He was called a “Master Pizza Maker” and a “Pioneer.”

We just called him Grandpa.


Grandpa Sam Sammy's PizzaSome would say it all started more than 61 years ago in a small, rural town on Minnesota’s Iron Range. But those of us who knew Grandpa Sam say it all started with a hope and a dream.

In the early 1950s, few people on Minnesota’s Iron Range even knew what pizza was. But when Sam Perrella, owner of a small café in Keewatin, heard stories from World War II veterans about favorite foods they’d discovered while serving in Italy, he decided to investigate. He spent a short time in Chicago (where he picked up on the idea of square cut slices), then – working with his wife Louise – they combined some traditional family recipes with their own special touches.

Sam moved his small café to the larger, neighboring town of Hibbing in 1954, and Sammy’s Pizza was born. During the next few years, he brought more and more family into the business, and later welcomed in the family of his best friend, Nick Jerulle.

Over the years, the tastes and traditions of Sammy’s Pizza have gained an almost cult-like following, as devoted Sammy’s lovers have developed their own traditions around the pizza and the restaurants. Today we’re proud that we are in the fourth generation of pizza makers – or as we like to refer to them as, artisans.

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.

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