Is Chuck E. Cheese saying goodbye to their mousey mascot forever?
Last year, the pizza-playground chain scrapped the anthropomorphic, animatronic animal band featuring their spokes-rodent Chuck. Now, according to eagle-eyed diners who spotted the change on GrubHub, the restaurant is now doing business as Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings — with an entirely redesigned and distinctly mouse-less logo.
The change was first reported in Food & Wine in April, when a woman from Philadelphia shared how she felt duped by the CEC Entertainment brand when she ordered pizza from Pasqually’s using GrubHub, with the false impression that she was ordering from a local business.
In a statement to Food & Wine, the company confirmed the association and clarified that this would not be the end for Chuck.
“Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings’ recipes use fresh, homemade pizza dough, just like Chuck E. Cheese, but it is a different pizza that features a thicker crust and extra sauce, giving consumers a more flavorful, more premium pizza experience,” a spokesperson said. “While Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings recipes are currently only available for delivery, select items might be added to the Chuck E. Cheese menu in the future.”
Critics say the under-the-radar name change was likely an effort to score new customers during the coronavirus pandemic, as most diners are eating pizza exclusively from home.
They also note that the name Pasqually had been plucked from the mythology of Chuck E. Cheese — full name Charles Entertainment Cheese. Indeed, the thickly mustachioed Pasqually, “the singing chef,” according to a 1977 restaurant menu, was in fact the sole human member of the original Pizza Time Players lineup — alongside Crusty the cat, Jasper T. Jowls the dog, the Warblettes backup-singing birds and “The Big C,” Chuck E.
Chuck E. Cheese lore tells the story of a mouse who grew up in an orphanage, called “St. Marinara’s,” not even knowing his own birthday — so he celebrates everyone else’s birthday instead, according to “The Story of Chuck E. Cheese,” considered to be the official backstory of the musical mouse, according to the brand’s public relations manager Christelle Dupont.
Later, Chuck sought his big break in NYC, where he found a home above the kitchen of a pizzeria run by an Italian chef named Pasqually. When he discovered the pest in his kitchen, Charles distracted the cook with his vocal talents.
“Pasqually was so shocked that he dropped his rolling pin. ‘A mouse that can sing? My restaurant is saved!’” the book reads. “I’m gonna make you a star,” he told the mouse.
The rediscovery of the dramatic and whimsical origin of Chuck E. Cheese has some on social media reeling.
“Watching twitter finally find out about Chuck E. Cheese history, backstory, and ‘pasquallys pizza’ has been my favorite part of this pandemic,” one Twitter user joked.
Meanwhile, others more familiar with the tale are longing for a somewhat more gritty Chuck, hearkening back to his ’70s heyday.
“I liked Chuck E. Cheese better when he looked like he might microphone-whip a kid at any godd- -n moment and then put out his cigar on their dad’s forehead,” tweeted one fan, to which the Twitter account for Chuck E. Cheese responded, “It was a different time…”