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Sbarro

With a recent top-to-bottom rejuvenation that’s inspiring surging sales, this mall-based megabrand shows that, even after 60 years, you can teach an old dog new tricks. When husband and wife Gennaro and Carmela Sbarro opened their eponymous Italian grocery store in Brooklyn, New York, back in 1956, they could never have imagined the icon Sbarro…

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Vince’s Italian Pizzeria

A true Pacific Northwest original, this “Garlic Gulch” upstart used TV, radio and “buy three, get one free” deals to grow into multiple locations and concepts. In 1957, South Seattle was known as “Garlic Gulch” for its influx of Italian immigrants, but pizzerias hadn’t yet infiltrated the area—until Naples native Vince Mottola Sr. and his…

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Salvatore’s Pizza

Decades before food trucks flooded the streets, an enterprising husband and wife peddled slices on the go in western New York—and, 60 years later, the tradition continues. When the eldest daughter of Italian immigrants Salvatore and Philomena “Flo” Butera suggested turning their successful grocery store into a pizzeria (predicting that the new teen-fave snack food…

John Sasso (front left) proudly mans his new pizzeria.

John’s Pizzeria

Since 1929, this decidedly old-school landmark has earned worldwide fame as one of the original—and still one of the most popular—pizzerias in New York City. After plying his trade at Lombardi’s in New York’s Little Italy, pizza maker John Sasso was ready to strike out on his own. He bought a small storefront on Sullivan…

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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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Patsy’s Pizzeria

Once the favorite pizza haunt of Sinatra and DiMaggio, this East Harlem legend has remained unchanged while growing its empire through franchising. Even in a city known for pie-slinging royalty and decades-old pizzerias, Patsy’s Pizzeria (thepatsyspizza.com) remains a standout. Started in 1933 by Pasquale “Patsy” Lancieri and his wife, Carmella, as a simple pizzeria and clam…

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Frank the Pizza King

This modest Colorado shop earns scads of media attention for its thin-crust pies and an atmosphere where everyone feels like family. Immigrant Frank Krascek didn’t come to the United States with much, but he did have a job set up—at Scotty’s Pizzeria in Englewood, Colorado. After several years of learning the ropes, he bought the operation in 1961 and…

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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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Pizza Inn

Through booms and busts, Pizza Inn has continued to innovate, even as its parent company has expanded into the fast-casual segment. Pizza Inn has come a long way since Joe Spillman opened his first location in 1958 across from the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. But the road has been a pretty rough…

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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…