Mickey’s Italian Delicatessen & Liquor Store

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? Not at this SoCal beachside hybrid, which has thrived over 65 years thanks to a continual focus on upping its game. In 1953, 22-year-old Michael Angelo “Mickey” Mance, a former serviceman and accountant, took a leap of faith and opened his dream business, a deli, market and liquor…


Johnny’s Pizza House

After bankruptcy threatened its future, this Louisiana institution surged back from the brink, thanks to a bold and unforgettable publicity stunt by its founder. By 1989, Johnny’s Pizza House was in trouble. The business had enjoyed 22 years of growth since its 1967 founding in West Monroe, Louisiana, but despite counting 42 locations in three…


Port Sandy Bay

After 70-plus years, rustic shipwreck decor, sled-pan pizzas and vintage high-school portraits still charm this pizzeria’s original patrons, who now visit with their grandkids in tow. Back in 1947, the small town of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, seemed an unlikely place for a pizzeria—but the concept didn’t start as a pie-slinging powerhouse. The brainchild of several…


Porretta’s Pizza

An Italian immigrant who taught a teen busboy the ins and outs of the pizza business shaped a worthy successor to carry his company into the future. A few years after arriving in the States from Italy, Pat Porretta, having already worked in a local pizzeria, was ready to stake his own claim on the Windy…


Dominick’s Pizza Shoppe

Part of an astonishingly productive pizza family, one father-and-son outlet celebrates 50 years of staying small, simple and hospitable. Sicilian immigrant Dominick Scavo was a true pizza pioneer in his family; at just 17 years old, he opened his first pizzeria with brother Sal in Brooklyn, New York, in 1965. Two years later, the brothers…


John’s Restaurant and Pizza

When his dad wrangled him to wash dishes at the family pizzeria one night, Joe Persi, Jr. didn’t know he was signing up for a lifetime in pizza. Sound familiar? When his father wrangled him to wash dishes at the family business one night, Joe Persi Jr. didn’t know he was signing up for a…



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,…


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…


Mama Leone’s Italian Restaurant

Over multiple generations, pizza has ignited romances and forged strong family bonds at this mom-and-pop gem in northern Michigan. When 18-year-old Frank Mazzella arrived Stateside from the island of Ponza, Italy, in 1948, he settled in the Bronx in New York, living with relatives, working construction and pitching in at an Italian cafe and pizzeria….


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…