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Barone’s Pizzeria

Running out of food during a busy shift proved a fortuitous accident for a tight-knit SoCal Italian family—it was the day they introduced pizza. In 1945, when Josephine Barone and her husband, Jerry, opened a small restaurant serving sandwiches and pasta in Sherman Oaks, California, she enlisted a small army of brothers and sisters as…

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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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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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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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Straw Hat Pizza

Who knew that old-fashioned could be so cutting-edge? In the summer of 1959, most California kids were listening to their favorite tunes and cruising the beaches with their surfboards. Little did they know their lives would soon be changed forever with the opening of the first Straw Hat Pizza (www.strawhatpizza.com) location in San Leandro, California….

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Nicolosi’s Italian Restaurant

Motorcycle delivery didn’t fly and a freeway nearly shut everything down, but this San Diego survivor keeps rolling with the punches. After operating a bakery in Massachusetts in the 1940s, Sicilian emigrant Salvatore Nicolosi brought his family to Southern California in 1952 and opened Nicolosi’s Italian Restaurant (nicolosis.com), serving Old-World recipes handed down in his…

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Mary’s Pizza Shack

Mary Fazio started this legendary pizza joint in 1959, with $600 and the pots and pans from her own kitchen. In 1959, Mary Fazio wisely took this casual advice from a friend: “You make such good pizza, you should open a restaurant.” The friend’s husband lent Mary one of his vacation cottages and, with help…

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Shakey’s Pizza Parlor

This Sacramento-based pizza franchise has the unusual distinction of being featured in the American Banjo Museum’s Hall of Fame. In April 1954, Sherwood “Shakey” Johnson and partner Ed Plummer opened a new concept, then called Shakey’s Pizza Parlor & Ye Public House, in Sacramento, California. Johnson, a jazz enthusiast, filled his parlor with music, featuring…

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Venice Pizza House

This family-run pizzeria evolved from a Sicilian immigrant’s dream to a San Diego success story. After Sicily native Salvatore “Sam” LoMedico emigrated to Detroit in 1939, he worked in the restaurant/bar biz with his brother—and knew immediately that he wanted to open his own place. Finally, after starting a family, serving in the military and…