The Portesi Difference

from Italy to Cicero

Portesi’s was founded by George Portesi. George was the son of Silvio and Adrianna Portesi of Altopascio, Italy, a small town near Pisa. He grew up in Italy and came to the United States by himself at the age of 17. He settled in Chicago, Illinois, more specifically, Cicero. He was a young risk-taker in a new country with a new language, and a dream of trying to create a better life for himself. As an Italian immigrant, George knew he had to work hard to reach his goals. Not knowing the area or the people, he relied on the one thing he knew, and knew well. Pizza.

The ‘Oven Fresh’ Original Style pizza is the same pizza and SECRET RECIPE that was made in the 1950’s when George Portesi had his own restaurant. The fresh yeast-dough crust is rolled out, topped off by hand and then partially baked in a 600-degree oven to seal in the oven fresh flavor. You can see the melted cheese and the traditional crust around the outside of this pizza. The original style is the first product we came out with, and the product that separated Portesi from others frozen pizzas. By pre-baking the pizza, we are able to seal in flavors that are often lost in the packaging and freezing process. One bite of an Original Style Portesi Pizza and you’ll immediately be able to tell the difference; and we know you’ll love it.

Remember, there are many pizzas, but there is only one Portesi.

from Cicero to Central Wisconsin

After finding relative success in the city, he decided to move north with his family and take another risk to reach his dream. He partnered with Florian Jagielo (Who was also from Cicero, Illinois) to open the restaurant Two Lakes in Almond Wisconsin (a relationship Portesi’s continues with Two Lakes) where he started making his unique pizza.

George and Florian purchased the pavilion at Two Lakes. There are many stories of what the business was before they took it over:
…an open-air pavilion
…dance hall
…roller-skating rink
…juke joint
…rowdy roadhouse called “The Pirate’s Cove”

But whatever its murky past was, George, his wife Clara, and Flo turned it into a restaurant and lounge.

George, a first-generation immigrant from Italy, introduced pizza to the area for the first time, as well as chicken cacciatore or “drunken chicken”, which later became a signature dish at Two Lakes.

He then moved to Stevens Point and opened a restaurant in the back of Paul’s Bar. After a few years running the restaurant, George decided to take his pizzas to the freezer. He noticed that even while freezing his pizzas, they maintained that oven-fresh flavor and Portesi Frozen Pizza was born.

George eventually purchased a building near downtown Stevens Point to produce the first Portesi Frozen Pizza.

From George to his son-in-law Joe Mitch to Joe’s son Rusty, Portesi has stayed in Central Wisconsin and in the family for over 65 years. They have kept the original recipes and methods close to heart, while leaving room for innovation and progress.

About Our Pizza

Oven Fresh Original Style is Available in 11″, 12″ and 14″ sizes

We began with our signature line making every pizza as if we were preparing it fresh for every customer, then partially baking it before freezing. Not only did this enable us to package our pizzas, it sealed in the Oven Fresh Flavor. The baking process blends the flavors like no high-volume production can. Our Oven Fresh Original Style are easily recognizable by the melted cheese and crispy crust all around the edge of the pizza.

Thin crust pizzas are available in both 9″ and 12″

Our thin crust pizzas have the same fresh, quality ingredients and toppings as all Portesi products. The difference between the Thin Crust and the Original Style is the toppings go on top of a fully baked thin crust and then frozen before being packaged and labeled. The fresh shredded mozzarella cheese covers the entire pizza, ensuring amazing flavor in every bite.

Cheese Fries available in 9″ Thin Crust and 12″ Hi-Rise and Thin Crust

Our Cheese Fries have a special garlic spread on either a thin or rising dough crust. Covered in heaps of mozzarella and spices, the Cheese Fry is the quick and easy cheesy snack everyone enjoys. The preferred way to serve your Cheese Fry is to cut them in half and then into strips. You can dip the pieces in the marinara dipping sauce included in the package adding flavor to the already delicious bites.

We have a program for schools that uses our cheese fries as a large flatbread for lunches! See our fundraising page for more details.

We also work with bars and restaurants to sell a special “bar” version of our cheese fries. Instead of a sauce pouch the cases include sauce cups for heating and serving. If you want to feature these products at your establishment – call 715-344-7974 or email

The MORE Line

The Portesi MORE line offers exactly what the name says. MORE. More toppings, more cheese, more sauce. These are fully loaded pizzas with some unique ingredients you won’t find in our normal pizzas. Chicken, bacon, Canadian bacon and more.