Special Report

Regional Pizza Chains That Really Should Go National

Source: Courtesy of Sammy's Pizza and Restaurant

Sammy’s Pizza and Restaurant

Bobby Zimmerman would have been in school in Hibbing, Minnesota, when Sam Perrella opened his first pizzeria there in 1954. (Zimmerman left a few years later to become Bob Dylan.) Today, Sammy’s, which grew out of that first effort, boasts a dozen Minnesota locations, plus two in Wisconsin and one in North Dakota. Among the specialty pizzas available are the Iron Ranger (pepperoni, kosher salami, and extra cheese), the Chicken Alfredo (grilled chicken, mozzarella, parmesan, and “our cousin Bert Shomento’s famous homemade Alfredo sauce”), and the Magnificent Seven (a choice of any seven toppings).

Source: Courtesy of Sizzle Pie

Sizzle Pie

This small Portland, Oregon-based chain, with six Oregon locations (all but one in Portland) plus one each in Seattle and Reno, Nevada, offers “East Coast style slices and pies with a healthy blend of West Coast flair.” Though there are plenty of meaty pies (with fanciful names, like 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon, Napalm Breath, and Good Luck in Jail), vegetarian and vegan pizzas are a specialty. These are no less imaginatively named: The vegan New Maps Out of Hell combines creamy basil cashew spread, seasoned soy curls, and a choice of three fresh vegetables. A vegetarian option, Rudimentary Penne, involves vodka cream sauce, roasted garlic, goat cheese, and fresh basil.

Source: Courtesy of Two Boots Pizza

Two Boots

The eponymous two “boots” are the boot-shaped peninsula of Italy and the boot-shaped state of Louisiana. The first Two Boots opened in New York City’s East Village in 1987. Today, there are two locations in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn, and one each in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Nashville. (Two Los Angeles outposts have closed.) Like Sizzle Pie, Two Boots goes in for colorful pizza names. The Bayou Beast pays tribute to Louisiana, with spiced shrimp, crawfish, andouille, jalapeños, and mozzarella. The Bird, named for jazzman Charlie “Bird” Parker, offers hot Buffalo chicken, blue cheese dressing, scallions, and jalapeños. The Emily Litella, honoring the popular “Saturday Night Live” character created by the late Gilda Radner, is made with breaded eggplant, sweet red pepper pesto, ricotta, and mozzarella.

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