Dayton, OH – In big cities and small towns across the United States, Americans spend millions of dollars every week for what is arguably the nation’s most popular food – pizza. Every region has its favorites, like in Dayton, where Cassano’s Pizza and Subs has served as an icon to generations for almost 60 years.
Founded by Vic Cassano Sr. and Mom Donisi in 1953, Cassano’s is the oldest pizza restaurant in the Dayton area. Still operated by the Cassano family, the company has 34 locations, and a wholesale dough business.
Through the years, Cassano’s has gained a vast following of customers in the Miami Valley and around the globe. America has a passion for pizza, and the love Daytonians show for Cassano’s is especially illustrated through the feedback the Cassano family receives at its Dayton office.
For example, one e-mail details the story of a man who remembers when he was given a dollar by his parents so he could play games at a Cassano’s restaurant while they waited for their pizza. Another message describes a couple who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with the meal they shared on their first date – a Cassano’s deluxe.
“I believe one of the reasons pizza is so popular in this country is that it is a food that brings families together,” said Chris Cassano, who is president of Cassano’s. “Different family members might like different toppings, but pizza is a food that is shared. It is common for families to have a pizza night every week, when they order a pizza and watch a TV show, or during football season they order a pizza and watch the game together.”
Vic Cassano Sr. was in the grocery store business when a friend suggested he open a pizza restaurant, said Chris Cassano, who is the founder’s grandson.
“He was given a loan from my great grandma to buy a mixer and an oven, and they developed a dough recipe,” Chris Cassano explained. “Cassano’s pizzas were then cut in traditional pie slices originally, but when grandpa opened the first Cassano’s, it was a time when women wore white gloves. It wasn’t ladylike to eat large slice of pizza, so he started cutting them in small squares.”
Cassano’s square slices are seemingly as synonymous with Dayton as the Wright brothers, Mike-Sells Potato Chips and Esther Price candy. For years, Cassano’s has shipped pizzas across the United States for displaced Daytonians hungry for a taste of their hometown favorite, but the pies were placed in unmarked packaging. The company recently introduced Cassano’s Home Edition, which allows customers to buy pre-packaged 12-inch cheese, pepperoni and deluxe pies in specially made Cassano’s boxes. The Home Edition boxes contain 12-inch cheese and pepperoni pies for $12 each, and the deluxe for $15. The pizzas are made to order and available online at www.cassanos.com.
“They are the same pizzas as you get in the restaurant, except they are frozen,” Cassano said. “It’s as close as you can get to the Cassano’s experience without visiting one of our locations.”
Late last year, Cassano’s introduced the “All Edge” pizza to satisfy the taste buds of those people who crave the edges.
This innovative menu item features a regular round pizza pie with a hole in the middle, making every square an edge piece. The cut out center of the pizza is filled with a choice of one of six appetizers – Ravioli, Breaded Banana Pepper Rings, Tater Babies, Cheese Sticks, or Garlic Cheese Strips.
Not only is the All Edge pizza an innovative product, but the way it was introduced was unique as well. Cassano’s held two All Edge Social Media parties and spread the word about the new pizza via social networking. Cassano’s has placed a strong emphasis on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to reach existing customers and bring in a new generation of Cassano’s pizza enthusiasts. The All Edge pizza was solely promoted by social networking, and no traditional advertising.
“When you talk to people across the country, in many cases their favorite pizza is from a mom and pop shop or a regional pizza restaurant,” Cassano added. “Generations of people who have grown up on Cassano’s, so they know what to expect. We’re a part of their family traditions.”
Founded by Vic Cassano Sr. and Mom Donisi in 1953, Cassano’s is the oldest pizza restaurant in the Dayton area. Still operated by the Cassano family, the company has 34 locations, a wholesale dough business and a new London Bobby’s Fish and Chips location in Trenton, Ohio. Cassano’s in the midst of debuting a variety of new menu items in the coming months.