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Donatos

From the start, Donatos founder Jim Grote used precise measurements to ensure consistency and turned the “pizza fad” into a 154-location powerhouse. In 1963, Jim Grote’s dad famously warned him, “This whole pizza thing is just a fad.” But with $1,300 borrowed from his father and future father-in-law, Grote opened his first Donatos (donatos.com) pizzeria…

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L&B Spumoni Gardens

This block-long Brooklyn institution has been serving up spumoni and iconic square slices for more than 70 years. Ludivico Barbati learned from a local baker how to make spumoni and Italian ices in a garage in 1938. At first, Barbati, who had emigrated from Italy in 1917, sold his products in a horse-driven wagon up…

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De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies


“Once you think you know everything,” Gary Amico says, “that’s when things go bad.” The De Lorenzo’s pizza lineage goes back four generations to Italian immigrants Pasquale and Maria De Lorenzo, who helped their four sons (Jimmy, Joe, Johnny and Alexander or “Chick”) open a tomato pie restaurant in 1936. Eventually, Chick opened his own…

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Cape Cod Café

This casual concept is one of the few remaining original purveyors of old-school bar pies in eastern Massachusetts. With a son on the way and a desire to open his own business, World War II veteran E. James Jamoulis bought the Cape Cod Café in Brockton, Massachusetts, in 1947. The bar, like others in the…

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Bocce Club Pizza

Fueled by bocce ball and a passion for a good pie, this family-run pizzeria has been a Buffalo-area favorite for more than 60 years. After returning from a post-WW II tour of Italy, Dino Pacciotti—the son of Italian immigrants in Buffalo in the 1920s—had the traditions of his ancestors on his mind: namely, bocce ball…

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Sal and Carmine

Founded by “the Dom DeMarco of Manhattan,” this Upper West Side pizzeria has been serving up slices and ices for more than 50 years. After immigrating to the United States from Italy in 1957, Sal Malanga worked 22 hours a day to save up for a pizza shop, and in the summer of 1959, that…

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Santillos Brick Oven Pizza

Lou Santillo started out delivering bread in a horse and buggy. Today, Santillos creates handcrafted pies suited to individual customers’ tastes. Combine three generations of pizza making, an antique oven that’s more than 100 years old, and a passion for the perfect pie, and you’ve got one of the most unique pizzerias in the country:…

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Valentino’s

This beloved Midwest institution started out as a fruit market in a town that knew little about pizza. Val and Zena Weiler owned a fruit market in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the 1950s, but they feared the larger grocery chains would muscle them out of business. Their solution? Open a pizzeria instead! Thus, in July 1957,…

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Savo’s Pizza & Family Restaurant

This Pennsylvania-based “little pizzeria that could” overcame hardships through innovation and sheer will to succeed. At 19 and 22 years old, brothers Ray and Michael Savokinas were ready to take the plunge into pizza when a local pizzeria owner who was leaving town promised it’d cost only $800 to set up shop. The year was…

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Pica’s Italian Restaurant

Founded in 1948, this Pennsylvania pizzeria’s pies are assembled with the cheese first, followed by the sauce. Pica’s Italian-born founder, Frank Pica Sr., came to pizza through a natural progression: After working in a bakery and then running his own bread route in Philadelphia, he decided to open up a shop where he could make…