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  • Writer's pictureShelly Peterson

Sammy's Pizza - Family, Friends, Traditions

One morning in late 1999, Mike Acheson was headed to work at the Lakeside Sammy’s when a real estate agent stopped him, wondering if he was interested in looking at a piece of property in Cloquet, MN. He had no idea why the man came to him, but he went to look at the property, and on June 20, 2000, he opened Sammy’s Pizza in Cloquet.

Family, Friends and Traditions are not just words printed on the pizza boxes and marketing materials. Mike is committed to the community, his family, and his employees. He has lived in Cloquet, raised three children here, volunteered on many local boards, and contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to various causes in the Cloquet and Twin Ports area. He has invested over $1M in taxes in 22 years and paid over $3.5M in local payrolls that have benefited local families.

The Sammy's family tradition began more than 67 years ago with Sam Perrella - or as Mike calls him, Grandpa Sam. Grandparents, 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 Perrella's combined some traditional family recipes with their own special touches to create their own pizzas.

In 1954, after encouragement from customers who knew they were on to something big, the Perrella's 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 – including one in Duluth's Lakeside neighborhood in 1958.

Jim Acheson Sr. and Marguerite (Perrella) Acheson opened the restaurant and ran it until 1978, when their son, Jim Jr., took over. A few years later, in 1982, another son, Mike, went to work full time with his brother and never looked back.

Now in its fourth generation, almost fifth, of pizza artisans across 17 locations, the Sammy's family continues to uphold Grandpa Sam's dream. The tastes and traditions of Sammy's Pizza have gained a cult-like following, as devoted Sammy's lovers have developed their own traditions around the pizza and the restaurants.

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.

When you visit Sammy's Pizza in Cloquet, you will find a newly remodeled inside and addition of outdoor dining. You'll find a menu of not only pizza but broasted chicken, pasta, sandwiches, and salads. Sammy's makes much more than great pizza – they inspire traditions with family, friends, and the local community.

Stop by and say hello to Mike and his dedicated staff, grab a pizza and support local growing families, friends, and traditions.

305 Sunnyside Drive

Cloquet MN 55720

(218) 879-3705

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