Our family tradition began more than 67 years ago with Sam Perrella – or as we like to call him, Grandpa Sam.
Sam and Louise Perrella owned a small café on the Iron Range in Keewatin, MN. It was during the early 1950s that Sam would listen to stories from World War II veterans about favorite foods they had discovered while serving in Italy. One of those favorites was pizza – something few people on the Iron Range knew anything about at the time.
Sam decided he wanted to learn more so he traveled to Chicago to visit some pizzerias, and it was there where he picked up the idea for square cut pieces. The Perrellas combined some traditional family recipes with their own special touches to create their own pizzas.
In October 1954, after some encouragement from customers who knew they were on to something big, the Perrellas moved their café to Hibbing, MN and Sammy’s Pizza was born. Over the years, Sam invited family members into the business, and more and more Sammy’s locations opened.
Today, some 67 years, 14 locations and more than 20 million pizzas later, Sammy's is now in it's fourth generation of pizza makers, who all use Sam’s original recipes.
In 2015, PMQ Pizza Magazine, the pizza industry’s No. 1 publication, inducted Sammy’s into its Pizza Hall of Fame — which pays tribute to popular pizzerias in business for 50 years or longer. In 2018, Sammy's was also voted 'Best Pizza in Minnesota' in Minnesota Monthly Magazine's Pizza Bracket Challenge.
Sammy’s in West Duluth opened in 1956 and is owned and operated by Mike and Pam Jerulle, along with their son Nick. Tony Jerulle and Kelly Jerulle, owners of Sammy's Pizza locations in Grand Rapids, Hibbing and International Falls, are also part owners of the restaurant.
Mike began his pizza-making legacy in 1964 when he first started working at Sammy’s Pizza in Hibbing. Back then, he earned 50¢ an hour cutting cheese and pepperoni by hand. He eventually became the manager of that Sammy's and 19 years later, he and his wife, Pam, purchased Sammy's Pizza in West Duluth.
When you visit, our hope is that you’ll realize Sammy’s makes much more than great pizza – we make works of art inspiring traditions with family and friends, as well as in our local community.
Thank you for making Sammy’s Pizza a part of your family tradition. We look forward to your next visit!