I grew up in Wichita, KS, where Pizza Hut was founded by the Carney brothers in 1958. But Godfather's Pizza was THE pizza back in the late 70's-early 90's in my hometown. Great crust, ample toppings, tasty sauce. Wichita was also home to AIFAM and the largest franchisee of Godfather's, C. Fred and Pat Shaw.
I knew the Shaw family through their daughter Cindy. I met her in August 1983. I remember that she didn't tell me about her family and their business until we had been seeing each other for a couple of weeks. At the time, they were multi-millionaires with a jet and a condo in Vail. She wanted me to like her for her, which I did. She was the black sheep of the family anyway and lived on her own, earning her living as a waitress at a Chinese restaurant of all places.
According to Cindy, her father bought into the Godfather's franchise when it was founded. The recipe was obtained from a pizza place called Valentino's in Omaha, NE. She told me they opened their first restaurant at 13th ST and Oliver in Wichita and that the entire family worked there, including Cindy at age 11.
Cindy and I lived together briefly in 1983, then I hooked up with her again 1989-1991. Her parents divorced somewhere in that timeframe. Pat got AIFAM and the restaurants (350 I was told) and he got $10 million and $100,000/year for a decade. Cindy and I attended C. Fred's wedding to his high school sweetheart in Virginia in 1990. Members of the Washington (DC) Symphony Orchestra played at the reception.
I left Wichita for the South in 1992 and lost track of the Shaw family and Godfather's. I've come across "Godfather's Pizza" in some Hess gas stations down here, but the quality is nothing like the original.
RIP Godfather's Pizza: I will remember you, in more ways than one.