Round Table Pizza

Now encompassing 414 locations across eight states, Round Table Pizza spawned from humble, hand-drawn beginnings as the singular vision of one man with a big dream. Bill Larson, a Navy man in the 1950s, was first exposed to pizza overseas—in Japan, not Italy. Upon his U.S. return, he worked for companies like Coca-Cola and Safeway,…


La Bella Pizza Garden

Balancing old-school charm with millennial-friendly updates, this still-expanding SoCal enterprise celebrated 65 years in 2020. La Bella Pizza Garden in Chula Vista, California, was the brainchild of Tony Raso, a Purple Heart-decorated war veteran and dairy farmer, and his wife, Kitty, who honed her service charms as a waitress in Manhattan. Escaping the harsher winters…


Tommaso’s Ristorante Italiano

Sporting an old-school work ethic and menu in tech-obsessed San Francisco, this North Beach institution seals its modern-day longevity by transporting diners to the past. Tommaso’s, a bona fide San Francisco legend, brought the West Coast its first wood-fired brick oven in 1935. And, nearly 85 years later, not much has changed. Some things, of…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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 ( location in San Leandro, California….


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 (, serving Old-World recipes handed down in his…