Chi-Chi’s Pizza, recognized by their famous logo of the friendly chef with the heavy rimmed glasses, headquartered in Chatsworth, California with locations in the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita, and Simi Valley is celebrating its 60th year in business. Generations of loyal customers deserve the credit.
Frank Paul Miccolis opened the first Chi-Chi’s in Panorama City, California in January 1958. That’s the same year the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, New York and Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” was on the top of the charts. Frank, known by his friends and customers as “Judge”, came from Gary, Indiana with his wife Ida Mae. He came with plenty of experience after working for several years in famous Italian restaurants and nightclubs owned by his father in the Gary and South Bend areas. His father was also named Frank Paul Miccolis but friends called him "Cicci Paul", a nickname for Frank in Italian, pronounced "Chi-Chi Paul".
When Judge opened his first restaurant, he named it Chi-Chi's Pizza in honor of his father. Back in 1958, Judge wanted to make sure people pronounced the name properly so he spelled the name phonetically. That's where the name Chi-Chi's Pizza came from!
Judge wore black heavy framed glasses that were in fashion at the time. A young artist sat with him while they tried to come up with a logo. The artist sketched Judge's eyes and heavy rimmed glasses and put a pizza chef hat on top. The familiar logo was born and it has been recognized all over the world!
In 1960, Judge took over Lido Pizza, in 1967 he opened Chi-Chi's in Simi Valley and Saugus, and in 1973 he opened in Northridge. In the mid 70's, Judge bought an existing steak and seafood restaurant in the High Sierras called the Carson Peak Inn located in quaint June Lake, CA. A favorite vacation spot for Judge and his family, he frequented the restaurant known for its great steaks, seafood and chicken many times before he bought it. In 2001 Chi-Chi's opened in Canyon Country to replace the aging Panorama City store. All the restaurants remain very popular and well liked.
In the late 80's Judge's son, Paul Miccolis, became President of Chi-Chi's Pizza. In November 1992, Frank Paul Miccolis "Judge" passed away. He was regarded as a visionary in his field and was known as one of the very few early pizza pioneers who brought pizza to the San Fernando Valley. Ida Mae Miccolis and Paul Miccolis continue to own the chain today and many family members are still active.
Chi-Chi's has developed a large following of devoted customers and friends over the years. Many original customers still come to Chi-Chi's with their great grandchildren today. We love to hear customers tell us their story about their first time coming to Chi-Chi's or of how many generations their family have been coming. We are also continually welcoming new friends who have been recently introduced to Chi-Chi's. They quickly become frequent customers.
61 years of success cannot happen without our loyal customers. Many thanks to all of our customers past and present. It is truly our customers who deserve the credit for our 61 years! Thank you!