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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…

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Freddie’s Restaurant & Pizzeria

This pizzeria, now in its third generation of family ownership, pioneered a unique thin-crust style years before it became widely popular. When Mark Brockriede, current owner of Freddie’s Restaurant & Pizzeria (freddiespizzeria.com) in Long Branch, New Jersey, took over the shop’s operations in 1995 as a third-generation owner from the original family, many customers were…

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Pizzeria Uno

This Chicago institution permanently altered our culinary history with the invention of deep-dish pizza. When people think of Chicago, they often think of deep-dish pizza: layers of toppings piled high and baked into a bucket of crust that customers need a knife and fork to dig into. The source of this often-imitated (and, some would…

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Grotto Pizza

Dominick Pulieri co-founded this Midatlantic powerhouse when he was just 17 years old and has since expanded it to nearly 20 stores in three states. After honing his skills as a teenager at his brother-in-law’s pizzeria in Pennsylvania, Dominick Pulieri opened a tiny slice stand with his sister and brother-in-law, Joe and Mary Jean Paglianite,…

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Zuppardi’s Apizza

Founded more than 80 years ago, this legendary pizzeria has been singled out on major TV networks and in travel guides as the best pizza in Connecticut. More than 80 years ago, Dominick Zuppardi, an immigrant from Italy, opened a bread bakery in New Haven, Connecticut, with his wife, Angelina. By the time his son…

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Luigi’s Apizza

The owner of this Connecticut mainstay has a passion for experimentation—think hot dog and potato pizzas and triple-stacked fried pies. In 1956, Joseph Abate opened up Luigi’s Apizza (luigisapizza.com), named after his father, in North Haven, Connecticut; his oldest son, also named Joseph, was three years old. The business moved in 1960 to North Haven,…

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O’Scugnizzo’s Pizzeria

Eugeno Burlino rose from “street urchin” to owner of a legendary pizzeria. Eugeno Burlino came from Naples in the late 1800s and settled in Utica, New York, where he worked as a pastry chef. To supplement his income, he also attended the frequent feasts held in the predominantly Italian area and sold simple pies made…