After coming over from Sicily, Sam Ortisi worked on the railroads in Canada and worked his way towards southern Michigan. It was there that he set out on his dream to open a restaurant. He had many friends in the Detroit area that would help him along his way and it is also where he met his wonderful wife Shirley. After getting married they decided to make a plan to open a restaurant of their own. As both of them were young and not sure what to do, they decided to see where a good spot would be to relocate. They landed in the little town of Alma. Being it was a college town, they figured they would be open half the year and then take the other half off to enjoy themselves. With the help of friends and family Sam and Shirley opened up Pizza Sam restaurant in 1960. It was located on state street in a small single room just barely big enough for the pizza oven that was in it.
After a couple years of success (1962) they ventured around the block and opened up the new Pizza Sam building where we all know today. It started off as a one room restaurant with limited seating and one pizza oven. As time went on he would eventually purchase the next two building and increase the seating and kitchen space.
In 2000, John, son of Sam and Shirley took over ownership of the restaurant. Although they stayed put for many years after that, it was ultimately John who kept the restaurant thriving. He put in many long hours and gave it all to make sure to keep the restaurant a success.
In 2015, Vinnie decided to continue the family business after graduating from college. He has made a few changes over the past few years, but the restaurant still continues to thrive. He is working hard to keep with the times and is currently going back to the roots of the restaurant and observing take out only.