5 things to know about Cassano’s, Dayton’s oldest pizza chain 

Cassano’s, a locally founded pizza chain, marked 65 years of business in June 2018. 

Here are five things to know about the classic area chain: 

1. Founded in 1953. “Vic” Cassano, Sr. and his mother-in-law Caroline “Mom” Dinisi opened their first shop June 4, 1953 in a 20-by-15 foot room in the back of a Kettering grocery store. They sold 400 square-cut, thin-crust pizzas the first day. 

The original caption dated July 7, 1964 reads: “Marking their 11th anniversary this month are the Vic Cassano-Mom Donisi Pizza houses which have grown from a one-store operation to a $3 million a year business. Above, Cassano and Mrs. John (Mom) Donisi, his mother-in-law, are shown in the central commissary from which ingredients are distributed to their pizza outlets.” DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE
Photo: Dayton Daily News Archive

2. An early franchise opportunity. Cassano’s Pizza King was one of the first in the nation to franchise its stores in 1955. The company grew to 125 stores and by the 1970s it ranked in the top four pizza chains in the country. 

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People couldn’t get enough of the Pizza King’s combinations of pepperoni, sausage and cheese. The company grew to 125 stores over the following three decades, and by the 1970s the company ranked in the top four pizza chains in the country. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE

3. Expanding beyond pizza. An innovative entrepreneur, Cassano Sr. developed London Bobby Fish and Chips in the early 1980s, a popular shop for fish and chips. Today the vintage dish can still be found at the Kettering and Trenton Cassano’s locations. 

4. A family operation. Cassano Sr. retired in 1986 and his son Vic Cassano Jr. bought the company. Today the third generation runs the family business. 

Vic Cassano Jr. hands out free pizza to Nannet Selleards while marking the 20 year anniversary of Cassano Pizza Kings in 1973.
Photo: Dayton Daily News Archive

5. Historic location. In 2016, more than 60 years after it was founded, Cassano’s Pizza King was honored by the State of Ohio with a historical marker placed outside the company headquarters in Kettering.

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