. The other thing that made them so unique was how HIGH they piled the toppings, including real bacon and how they made the pizza out front where we could watch! Good times!!

  8. John Bergman says:

    Chicos, fond memories pitcher on wine coolers and a large Home towner, Kelvin Do you know Alvin Shimazu, I was in the U.S. Army with him. I ate at Chicos 1972 to 74.

  9. nalo says:

    remember Teri-V’s drive in front of P&P?

  10. Kelvin Shimazu says:

    Well,…. hold on to your hats everybody!! Guess what?
    Chico’s Pizza is still around!!! Well maybe not in Kaimuki but nevertheless they are still in business. YES!!! the mexican pizza guy is still making pizza’s in L.A.
    12120 Long Beach Blvd., Lynwood, CA 90262 Ph. 310 639-8400
    Located right off the 105 freeway less than 10 miles from the airport it’s worth the drive. I accidently discovered it last year when I was just searching the web. Since I was going to L.A. I thought I’d check it out to see if it was legit. Been to L.A. in Oct. & Dec. and as soon as I picked up my rent a car off to Chico’s we went!
    But the most messed up part of the whole experience is, is that the Chico’s Special still taste like the Chico’s Special that I used to eat in Kaimuki back in the day. The crust is still flat and crunchy and the sauce taste exactly the same as I can remember. Was kinda a chicken skin moment. The inside of the place looks the same as the old Kaimuki Chico’s. Bright kitchen with glass walls, wood picnic tables, dark dining room, some games and a jukebox.
    So if you’re going to L.A. (I’m leaving tomorrow morning. so guess where my 1st stop will be) go check it out and let me know if I’m wrong. For those of you who actually know me, you know how picky I am with food and how I crave the taste from the good ole days. I’ll take some pictures this time so can someone let me know where to post.

  11. Dawn says:

    I STILL CRAVE THIS PLACE!! I remember going here and getting pizza, chicken and those potatoes!! This place and Shakey’s was the best. I miss the good ole’ days.

  12. 4G says:

    @sally – howzit?! “Time machine” – I can relate. Cool story. 🙂

  13. khs68 says:

    @Sally – precious memories.

  14. sally says:

    @KAN: My brother called me one day last year to tell me he had a box filled with stuff from my mom. (My mom died in 1976). A lot of what was in that box was her handwritten recipes and notes so yes, I wanted them.

    As I looked thru the time maching before me, there were torn newspaper sections w/ recipes and articles and some entire pages, so there were also classified ads and grocery ads from the 60’s and 70’s.

    Other “stuff” was thrown into that box, one of which was that Chico’s menu. There was also an unused Trick or Treat bag… the wax paper coated one. This box was more a treasure box than anything else!

  15. M says:

    I don’t remember what was there before Jet Raceway.

  16. LINDA KATO says:

    Good morning MLCers ❗ Happy Wednesday ❗ 😀

    Have a great day ❗ 😀

  17. M says:

    It was next to Chico’s.

  18. Rodney says:

    I remember seeing P&P Superette. Was it next to Chico’s pizza or did Chico’s replace it?

  19. M says:

    Before Chico’s it was Jet Raceway.

  20. M says:

    Guud morning MLCers!
    It was P&P Superette.

  21. KAN says:

    Sally – how did you ever get a menu? Was it from your friend who worked there? Or are you a saver of all things (like me)?

  22. khs68 says:

    @Rodney: Now I’m wondering what was there before Chico’s. Hubby thinks it was a supermarket.

  23. khs68 says:

    City Mill opened in 1984 at the old Chico’s location.

  24. DIO says:

    How did this place ever go out of business with this kind of menu?

  25. Rodney says:

    Delivery trucks! Yes, I remember seeing the Chico’s delivery trucks. They were white with red lettering IIRC.

  26. lowtone123 says:

    Did they really have ovens mounted on their delivery trucks?

  27. Rodney says:

    @volleymom2 – I was trying to search anything about when Chico’s closed, but I couldn’t find anything. Maybe if I looked when City Mill Kaimuki opened?

  28. LINDA KATO says:

    Good morning MLCers ❗ Happy Tuesday ❗ 😀

    Have a great day ❗ 😀

    Love this cool weather ❗ Will enjoy it while it lasts ❗ 😀

  29. volleymom2 says:

    I remember seeing chico’s pizza but never went there. Passed the place everyday going up to chaminade. Does anyone know when Chico’s closed??

  30. M says:

    I was looking for the beer mug that I got from Chico’s they gave me and the gang on the last day when they closed their doors for good and I couldn’t find it. 🙁

  31. M says:

    Guud morning MLCers!

  32. Rodney says:

    @hydroman72 – just added the Chico’s menu (thanks to Sally).

  33. dihudfan says:

    eh hemajang… Kuhio Grill had ono chicken wings… winnahs

  34. hemajang says:

    I remember going to Chico’s while at UH but think we spent more time at Mama Mia’s and Kuhio Grill. I really liked Mama Mia’s, was very messy to eat, runny, dripping all over but ono.

  35. dihudfan says:

    mahalos to wes… winnahs chicken and pizza!!! good memories!!!

  36. hydroman72 says:

    I remember Chico’s Pizza parlar. I remember going there with friends and we tried all of the pizza. Can anyone remember how many different pizza they advertised??? I also remember they were the first ones to have pupu cut pizza.

  37. Mike in Waipio says:

    Good memories. Love all pizza. The chicken and potato wedges at Chico’s were awesome. Was never much of a beer drinker; but at Chico’s we all shared pitchers of beer (light or dark). Don’t know the difference but we usually had dark beer. Chico’s was the hangout for UH students. Anybody remember when it was that they closed down?

  38. LINDA KATO says:

    Good morning MLCers ❗ Happy Monday ❗ 😀

    Have a great day ❗ 😀

  39. LINDA KATO says:

    Never tried Chico’s since I grew up in Aiea and Shakey’s was the spot for pizza. Pizza was always a big hit with everyone ❗ 😀

  40. M says:

    We hung out there almost every Friday and Saturday night from ’71 till the very last day it closed forever.

  41. M says:

    Guud morning MLCers!
    Chico’s was my hang out for many years up until the last day they closed. I remember the brick oven and those red tables. They had the best potatoe wedges and fried chicken.

  42. NaPueo says:

    Mahalo to Wes (Ralph) for sharing your photos. We miss the chicken and potato wedges too.

  43. sally says:

    If you’ve ever been to City Mill Kaimuki, just imagine… that entire place was a pizza parlor.

    Mahalo to Wes for sharing his pictures. If you are reading this, I’m sure you understand how Chico’s was a vital part of growing up in Kamuki.

    A few years after Wes worked there, my friend (who moved to Hawaii from Okinawa in the mid 70’s) went to work there. He also shared memories with me of the iconic Chico’s Pizza.

  44. sally says:

    I do remember those red tables, what a trip down memory lane! Having grown up in Kaimuki, Chico’s was the place to go, the place to be, the place to be seen!

    The right of passage was to turn 18 and be able to finallyyyyyy sit in the “Adult” room, which was exactly like the kids’ room but you could buy beer. LOL So much for the mystery.

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