9 things you probably didn't know about breakfast pizza at Casey's General Store

Iowa’s love affair with gas station breakfast pizza started on Sept. 14, 2001, when Casey’s General Store first unveiled pies topped with scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and even gravy to the public. Iowans never took their collective feet off the gas pedal from picking up a pizza to go along with their fill up.

Here are some interesting facts about breakfast pizza:

What is breakfast pizza?

Casey's General Store first started serving breakfast pizzas at all of its locations on Sept. 14, 2001.
Casey's General Store first started serving breakfast pizzas at all of its locations on Sept. 14, 2001.

Breakfast pizza is essential that: a pizza topped with breakfast items, served by the slice or the pie. At Casey’s, customers ordering a pizza can choose a bacon, sausage or veggie pizza to start, and customize it with cheese sauce or sausage gravy. All come with scrambled eggs. Ham is another optional ingredient, as well as green peppers, onions, black olives, mushrooms, and jalapenos. An original crust, thin crust and gluten-free crust are available.

When was the first Casey’s breakfast pizza served?

Last year, Casey's General Stores celebrated its iconic breakfast pizza's 21st birthday with an Ultimate Beer Cheese Pizza.
Last year, Casey's General Stores celebrated its iconic breakfast pizza's 21st birthday with an Ultimate Beer Cheese Pizza.

Casey's officially started making breakfast pizza in 1984 at the Corning, Iowa, store, but didn’t roll it out across its stores until 17 years later.

How much breakfast pizza does Casey’s serve?

The company based in Ankeny sells breakfast pizza at more than 2,500 stores spanning 16 states, with 22% of stores located in Iowa. Casey’s sells 2.5 million orders of breakfast pizza every year.

Which gas station pizza do Iowans prefer?

A poll in the Des Moines Register in 2019 unscientifically found that 85% of respondents ranked Casey’s pizza first, followed by another Iowa gas station chain, Kum & Go, at 7%, and Tulsa, Oklahoma-based QuikTrip at 4%.

Which political candidates have eaten breakfast pizza from Casey’s while on the caucus trail?

Eating breakfast pizza has become one of those bingo card checkmarks for political candidates as they woo voters in Iowa ahead of the Caucus in January. Even Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, talked about Casey's breakfast pizza during a stop in Sioux Center in May. “I’m a very tough critic on the gas stations,” he said. “Casey’s is legit. That breakfast pizza is legit.”

In September, former vice president Mike Pence said he was fueling up for a three-day swing through Iowa on the campaign trail with Casey's breakfast pizza in Osceola.

What was the Beto O'Rourke faux pas involving Casey’s breakfast pizza?

Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, at the time a member of the House of Representatives from El Paso, Texas, visited Boone, Iowa, in May 2018, where Casey’s General Store originally opened in 1968, he claimed he ordered a breakfast pizza in an Instagram video. But he didn't. The pizza he was eating had marinara sauce on it.

Sen. Joni Ernst pushed back, tweeting, "Beto, take it from a lifelong Iowan: that is not Casey's General Store's breakfast pizza. Breakfast pizza has eggs, bacon, (and) no marinara sauce."

Casey's General Store clarified the faux pas on Facebook: "Breakfast Pizza is NOT 'regular' pizza for breakfast. Enough said."

O’Rourke made up for his gaffe in September 2018 with a Twitter photo of the real deal. “Casey’s pizza. Breakfast of champions,” he tweeted.

Even celebrities love Casey's breakfast pizza

Fans of “bizza” include actress Mila Kunis, who told fans on an AMA on Reddit that it was her favorite gas station snack came from Iowa. “It’s a place called Casey’s, and they’re all over Iowa, and they do a delicious breakfast pizza!” Kunis is married to Cedar Rapids-born Ashton Kutcher, and the two met on the set of "That ’70s Show."

Why is Casey’s pizza so popular in Iowa?

Casey’s is so prevalent in Iowa because many of the 552 locations across the state are in towns with a population of less than 5,000. Many times, they take the place of bigger pizza chains such as Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, and Papa John’s.

Is Casey’s a big pizza chain?

In fact, Casey’s is the fifth largest pizza chain nationwide, according to Restaurant Business.

When did Casey’s start serving pizza?

Casey's originally launched in Boone, Iowa, in 1968, and started serving pizza in 1984. It takes about 20 minutes from order to pickup. Stores offer pizza by the slice piping hot and ready to eat as well.

More: Iowans love Casey's pizza — and for good reason

Susan Stapleton is the entertainment editor and dining reporter at The Des Moines Register. You can reach out to her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, or drop her a line at sstapleton@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: 9 things you didn't know about Casey's General Store breakfast pizza