POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) – It was the end of an era for fans of pizza and fans of McDonald’s on Thursday.
Believe it or not, those two used to go together. But as of Aug. 31, that is no longer the case. That’s when the last of the McPizzas were sold at the McDonald's in Pomeroy, Ohio.
The neon “Pizza” sign is officially out, and with it, a piece of history or perhaps a pizza history forgotten by many, but fiercely loved by others like Debbie Yeauger of Middleport.
"We loved the McPizza because I don’t eat sandwiches, so that gave me something extra to eat,” she said.
The McPizza had been eliminated from all McDonald’s except for the restaurants in Spencer, West Virginia, and in Pomeroy.
"We're here every day," Yeauger said. “Sometimes we're here two times a day."
The McPizza was introduced in the 1980s. The personal size came in the 1990s. It was phased out for most about 15 to 20 years ago because the preparation time didn't fit McDonalds fast food mantra.
But Yeauger's 5-year-old grandson Keon likes them so much, “he just won’t eat it anywhere else. He likes the crust especially.”
The last two summers on vacation in North Carolina, the family bought about a dozen crusts and a McDonald’s box to fool him.
"He thought for sure he was sending it all the way to Pomeroy to there," said Yeauger with a laugh.
Derek Shoemaker made the drive from Athens to Pomeroy for the first time earlier this month when he heard about the McPizza. He came back for one of the last six sold Thursday when he heard about it on Wednesday.
"Kind of fitting, I guess, because as many as I have already eaten," he said. "I figured if I wanted to get one, I'd better come today to get it."
Yeauger said she won’t stop coming to the restaurant but will likely just be ordering fries and a tea.
McDonalds isn't saying why the franchise owner here was forced to remove it. But with table service and mobile kiosks planned for the future, it is likely an effort to streamline the menu.
But these fans hope the company decides to bring back a piece of the past.
"It's sad,” Shoemaker said. “I really wish they'd keep it."
"Just McDonald's get back our pizza,” Yeauger said. “We want our pizza back."
For proprietary reasons, McDonald's will not share any information about McPizza sales but it was a popular menu item in Pomeroy with dozens sold every day.
Initially, the larger pizzas took 11 minutes to cook which Pomeroy has already run out of by Thursday. The smaller personal size took about four minutes to cook.
The franchise owner who owns both the Pomeroy and Spencer stores declined comment Thursday. The Spencer restaurant was already sold out by Thursday morning.
Yeauger said she will keep contacting corporate to try to get it back on the menu.
"It's just something special that you can come to McDonald's and just sit back and relax and get a pizza when you can't go to McDonald's anywhere else to do that. It was just really unique and really special here. We felt really privileged to get them."
McDonald’s declined to comment but released this statement:
“Our menu is always changing, and we will no longer be serving pizza at our locations. However, we continue to offer a wide variety of items for our customers to try and enjoy.”