The Italian food most of us grew up with was a creation of Italian immigrants that settled in New York City early in the last century. Untrained as chefs and without many of their traditional ingredients, the used what was locally available to create a new version of their cuisine. Starting around Mulberry Street in and area that became known as Little Italy, they opened Italian Restaurants and Pizzerias, introducing these new flavors to America.
In 1952, the first Casa Mia Restaurant was opened in a storefront space in Hoquiam, Washington by Phil Bellofatto, and Italian-American that grew up in an apartment above one of the original Italian Restaurants and Pizzerias in New York. After a stint in the army, Phil settled in the Northwest. At that time, most locals’ exposure to “Italian” food was limited to spaghetti, usually from a can. Pizza was virtually unknown. Casa Mia, one of the first Italian restaurants in Washington State is credited with changing all that. To this day, the menu at Casa Mia is centered on Phil’s recipes, with nearly everything still made the old fashioned way. Pizza is hand tossed, with fresh dough made daily at each of our restaurants, then baked on a brick hearth. Our tomato sauce is made daily in each restaurant, simmered for six hours to develop its rich and distinctive flavors.
In 1974 Phil sold the restaurant and recipes to Roger Jump. In 1982, Bob Knudson joined Roger to open the second Casa Mia in Lacey, Washington. That was followed by the third in Olympia, Washington in 1985. In 1993, the first franchised Casa Mia opened in Kennewick, Washington, and there are now seven Casa Mia Italian restaurants across the State of Washington.
In 1994, Casa Mia was the winner of Hunt-Wesson Foods Pizza Prima Pizza recipe contest, our first national pizza award. Since then we were awarded first prize in the “Pizza Across America” contest for our Chicken Pizza with Three Cheeses, and have twice been winners of Pizza Today Magazine’s Pizza Festiva International Pizza Recipe Contest.
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