What started out as one small party store on Gratiot Avenue near Eight Mile Road has mushroomed into one of the country’s top pizza chains. This year, Buscemi’s looks to make a little extra dough by opening bar and grill restaurants.
Why wait 60 years? “You stay in the business that you know best,” explains Tony Buscemi, CEO and son of the company’s founder. “My dad pioneered the party store concept.”
The original Buscemi’s got started when Paul Buscemi bought a party store in what was then East Detroit (now Eastpointe). He started selling submarine sandwiches and by 1956, square pizza by the slice.
After gaining a strong following, the family started franchising — and never looked back. In fact, they don’t own any stores now, but have become a 50-location-and-growing powerhouse.
“Our expansion isn’t about going into new locations and building from the ground up,” Buscemi says, explaining that they target mom-and-pop party stores. Growth comes from “word-of-mouth … once the franchisee knows they can trust us.”
That trust comes from a tried and true recipe, Buscemi says. They can convert a store within 60 days, complete with training and equipment. They supply franchisees with everything from fresh dough to special cheese shipped in from Italy.
Buscemi’s first bar and grill-style spot will open this spring. Rather than building from the ground up, a franchisee is converting his existing businesses. Buscemi’s name will soon grace the Sweet Water Bar & Grill in Waterford and Brewhaus Bar & Grill in Keego Harbor.
The Buscemi’s Pizza Bar and Grills will have new logos and signage and expanded offerings that will include steak burgers — and square pizza, of course. After all, it’s what they know best.