In 1993, Todd Bruce returned to Frankfort to open a great pizzeria. In June of 1993, the first A. Papano’s Pizza opened on Main Street in downtown Frankfort. In keeping with small town family tradition, Bruce employed both his brother Kirk, who now owns that store, and his sister Kalee.
The store was an instant hit. During the first 10 days of operation, the store ran out of food on a daily basis. Soon, vendors caught up with demand and employees were added. At first, Bruce was reluctant to open another location, but people from the eastern side of the county kept coming in asking for something closer.
In 1996, space opened up in Beulah and a second store opened. Later that year, Bruce visited a friend in Germany and the idea of opening a pizzeria there blossomed. That location in Emden, Germany, goes by the name A. American Pizza Pan and experienced similar success, creating long wait times for the first few months.
In the coming years, Andrew Miller, long assumed another Bruce brother, purchased the Beulah location, Kirk Bruce purchased the Frankfort store, and another store opened in Interlochen. Miller and Jeff Yacks, who took his first job at A. Papano’s in Beulah, bought the Interlochen store and eventually opened another location in Kingsley.
All along, the principle that “You can’t make good wine from bad grapes” has been the governing philosophy at A. Papano’s Pizza. To achieve consistent excellence, the sauce and dough are made by hand at each location. Whether sourced locally or driven in from Chicago and beyond, no compromises are allowed to obtain the highest quality ingredients. Constant menu revisions including new toppings, thin crust and whole wheat crust, keep the menu fresh and current.
When you spend your hard earned dollars at A. Papano’s Pizza, you are buying 20 years of pizza making excellence and supporting people in your town: young growing families, education, community organizations, local charities and much more. The money spent here, stays here.
Looking forward, A. Papano’s reaffirms its commitment to excellence in products and service, to the communities we serve, and to exploring new territory. New products are in the pipeline, new promotions and ways of reaching customers are on the drawing board. Many other towns are asking for their own great pizza – so who knows where the next 20 years may take us?
One thing that won’t change is living by the same, simple philosophy that you can’t make good wine from bad grapes!
As a group of nine owners and around 140 employees here and abroad, we are humbly, truly appreciative of the support we’ve received over the past 20 years. We look forward to many, many more.
Our sincerest gratitude!