The Very First ‘Little Caesars Pizza’ Opened in Michigan, 1959
Little Caesars pizza has locations in all 50 states, with a total of somewhere between 5,500-6,000 locations worldwide.....and it all started in Michigan!
Mike Ilitch played second base for the Tigers and a couple of other teams beginning in 1952.....thanks to a knee injury, he had to retire in 1955.
Little Caesars' history says it all began as a love story in 1954, when Ilitch and Marian Bayoff were thrown together on a blind date by Mike's dad. Fortunately, they hit it off, and it was just a few months later when they married. The two of them pooled their life savings in order to open their own business: a pizza restaurant.
In 1959, Mike and Marian Ilitch opened the first Little Caesars – which also featured spaghetti, shrimp, chicken, and fish - in a Michigan strip mall at 32594 Cherry Hill Road, Garden City. Mike wanted to call it “Pizza Cheap”, but the “Little Caesars Pizza” suggestion won out as the first name.
In 1962 Little Caesars first franchise opened in Warren, called “Little Caesars Pizza Treat”. This featured the “Little Caesar guy eating a slice of pizza” logo. From there, Little Caesars really began to branch out and became the fastest-growing pizza chain in America.
1967: First location in Detroit.
1969: 50th location opens.
1979: Little Caesars launches PIZZA!PIZZA!®, two for the price of one.
1988: TV advertising begins nationwide.
Most sports fans know that Ilitch became owner of the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, but that story is for another time. He passed away in 2017 at the age of 87.
Little Caesars Pizza is a Michigan success story that is still succeeding.....even through a certain pandemic.