Pizza Pizza! After a harried day of errands, with several of my family members howling with hunger, I stopped into Little Caesars on Stadium in Ann Arbor, out of sheer desperation. I wasn’t prepared for the awesomeness I encountered there.
After ordering, the guy behind the counter offered me cookies for the starving children rocking my van outside their window! They provided plates and napkins, and all with a flair of generosity you don’t typically find at a fast food joint!
Upon interviewing Kevin Stephens, the owner and manager of Little Caesars, I found out why. His father owned the store before him, and his 24 employees are mostly complied of his 3 sons, and relatives! Aha! That’s why they are so good, they are a family, and supporting them is so easy with the great service they provide.
When I did a little Google-hunt and found out more about Little Caesars, I shouldn’t have been so surprised that Kevin was doing a family-run business!
Mike and Marian Illich, together with their 7 kids were first generation Macedonian immigrants, who started a small pizza shop in Garden City, MI in 1959! Not only is that a stones throw away from Ypsilanti, but I love the story of them opening the restaurant and Mike wanted to name the place “Pizza Treat,” and Marian thought there was something more distinctive they could add! Her nick-name for her husband was her “Little Caesar,” and finally he agreed it was catchy, and the official name for that first store (which is still there!), was Little Caesar’s Pizza Treat. Their specialty was two large pizzas for the price of one!
They really do have wonderful deals, with their Hot and Ready Pizzas at only $5.55 (8 or more are only 5$ each). Mike explained that at his store the food is a teeny bit more expensive because they pay their employees more than minimum wage! Just another reason that I want to head to Little Caesars!
But at 14$ for two delicious pizzas, I can’t feed my family for that price anywhere!
They also have a deep dish pizza which is quite literally twice the amount of food as the traditional round, and only 8$ each. Another favorite that you will want to try is their tuna melt! I’m totally serious. My friend Dom was the one who initially introduced me to the place and he strongly recommended the tuna melt. I love and adore tuna, but rarely have a good experience with it outside of my house, but this truly is an exception! Try it.
Kevin, his wife Levlie and their three boys, Trent, Garret, and Zach and various family members have been working at this place for going on 50 years this spring. Kevin’s father bought it in 1954, it was the 11th store to be built, and the funny little guy on the roof was hand sketched by Mike Illich himself!
Thanks to Kevin for taking the time to speak with me during the after lunch- lunch rush! And, I may be reviewing some of Kevin’s favorite local places, Dimos, Washtenaw Dairy, and Red Rock….