William Ray Larson

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William Ray Larson
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Born(1933-01-30)January 30, 1933
San Jose, California
DiedNovember 15, 2006(2006-11-15) (aged 73)
Palo Alto, California
Cause of deathCancer
CitizenshipUnited States of America
Known forKnown for starting the West Coast American pizza company Round Table Pizza
  • Doris Loveall (mother)
RelativesRobert Larson (brother)

William Ray Larson (January 30th, 1933 – November 15, 2006) was an American restaurant founder, known for starting the West Coast American pizza company Round Table Pizza[1][2]

Early life

Larson was born in San Jose, California on January 30th 1933 to Doris Loveall. He had one older brother, Robert Larson. They were later adopted early in childhood by Swedish immigrant and machinist Henry Larson, Doris' new husband.[3] William was raised in Palo Alto, California. He attended the local schools in the Palo Alto school district.[2] William later enlisted in the Navy and was sent to Japan at the age of 17. After his time in the military, Larson worked several different jobs, gaining experience that ultimately led him to create his own restaurant.[2][4]


In 1958, Larson returned from a four-year stint in the Navy and went to work at a pizza parlor in San Mateo, California. He liked the work and began planning to construct a pizza restaurant of his own.[2] A year later he quit his job, borrowed $1,800, turned his furniture in to the bank as collateral for additional money,[5] and used these earnings to opened his first pizza parlor in Menlo Park, California on December 21 1959 located at 1235 El Camino Real . This location eventually moved to 1225 El Camino Real a few years later where it still stands today.[5] He named the restaurant Round Table Pizza after the round redwood tables he and his father constructed.[6] According to PizzaMarketPlace.com, "William's developed recipe & crust soon brought Round Table Pizza a strong following from customers and entrepreneurs."[7] By 1978 Round Table had amassed 225 stores. [8] Larson penned the slogan for Round Table "share a little pizza with someone you love." This was later changed to "The Last Honest Pizza."[2] The idea for the original logo came about in 1961, when a friend of Larson's drew some sketches of members of King Arthur's court eating pizza, and Larson then adopted the King Arthur theme for his restaurants. The three banners in the official logo were added in 1970, and are intended to symbolize the letters "F-U-N".[9][10] Currently Round Table Pizza has over 400 restaurants open.[11][12]


Larson died of cancer on November 15, 2006 in his hometown of Palo Alto at age 73.[13][7] He had nine children.[4] As of 2020 William's son, Bob Larson, still owns and operates the original Menlo Park California restaurant. [4][7]

William Ray Larson in the media


  1. "About". Round Table Pizza.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "William R. Larson Sr". The Mercury News – via PressReader.com.
  3. "Doris Larson". Legacy.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Bill Larson, 73; founder of Round Table chain of pizza parlors". Los Angeles Times. November 21, 2006.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Revisiting Round Table Pizza just shy of its 60th anniversary". In Menlo.
  6. Stolzoff, Simone (February 2, 2018). "These Two Silicon Valley Pizza Places Show The Challenges Posed By Automation And Inequality". Fast Company.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Bill Larson, founder of Round Table Pizza, dead at 73". Pizza Market Place.
  8. "The Family Business". Round Table Pizza Franchise.
  9. "50 Years of Fresh Pizza". InMenlo.com.
  11. "How Many Round Table Pizza Locations". ScrapeHero.
  12. "50 Years of Fresh Pizza". InMenlo.
  13. "William Larson, founder of Round Table Pizza, dies". Almanac News.

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