In the early 1960’s, a young man by the name of Ferdinando Pizzo brought a piece of Sicily to Grand Rapids. He opened up a pizzeria and built a very successful business called Fred’s Pizza, based on honesty and respect. He started in his home, and slowly but surely, word got out about his great cooking. “We just grew and grew” remarked his son Salvatore “Sam” Pizzo, who started out washing dishes as a kid.
Eventually, Fred realized that his take-out business needed more; he needed a sit-down dining area, so he turned his business into a dine-in establishment around 1970.
On May 1st, 1996, Sam closed the restaurant for the night and headed home around Midnight. A few hours later he got a call from a Sheriff’s deputy: The Restaurant was burning. Sam lived four blocks away, and he could see the smoke when he got halfway there. Fred’s Pizza burned to the ground.
Sadly, Ferdinando passed on in 2010. But the vision of Fred Pizzo continues, as Fred’s Italian Restaurant is currently being operated by his son Sam Pizzo and his family. Thanks to Sam having the same traits as his father, that same piece of Sicily lives on. The rich family tradition continues!
Our 50th year! A tremendous crowd showed up for the grand re-opening celebration. There are more pictures of this wonderful day in our gallery.
Even as we celebrate the past and remember Fred, we look to the future and exciting things ahead. Stay tuned!