In 1949, Cosimo (Gus) Fricano purchased the building in Grand Haven that is the original location of Fricano’s Pizza. In 1950 Gus was joined in business by his brother Tom. With the pizza recipe created by their mother Philipena, the brothers would go on to build “The Original and Most Famous Pizza” business in the entire state of Michigan. The Fricano’s pizza legacy is 65 years old and is still growing strong. Our pizza has been acclaimed in Michigan’s largest newspaper publications and in several other media outlets. Fricano’s legendary pizza has won numerous radio and newspaper competitions. However, no competition was bigger than the ‘Pure Michigan’ campaign to determine the state of Michigan’s favorite pizza. In the “Pure Michigan” survey, Fricano’s pizza claimed the title of “Michigan’s favorite pizza.” It beat out every other pizza establishment from Michigan’s largest cities, including Grand Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit.
As a young boy Philip Fricano remembers accompanying his dad to the pizza tavern, where his dad and uncle would have him sort bottles and do other small jobs. In 1971, when Phil was in high school, he started learning to make and bake pizzas. It soon became apparent to him that he enjoyed all aspects of the restaurant business and knew that someday he wanted to own his own restaurant. For the next several years Phil worked alongside his dad and uncle knowing that there was no better way to learn the business then by watching the two brothers who knew it best! Whether at the restaurant, on the golf course or at the card table, Gus and Tom were a dynamic team. Phil remembers that both brothers were as good at greeting and interacting with their customers as the pizza was at “wowing” them.
In 1979, Phil’s dream of owning his own restaurant became a reality. After searching for the perfect location, Phil found a restaurant that had been closed for several years in rural Alamo township just north of Kalamazoo. Phil had high expectations for his new location but it soon became apparent that people in Southwestern Michigan were not familiar with Fricano’s pizza. For this reason, Phil had to expand to a full menu. That is why both Fricano’s of Alamo and Fricano’s of Caledonia offer more than the award-winning pizza.
In 2013, the opportunity to purchase the former Sam’s Joint in Caledonia became available. Phil thought it would be an ideal location to bring his entire menu, including the original Fricano’s pizza. After purchasing the building in the Spring of 2013, Phil and his wife Chris, worked with a small crew to remodel and create a fun and relaxing atmosphere. The project took a year to complete as the building built in the mid-1800’s needed a lot of updating. It was a fun project as many historical facts about Caledonia were uncovered along the way. Fricano’s of Caledonia opened June 2, 2014.