LaRosa's Pizzeria

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LaRosa's Pizzeria
Privately held company
FoundedCincinnati, Ohio, U.S. (1954 (1954))
FounderBuddy LaRosa
Number of locations
65 pizzerias (2017)
Area served
Greater Cincinnati, Greater Dayton
Key people
Donald "Buddy" LaRosa (Founder, Chairman Emeritus)
Michael LaRosa (CEO)
Mark LaRosa (President, Chief Culinary Officer),
T. D. Hughes
(Chairman of the Board)
ProductsPizza, pasta, other Italian-American cuisine (over 40 selections)[1]
RevenueIncrease US$132,400,000 (2007)[2]

LaRosa's Pizzeria is a chain of pizzerias serving neighborhoods in Cincinnati, Greater Dayton, Central Ohio, Northern Kentucky, Southeast Indiana and central Tennessee. It was founded in 1954 by Donald "Buddy" LaRosa, along with partners Richard "Muzzie" Minella, Mike Soldano and Frank "Head" Serraino. Originally called Papa Gino's, LaRosa later bought out his partners, and changed the name to LaRosa's.

In addition to serving guests in its pizzerias, LaRosa's is also the exclusive pizza served at the Kings Island and Coney Island amusement parks, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Riverbend Music Center, Perfect North Slopes and the Great American Ball Park (home of the Cincinnati Reds).


The first store opened March 24, 1954,[3] on Boudinot Avenue in the Westwood area of Cincinnati. The family and franchise owners now operate more than 60 pizzerias,[1][4] with total annual sales of over $130 million. The sales put the company as the 14th largest pizza-chain in the US in 2014.[5]

In 1991, LaRosa's invested heavily in the implementation and marketing of a single number call distribution center for delivery and carry out orders. Its phone number is prominently featured in advertising. LaRosa's is very popular in Greater Cincinnati, exceeding Domino's, Donatos Pizza, Pizza Hut and Papa John's in consumer reported purchase frequency.

LaRosa's has always been active in the neighborhoods it serves, sponsoring local youth sports programs with their LaRosa's MVP of the Week and Hall of Fame.[6] In the 1990s, the company started the Buddy Card fundraising program – allowing groups and organizations to sell Buddy Cards, offering a free pizza with purchase, and keep a percentage of the money earned.[7]

On February 27, 2008, Michael Larosa became CEO of LaRosa's, Inc., succeeding T. D. Hughes (CEO, LaRosa's 1990–2007).[8]

The company began talking about expansions outside of Cincinnati in 2011, aiming to open stores in Columbus, Indianapolis, Lexington, Louisville and Nashville.[9]

In 2014, the company signed with Boudinot South, LLC to franchise the first LaRosa's in Tennessee. The store opened in Knoxville's Cedar Bluff area.[10]

In 2015, the company announced plans to open their first Central Kentucky location in Nicholasville to open in 2016.[11]

In 2017, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley honored the founder by renaming a part of Elder St. to Buddy LaRosa Way and declaring April 26 to be Buddy LaRosa Day in Cincinnati.[12]

In March 2018, the company broke ground for the first franchise location in Lexington, Kentucky. The restaurant officially opened in May 2019.[13][14]


LaRosa's signature pizza is made with a distinctive thick, sweet sauce (a family recipe created by Buddy's Aunt Dena)[3] and topped with provolone cheese. Their menu also includes subs or "hoagies" with a variety of fillings and condiments, as well as calzones, salads, and pastas with over 40 Italian items on the menu. At Cincinnati grocery stores, the company has 15 products with their brand name attached – including olive oil, salad dressings, frozen ravioli, and their pizza sauce.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Eckberg, John (2008-10-14). "LaRosa's holding its own". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  2. ^ "DataCenter: Deloitte Cincinnati USA 100 - Cincinnati.Com". Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  3. ^ a b c Cliff Radel (March 23, 2014). "60 years of pizzas at LaRosa's". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  4. ^ LaRosa’s locations
  5. ^ Tim Feran. "Regional restaurant chains look to expand in central Ohio". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  6. ^ LaRosa's MVP
  7. ^ Suzanne Blackburn. "LaRosa's Buddy Card program goes digital". Archived from the original on March 21, 2018. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  8. ^ "LaRosa's names Michael LaRosa CEO". 2008-03-24.
  9. ^ Tom Demeropolis (Mar 24, 2014). "Three generations of LaRosa family talk expansion, innovation and strikeouts for pizza". Cincinnati Business Courier. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  10. ^ "Larosa's Family Pizzeria Coming To Knoxville". Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  11. ^ "LaRosa's Family Pizzeria opening first Central Kentucky location in Nicholasville". Lane Report. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  12. ^ Zilka, Ashley (2017-04-27). "Buddy LaRosa couldn't hold back his tears when he learned a street would be named after him". WCPO. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  13. ^ Staff (2018-03-20). "LaRosa's Family Pizzeria and Skyline Chili Break Ground in Lexington". Smiley Pete Publishing. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  14. ^ "LaRosa's opens first full-service Lexington store on Richmond Road". Retrieved 11 July 2019.

External links[edit]