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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…

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Nick’s Pizza of Newburyport

Despite opening for limited hours while juggling full-time jobs on the side, the LaBarba family has cemented this humble pizzeria’s legacy over three generations.  In 1948, Abruzzo, Italy, transplants Ester and Donato DePalma opened a small trattoria in Newburyport, Massachusetts, serving up rectangular pan pizzas and subs inspired by their homeland. After a 1953 move…

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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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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…