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Eh? Reaching its vintage

Hard to believe that a scant 60 years ago, with the Korean conflict wrapping up and 20 years in Vietnam just about to start, a young Sam Perrella and his wife, Louise, with some encouragement from their community, moved their cafe in Keewatin to the more populated city of Hibbing. There, the pair expanded their menu to include pizza, a foreign enough food that Sam had traveled to Chicago to learn how pizza was made.

The firestorm that change touched off has made Sammy’s Pizza a household name in the Northland, and this year marks the restaurant chain’s 60th birthday.

Today, there are 17 locations in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin — all owned and operated by family members and close friends. With sons, daughters, cousins, nephews and nieces, Sammy’s now enters into the fourth generation of pizza makers, according to a statement.

To highlight opening dates of Sammy’s Pizza in our area:

* The original location in Hibbing opened in 1954.

* Downtown Duluth, West Duluth and Waite Park (St. Cloud) locations opened in 1956.

* Lakeside location opened in 1958.

* Grand Rapids opened in 1986.

* Hermantown opened in 1990.

* Woodland opened in 1991.

* Cloquet opened in 2000.

* Duluth Heights opened in 2007.

So what is Sammy’s Pizza doing for its birthday? Balloons? Tour of Italy?


Sammy’s is celebrating its 60th year by giving customers a 12-inch, one topping pizza for 60 cents when they buy any 14-inch or larger pizza between April 27 and May 1. But on May 1 — the big day — the Sammy’s locations mentioned above will donate 60 percent of their proceeds to each of their local Disabled American Veterans chapters, according to the statement.