Palermo's founders, Gaspare Fallucca and his wife, Zina, immigrated to the U.S. taking with them the cherished family recipes and the Italian tradition of connecting food and family. They settled in Milwaukee, WI and were blessed with three sons, Peter, Giacomo and Angelo.
The company began as an Italian bakery on Milwaukee's east side. Initially selling Italian breads, cookies and cannoli, they began making Italian soups and sandwiches. Soon they acquired the hardware store next door and expanded.
Realizing a Dream
Gapare (Jack) and Zina opened a pizzeria & restaurant to satisfy customer demand for their homemade Italian foods. However, it was their pizza and pizza bread that really took off. Around the same time Palermo's was named “Milwaukee's Best Pizza ” in a Milwaukee Journal article, a local grocery store owner, impressed with their pizza products, urged Jack & ZIna to go into the frozen food business. The rest is history...
From Restaurateur to Frozen Pizza Manufacturer
The company began making frozen pizza breads and pizzas in an old bakery that was renovated into a manufacturing facility. These pizzas and breads were sold under the Palermo's brand name, and Jack Fallucca soon became known as "Papa Palermo."
Palermo's Innovates: First Rising Crust
Palermo's introduced a revolutionary new product – the first frozen pizza with a crust that rises while it bakes. It was an instant success, so much so that other pizza manufacturers quickly began developing their version of this crust.
Palermo's Enters Private Label Business
Palermo's exhibited at the national Private Label Manufacturing Show, which launched the company into the private label pizza business. At this time, Palermo's introduced the very first super premium private label pizza.
Innovation Continues with Primo Thin
Demonstrating innovation once again, Palermo's launched, Primo Thin, the first frozen, ultra thin pizza. The crispy & flakey cracker-like crust was an immediate hit and has since become recognized as the company's flagship brand.
Another New Creation: Hearth-Baked Crust
Using an imported Italian marble-hearth oven, Palermo's created the first domestic hearth-baked crust on a frozen pizza. The intense heat of the oven creates air pockets and gives the pizza a crispy crust, much like an Italian wood-fired pizza.
Palermo's Launches Pizzeria-Style Frozen Pizza
Palermo's introduced Hand Tossed Style Pizza, which was inspired by a pizzeria-style crust. The crust is crispy on the outside, but chewy in the middle, making it the perfect choice for family pizza night.
Introducing Flatbreads by Palermo's
Perfect as an appetizer or a meal for two, Flatbreads offer sophisticated flavor combinations on a hearth-baked crust.
In celebration of their 50th anniversary, Palermo's wanted to deliver 50,000 pizzas to food banks country-wide. By the end of our tour we had donated over 75,000 pizzas helping to feed over 300,000 families! Check out our 50th Anniversary page for more details.