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Pizza Garden

This Queens-based pizzeria, founded by a Polish immigrant, launched in 1960 but still feels fresh to younger generations. Phil Ejnes may have come to America with no English or knowledge of Italian food, but he was sharp enough to foresee the benefits of partnering with a big-dreaming pizza man, Tony Scarselli, to open up Pizza…

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Letizia’s Pizza

Joseph Letizia’s pizza recipe, emulating the indomitable man himself, has persisted through three generations of ownership—and some astonishing twists and turns in the road. As a young man, Italian immigrant Joseph Letizia shined shoes and mopped saloon floors; honed his skills as a WWI army chef; and, determined to be a good American, attended night…

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Yetty’s Pizza & Pasta

At just 21 years old, a sole female proprietor boldly earned her nickname as the “pizza queen” of the Mohawk Valley, transforming a six-table hangout into a thriving two-story empire. Felicia Netti, owner of Yetty’s Pizza & Pasta in Herkimer, New York, isn’t 100% sure when the business opened—though some old timers estimate 1952, the…

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Louie & Ernie’s Pizza

Third time was a charm for the founder of this Bronx basement hangout—and, 60 years later, two brothers who joined the team as teenagers keep the pared-down pizzeria hopping. In the 1950s, Patsy Ottuso tried his hand at pizzeria ownership in Harlem and Florida before returning to New York and opening up Louie & Ernie’s…

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Mario’s Restaurant

This Little Italy institution in The Bronx, now run by 4th- and 5th-generation family members, celebrates its centennial anniversary this year. Mario’s Restaurant has its 100-year-old roots planted firmly in pizza. After Scolastica Migliucci and her son, Giuseppe, moved from Italy to New York City, they opened up a pizzeria in lower Manhattan. But when…

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Bernie’s Pizza

Two high school sweethearts who met at Bernie’s ended up generating the lifeline that would keep the pizzeria thriving for future generations. Not much is known about the very early days of Bernie’s Pizza, located in Dallas, Pennsylvania—only that it was started sometime in the 1950s by Bernie Ambrose, a sharp businessman from a family…

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C&M Pizza

Thanks to a Greek shepherd-turned-tailor and a barefoot teenager looking for a waitress job, this Massachusetts pizzeria has thrived for 55 years. Greek immigrant Spike Nousis, a shepherd back in his homeland, clearly needed an alternate moneymaker when he arrived in the United States in the 1940s. During a stint as a tailor at a…

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The Now Pizzeria

A former teenage dishwasher at this Buffalo-area pizzeria has taken the once-hippie takeout peddler into three generations of family ownership. Back in 1969, James Wilson opened a little pizzeria in Hamburg, New York, with a decidedly hippie-esque vibe appropriate for the times—think bright orange decor, black-light posters, and illumination by lava lamp, with pizza sizes…

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Reservoir Tavern

A stroke of bad luck transformed into a surprise blessing, spawning one of the oldest pizzerias in the United States. Though born in the United States, Nick Bevacqua moved with his family to their homeland, Italy, as an infant, eventually returning at 17 years old. With little English but a strong work ethic, he toiled…

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42nd Street Pizza

Despite decades of neighborhood hardship—and ruthless development—owner Louie Gritsipis delights in his pizzeria remaining a familiar fixture in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. Louie Gritsipis, owner of 42nd Street Pizza in New York, didn’t stay in the United States long after emigrating from Greece at 18 years old. He was soon back in his homeland, completing…