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Tony’s Place

Employees at this Valparaiso, Indiana, restaurant have clocked decades on the payroll, while customers have included Phyllis Diller and Red Buttons. Fortunately for pizza fans in Valparaiso, Indiana, Anthony Gengo Sr. couldn’t deny his dough-bound destiny. He’d been born into the business; his mother owned a bread company in New York, delivering door-to-door. But when…

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Corsi’s

Since 1958, this family-owned and -operated mainstay in Livonia, Michigan, has celebrated success with top-quality Italian specialties and down-home hospitality. In 1958, Italian immigrants Rocco and Adelia Corsi moved to Livonia, Michigan, where a few family members had a pizzeria—and helped them grab their own slice of the pie. Corsi’s (corsisbanquethalls.net) opened with pasta dishes…

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Zaffiro’s Pizza & Bar

For a small pizza joint with “no ambience,” this shop ranks among Milwaukee’s most popular pizza spots. Liborio “Bobby” Zaffiro owned a tavern in the Italian section of Milwaukee in 1951—until a road trip to the East with friends revealed pizza’s popularity. “At the time, there was only one other pizza place in Milwaukee,” recalls…

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Sammy’s Pizza

Sam and Louise Perrella couldn’t make ends meet in 1954 on Minnesota’s Iron Range—until they discovered the seductive power of pizza. Sammy’s Pizza (mysammys.com), like many other pizzerias, was born of hardship. In 1954, husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Sam and Louise Perrella couldn’t make ends meet with typical jobs, so they decided to open a pizza shop….

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Pizza Hut

As co-founders of the world’s no. 1 pizza chain, Frank and Dan Carney forever altered the pizza industry. Then, Frank veered off in a direction that no one was expecting. When Pizza Hut started in 1958, its name aptly fit the 600-square-foot space into which it was crammed. Two brothers, Frank and Dan Carney, started…

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HUNT BROTHERS PIZZA

Over 50-plus years, Hunt Brothers Pizza has grown from a wholesale pizza route to a c-store powerhouse. In 1962, having grown up working in the restaurant of their father, four brothers—Don, Lonnie, Jim and Charlie Hunt—began a local wholesale food route they named Pepe’s Pizza. At first, they distributed par-baked pizza crusts, dough balls and…

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Augie’s Pizza

Starting with one modest location, a former WWII ski paratrooper and his wife crafted a remarkable pizzeria lineage for their family over three generations. After arriving in the States as a teenager, Augie D’Amicone, raised in the mountainous Abruzzo region of Italy, was drafted for the U.S. Army as part of the 10th Mountain Division,…

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LaRosa’s

This entrepreneurial owner transformed $400 and a dream into a pizzeria empire. The year was 1954, and ex-Navy man Buddy LaRosa knew he wanted to start his own business. When he started selling his Aunt Dina’s pizza at church festivals and received an overwhelming response, he put his $400 savings (convincing a few partners to…

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Mario’s Restaurant & Pizzeria

Mario Simoni quit his day job at General Motors to start a new life in the pizza business. Mario Simoni worked days at a General Motors plant and nights at a friend’s pizzeria when he decided to strike out on his own. An Italian immigrant, he opened Mario’s Restaurant & Pizzeria in Flint, Michigan, in…

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Little Caesars

Michael and Marian Ilitch took a chance on a little-known snack food called pizza and built a carryout empire. When Michael and Marian Ilitch opened a single pizza shop in Garden City, Michigan, with their $10,000 life savings, they were taking a chance on a little-known snack food called pizza—and on a carryout-only model that…