Remembering Cibo Pizza

If the pizza was as spectacular as the building, then Cibo was a winner.

It would be hard to miss any of the Cibo Pizza Houses located in Memphis, if they all looked like the pop-art wonderland shown here.

In 1962, a fellow named J. Douglas Woods formed the National Cibo House Corporation (“Cibo” is Italian, for “food”) and soon opened a half dozen of these colorful establishments around town. The first was at 1142 Jackson, followed by 3755 Summer, 4495 Summer, 3180 Thomas, and 706 Waring. The postcard seemed enthusiastic about the “distinctively different exterior and a smart, colorful interior.” But it made no mention at all about the food, which perhaps explains why all the Cibo’s closed. What a shame.

And there's a real mystery here. The next time you're in the Summer and Graham area, take a look behind the cleaners on the southwest corner of that intersection. There, standing all by itself, mounted atop a metal pole, is a Cibo pizza sign. The people at the laundry don't know anything about it, and I can't find that a Cibo was ever located at this precise location, so I don't know what to make of it. And why would the sign be erected so far away from the street anyway? It's not that easy to see, whether you're on Summer or Graham.

As I said, quite a mystery.

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Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and Inside Memphis Business. Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

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