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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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BORRELLI’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT

From hardscrabble beginnings to incredible success, this Long Island icon has remained a true family affair for more than 55 years. In 1955, three brothers leased a small burger joint in East Meadow, New York, and Borrelli’s Italian Restaurant  (borrellisrestaurant.com) was born. Al whipped up Italian cuisine, Phil made pizzas, and Frank waited tables. Though…

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Mama Cozza’s Italian Restaurant

Founded by a former beat cop and his wife, this Southern California mainstay has thrilled celebs and civilians alike with its warm, hospitable service and authentic Italian specialties. When he wasn’t working his beat, Frank Cozza, a police officer in Anaheim, California, often spent time in a restaurant called Costello’s in the 1950s, until the…

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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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Regina Pizzeria

The Polcari family segued from grocery store to pizzeria ownership, later making a name for their pizzeria with a 10-story-high banner and curbside service. In 1926, when Regina Pizzeria (reginapizzeria.com) opened its doors in Boston’s residential North End, the founding family bought wine, beer, tomatoes and cheese for the restaurant from the Polcari family, headed…

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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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Rizzo’s Fine Pizza

Legendary for its square Sicilian slices, this Astoria institution stays successful by keeping it simple. From the first moment brothers Sal and Joe Rizzo opened Rizzo’s Fine Pizza in Queens, New York, with their brother-in-law Hugo Lupi in 1959, the square Sicilian slices, known for their airy, thin crust, attracted scores of fans. “That signature…

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Denino’s

A dedicated blue-collar clientele—folks who liked to nibble while knocking back brews—helped make this award-winning Staten Island stalwart a success. Denino’s (deninos.com) operated as a few businesses after 1923—confectionary, pool hall, tavern—but pizza is what put this now-famous operation on the map. Carlo Denino introduced pizza to the tavern in 1951 and earned immediate success,…

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Aldo’s II Pizzeria & Restaurant

A slice-and-soda combo cost 25 cents and a large pie was just a buck when this beloved pizzeria opened in Ozone Park, New York, more than 50 years ago. Aldo Calore, owner of Aldo’s II Pizzeria & Restaurant in Ozone Park, New York, entered the pizza business at 16 years old, working at New Park…