Nancy and Rocco Palese opened their first pizza parlor in Chicago shortly after emigrating from Turin, Italy, in 1969. They initially featured thin crust pizza, which was popular at the time, but business didn’t really take off until Rocco introduced a unique stuffed pizza, modeled after his family’s recipe for scarciedda, an Easter specialty cake. After transforming Nancy’s Pizza into a Chicago legend, Nancy and Rocco in 1992 sold the business to Chicago Franchise Systems. The chain has since expanded well beyond the Chicago region, with units as far away as Georgia.

LocationTinley Park, Ill.
2008 Systemwide Sales$32,000,000
% Change in Sales33.3%
2008 U.S. Units46
% Change in Units35.3%
2008 Average Unit Volume$700,000
% Change in AUV0.0%
Future 50 Year2009