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Coletta’s

This Memphis institution was Elvis Presley’s favorite pizzeria—‘nuff said! In 1922, Emil Coletta opened the Suburban Ice Cream Company, selling ice cream and Italian dishes. But when his son Horest took over the business in the early 1950s, he decided to focus more on food and added pizza to the menu. Largely unfamiliar to Memphis…

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Alongi’s

This small-town Illinois pizzeria has hosted the likes of Willie Nelson, Bob Hope, Stan Musial and Sonny & Cher. In the small mining community of DuQuoin, Illinois, Alongi’s is a true survivor: Sicilian immigrant Guy Alongi started his business in 1933, during the height of the Great Depression, and his family has continued to weather…

Robert Leucht was the first in town to offer a pizza buffet

PizzAroma

This Kentucky pizzeria went from humble beginnings to 50-plus years of success, thanks to innovation, attention to quality and a can-do attitude. Robert Leucht didn’t know much about the pizza business when he opened PizzAroma (pizzaroma.com) in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1963. What’s more, the locals didn’t really know pizza either. But with a recipe and…

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Arcaro & Genell

For more than half a century, this legendary pizza spot has stood out in the so-called “Pizza Capital of the World.” In 1962, Angelo and Marie Genell partnered with Marie’s two brothers, Frank and Anthony Arcaro, to buy Laurenzi’s Restaurant in Old Forge, Pennsylvania. Not surprisingly, they christened the new venture Arcaro & Genell. Though…

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DeLuca’s Restaurant and Pizzeria

This Michigan shop introduced several pizza innovations to Lansing, including the tuna pizza. Opened in 1960, the Willow Bar started out as a neighborhood watering hole for nearby factory workers in Lansing, Michigan. But the pizza they served—developed by Italian immigrants Pat DeLuca and his brother Jim—became so popular the business eventually switched its name…

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Pasquale’s Restaurant and Pizzeria

Since 1954, this pizzeria has thrived on historic Woodward Avenue with authentic, one-of-a-kind pies. We couldn’t tell it any better ourselves, so, for a change of pace, we’ll let the Del Giudice family, owners of Pasquale’s Restaurant and Pizzeria, tell their own story after 55 years of family-style service: “At the height of the pizza…

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Home Run Inn

This pizzeria, named after an errant baseball, has hit home runs in the frozen-food and family markets. Home Run Inn began in 1923 as a small tavern on Chicago’s South Side. Founded by Mary and Vincent Grittani, the tavern received its name when a baseball from the neighborhood park smashed through one of the windows….

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Shield’s Pizza

This Motor City institution is passionate about its pizza, but it’s also well-loved by the community for its heart. In 1940s Detroit, pizza was picking up steam as a favorite food. When a former employee of a local pizzeria brought his recipe to the Polish owners of Shield’s Bar, pies were quickly added to the…

Ken Petti, with his wife, Almeda, introduced Master Pizza in 1955.

Master Pizza

After nearly 60 years in business, this Cleveland-area pizzeria keeps up with the times through aggressive marketing and social media strategies. Not long after opening Master Pizza (masterpizza.com) in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, in 1955, founder Ken Petti was primed for impressive growth. By 1960, he took on four partners to start franchising—the first business to…

Lombardi’s, opened in 1905, is credited as the country’s first pizzeria

Lombardi’s Pizzeria

Credited as the first pizzeria in the country, this Little Italy institution has been churning out coal-fired pies—and inspiring young pizzaiolos—for nearly 110 years. When Gennaro Lombardi, a bread baker from Naples, Italy, set up shop in New York’s Little Italy in 1905, he forever changed the course of American eating habits. Serving the then-predominantly…