Sammy’s Pizza

Pizza chain made local and personal


PUT IT ON THE PIZZA: Sammy’s Pizza on London Road is one of several locations. General Manager of the Eau Claire location Adam Skillen said each one is individually owned and personal. Submitted

Story by Katie Bast, News Editor

You might think having pizza-patterned carpet would be a little much for a pizza place, but Sammy’s Pizza makes it work.

The retro-style tables and colorful, vinyl chairs and hand-painted murals on the wall set the Eau Claire Sammy’s apart from the other locations.

The restaurant was started over 50 years ago by Sam Perrella in Hibbing, Minn., but the location at 2812 London Rd. has only been open for about six years, co-owner Tammy Jerulle said.

According to their website, Perrella developed an interest in pizza after hearing stories of the food his friends ate while serving in Italy during WWII. After spending some time in Chicago and tweaking family recipes, Perrella and his wife Louise opened the first location.

“We make most of it from scratch. The dough, we grind our own sausage, beef, kosher, shred most our veggies fresh. We roll it out, cut it to size, crimp it, sauce it and top it to order,” General Manager Adam Skillen said.

“I’ve heard we have the best pizza more times than I can count,” Skillen said.

Even though Sammy’s is a chain with 16 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota, the London Road location is uniquely Eau Claire.

No where else will you find “The Mouse Special,” a pizza topped with kosher salami and pepperoni, very well done and cut into small, square pieces. It was named in honor of Greg “Mouse” Bement, the original owner of The Mousetrap on Barstow Street.

Jerulle said the atmosphere is “friendly and family-oriented” and their clientele ranges from 20-something college students to people in their 60s and 70s. The place also has a lot of regulars.

Skillen said he knows a lot of the regulars by name, making Sammy’s a more personal experience than most chain restaurants.

Their website describes the regulars as “an almost cult-like following.” If the other regulars are anything like my dad, who makes special trips from Madison to “see me” and get pizza and who salivates for days in anticipation, then cult-like isn’t too far off.

There’s something about Sammy’s that makes you feel like a regular even if you aren’t. I didn’t grow up near a Sammy’s Pizza, but I feel like I was raised on it anyway.

The thin crust manages hold the sweet sauce, cheese and fresh toppings without cracking under the pressure.

Pizzas on the menu range from traditional — pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, peppers, onions, olives — to more specialized like chicken cordon bleu (topped with chicken, Canadian bacon and served with bleu cheese dressing) chicken alfredo and barbeque and buffalo chicken.

The restaurant serves more than just pizza, though I’ve never had anything else off the menu. I mean, if you’re going to go to Sammy’s, why wouldn’t you get pizza?

While the prices are a bit much for me to splurge on too often, sometimes I just really need a decent slice (or in Sammy’s Pizza’s case, square) of pizza. Sammy’s does offer a buy on get on half off special every Wednesday on pizza and wings that college kids should definitely be taking advantage of.

While Skillen said he’s never been to any other location, each is individually owned, promising a unique experience at each.