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Modern Apizza

Don’t let the name fool you—in a city that’s stamped its own style in the annals of pizza history, Modern Apizza remains one of the founding originals. When Connecticut-born, Italy-raised Antonio “Tony” Tolli returned to his birth state in 1930, he learned the baking trade from his uncle, who owned a successful pastry shop in…

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Pizza John’s

Focusing on a single location since 1966, three brothers from Abbruzzo, Italy, grew a 600-square-foot carryout joint into a massive Baltimore-area pizza mecca. When John Coruzzi landed Stateside from Abruzzo, Italy, at 16, he was soon prepping for the pizza life. After honing his skills over a decade while working in a bakery, then a…

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Santucci’s Original Square Pizza

One of Philadelphia’s royal families of pizza has thrived for four generations, right down to a six-year-old hostess and problem solver—and continues to set its sights on growth. In 1959, Joseph and Philomena Santucci, a policeman and stay-at-home mom, opened Santucci’s Original Square Pizza in Philadelphia with one goal: to build a business they could…

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Mickey’s Italian Delicatessen & Liquor Store

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? Not at this SoCal beachside hybrid, which has thrived over 65 years thanks to a continual focus on upping its game. In 1953, 22-year-old Michael Angelo “Mickey” Mance, a former serviceman and accountant, took a leap of faith and opened his dream business, a deli, market and liquor…

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Johnny’s Pizza House

After bankruptcy threatened its future, this Louisiana institution surged back from the brink, thanks to a bold and unforgettable publicity stunt by its founder. By 1989, Johnny’s Pizza House was in trouble. The business had enjoyed 22 years of growth since its 1967 founding in West Monroe, Louisiana, but despite counting 42 locations in three…

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Port Sandy Bay

After 70-plus years, rustic shipwreck decor, sled-pan pizzas and vintage high-school portraits still charm this pizzeria’s original patrons, who now visit with their grandkids in tow. Back in 1947, the small town of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, seemed an unlikely place for a pizzeria—but the concept didn’t start as a pie-slinging powerhouse. The brainchild of several…

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Porretta’s Pizza

An Italian immigrant who taught a teen busboy the ins and outs of the pizza business shaped a worthy successor to carry his company into the future. A few years after arriving in the States from Italy, Pat Porretta, having already worked in a local pizzeria, was ready to stake his own claim on the Windy…

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Dominick’s Pizza Shoppe

Part of an astonishingly productive pizza family, one father-and-son outlet celebrates 50 years of staying small, simple and hospitable. Sicilian immigrant Dominick Scavo was a true pizza pioneer in his family; at just 17 years old, he opened his first pizzeria with brother Sal in Brooklyn, New York, in 1965. Two years later, the brothers…

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John’s Restaurant and Pizza

When his dad wrangled him to wash dishes at the family pizzeria one night, Joe Persi, Jr. didn’t know he was signing up for a lifetime in pizza. Sound familiar? When his father wrangled him to wash dishes at the family business one night, Joe Persi Jr. didn’t know he was signing up for a…

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Arni’s

From unlikely franchisee to pizza kingpin, Arni Cohen remained true to his core principles: supporting customers and communities. Arni Cohen, a journalism and history major in college, might have seemed an improbable pizza entrepreneur, but he was no foodservice newbie, having worked since 14 at his uncle’s fine-dining restaurant. By 1965, in his early 30s,…