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Arni’s

From unlikely franchisee to pizza kingpin, Arni Cohen remained true to his core principles: supporting customers and communities. Arni Cohen, a journalism and history major in college, might have seemed an improbable pizza entrepreneur, but he was no foodservice newbie, having worked since 14 at his uncle’s fine-dining restaurant. By 1965, in his early 30s,…

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Martino’s Italian Villa

With no help from the banks and six kids at home, Frank and Angela Martino grew their little 20-seat pizza shop into a sprawling 300-seater in just 10 years. Little did Angela Martino know that Frank, her neighbor and brother’s best friend in Italy, would become her husband years later, well after both had landed…

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Secane

When Philip Bottos wanted to branch out at his hoagie operation in Secane, Pennsylvania, pizza slinging family members in Massachusetts inspired him to establish Secane Pizza with partner John Kokalis in 1966. With a dream location next to the town’s post office, the small shop (less than 1,000 square feet) introduced a simple menu of…

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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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Tony’s Place

Employees at this Valparaiso, Indiana, restaurant have clocked decades on the payroll, while customers have included Phyllis Diller and Red Buttons. Fortunately for pizza fans in Valparaiso, Indiana, Anthony Gengo Sr. couldn’t deny his dough-bound destiny. He’d been born into the business; his mother owned a bread company in New York, delivering door-to-door. But when…

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Corsi’s

Since 1958, this family-owned and -operated mainstay in Livonia, Michigan, has celebrated success with top-quality Italian specialties and down-home hospitality. In 1958, Italian immigrants Rocco and Adelia Corsi moved to Livonia, Michigan, where a few family members had a pizzeria—and helped them grab their own slice of the pie. Corsi’s (corsisbanquethalls.net) opened with pasta dishes…

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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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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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The Enchanted Inn/Drag’s

After a bumpy start in 1951—locals thought pizza was a type of beer—the Draganowski family has expanded its enterprise to four unique locations spanning three generations. In 1951, Kas and Clara Draganowski moved their family from the citified streets of Chicago to bucolic northern Wisconsin, ready to realize their dream of starting a restaurant. After…

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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…