Sammy’s Pizza and Restaurant is a popular pizzeria with many of the locals. It dishes out approximately 43,500 pizzas a year. Sammy’s has had many famous visitors, including Kevin McHale (he is often a regular), Walter Mondale (Vice President with Jimmy Carter), and a few Viking players, including Joey Browner.[1]

Sam Perella established Sammy’s Pizza in 1954. He was a local who owned a café in Keewatin. He learned how to create a pizza when he went on a trip to Chicago. When he came back to the Iron Range he started creating pizzas with his own style added. Most of the locals had not heard of pizza at the time. He and his wife started serving their pizza to the locals, and they loved its taste. Once the Perella’s knew that they had a winning recipe they brought in their friend Nick Jerulle. Together, they started to expand their business. They started in Hibbing in a building down on the corner of West Howard and North 1st Avenue (across the street from its present location). However the building had a fire so Perella moved his business to its present day location.[2] Now, Sammy’s is located in Brooklyn Park, Cloquet, Coon Rapids, Duluth (downtown, Duluth Heights, lakeside, West Duluth, and Woodland), Eau Claire, Grand Rapids, Hermantown, Minot, South Minot, and Winona.[3]

On March 20, 2008 Sammy’s had its second fire. The cooling equipment for the walk-in coolers and freezers overheated. Sammy’s workers never knew about the fire until guys from a carpet store told them. The fire spread to about half of the restaurant. Sammy’s was out for seven weeks as it dried out the building from the water and removed the burnt and smoky items. The original side smelt like smoke but otherwise had no damage. The apartments above the restaurant were damaged and one was beyond repair. To remember the fire, Sammy’s has posted pictures from the day of the fire and can still be seen in the restaurant. [4]

Mr. Chalupsky has been the owner of Sammy’s for nine years now and co-owns it with Mike and Tony Jerulle. They also own the Sammy’s in West Duluth and a Chocolate Moose in International Falls. He is in the third line of owners, beginning with Sam to his sons and finally to the current owners. When asked if he liked working at Sammy’s as a chef he responded, “I look forward to my days.” [5]

[1] Interview with Mr. Chalupsky. December 6, 2010.

[2] Interview with Mr. Chalupsky.

[3] Sammy’s Pizza and Restaurant. December 13, 2010.

[4] Interview with Mr. Chalupsky.

[5] Interview with Mr. Chalupsky.

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