Singing Sam's Pizza

Singing Sam's is an old-fashioned pizzeria and Italian eatery, born almost a century ago in Detroit, Michigan.
Today, Singing Sam's legacy continues as it delights its patrons with the great taste of yesteryear and the passion of Sam's contagious commitment to serving the best pizza in the heart of Central Florida.

The Legend of Singing Sam’s

The story of Singing Sam's began to take shape on a warm July day, when five foot, 20 year old Salvatore Russo left Casino, Italy and set foot on a ship bound for New York. He arrived at Ellis Island on July 12th, 1920, with dreams of a new life in America. As he settled in his new home city of Detroit, Michigan, with his older brother Henrico and twin brother Giovanni, Salvatore was very sure that "buona fortuna" would follow. He soon found work as a marble artisan and worked steadily during the boom years of downtown Detroit. Along the way, romance flourished and a youthful romance soon evolved into a love that would last a lifetime. Salvatore married the lovely Maria Capaldi on a cool spring day on March 26, 1927.

Then came the great depression and after the company where he was employed was forced to shut down Salvatore found himself unemployed and working in his brother Henrico's candy store near the bustling Eastern Market, not much money, but enough to put food on the table.

As the country slipped into a depression an opportunity was created because of prohibition, and the possibility to enhance the family income. They survived the hard times by selling candy in the front of the store and bathtub gin out the back. After the repeal of prohibition in late 1933, Salvatore went on to work at the Packard Motor Car Company as a production worker with his brother Giovanni, but as one might expect, the two free spirited brothers and the highly structured assembly plant environment didn't mix well.

They only lasted a few years because their hearts were in a different place than manufacturing automobiles. Salvatore found himself again without a job and with a wife and child to support. His twin brother Giovanni relocated to New York City to work as a construction worker, leaving Salvatore at a crossroads in his life. Meanwhile, still in Detroit Salvatore decided to barrow some money from a family member to start a saloon business and in 1937 Little Sam's Bar opened its doors at the corner of St. Joseph and Riopelle in the near east side of Detroit. This was a modest family affair, Salvatore in the front greeting and serving patrons and Maria in a small kitchen located in the rear of the bar preparing simple southern Italian food from family recipes. While visiting his brother Giovanni in New York City, Salvatore was introduced to the traditional Neapolitan flatbread, "La Pizza Pomodoro", loosely translated, "Tomato Pie".

Salvatore was sure that this would be the perfect menu item to serve patrons. He brought back the idea and began serving pizza at Little Sam's Bar. Salvatore's bar was quickly earning an enviable reputation for his wife's homemade pasta, insalatas (salads), hearty soups, Italian bread, and a "peasant's meal" called pizza. Soon patrons were coming to Little Sam's Bar not only to enjoy a drink and socialize, but to enjoy the flavorful dishes that Maria served up, especially their pizza. No longer was it just a small bar where Maria could test the culinary secrets of her mother and grandmother, it was now Little Sam's Bar and Restaurant. In a short period of time, their Italian eatery's business was so popular that their guests would have to wait long periods of time while Maria cooked pizzas in her little kitchen. Not wanting to lose any of the business, Salvatore, who was known by the locals as Sam, began entertaining his guests, singing Italian folk songs while they waited for their orders. Patrons began referring to the establishment as "Singing Sam's Bar".

Sam and his wife continued to delight the palates of their loyal customers with new recipes and even the Sicilian style square pizza in the 1950s, a fresh new spin on their already famous round pie. Sadly, the original location is long gone and Little Sam's Bar and Restaurant served its last meal at St. Joseph and Riopelle in 1962. For almost three decades, Sam and Maria served loyal patrons, entertaining them and creating family dining memories for a new generation of pizza lovers who valued not just fresh ingredients, but the relationship they built with their business. Today, Singing Sam's continues to thrive under the stewardship of Salvatore and Maria's son and grandchildren as their legacy continues to generate as much enthusiasm and happy customers today as it did almost 70 years ago. Buon Appetito!

Grazie Mille

TO: Dream Factory Productions for being so creative
TO: Salvatore and Maria who fell in love and had a dream

Singing Sam's Community Involvement
Serving Those Who Serve

Singing Sam's is proud to offer discounts to police and firefighters on-duty as a small gesture of appreciation for all they do.

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