D ell’s Pizza will surprise you.
One, the Casa Grande pizzeria has more televisions than Best Buy.
Second, Dell’s has been serving pizza and beer in Pinal County for 55 years.
Third, it’s located at 1654 N. Pinal Ave., conveniently next to a post office.
Fourth, it’s locally owned by a family with roots in Chicago. The patriarch was a White Sox fan, not Cubs, and also rooted for the old Chicago Cardinals football team that now plays in Glendale.
The major surprise, however, is the checkerboard-cut pizza. It’s a slice from heaven that’s been the deal since 1964 — you won’t get a customary eight-portion, triangle-sliced pie. What you will get are fresh ingredients and sausage produced from Dell’s kitchen.
“If you ask us to cut it in triangles, we will not do it. It’s how my grandparents were,” said Chad Sarnowski, a third-generation restaurateur now running Dell’s with his father, Tim, and aunt Sandy DeHann. “They started cutting it in squares from the beginning. They had a big family, so they cut them in squares so more people could get a piece of pizza.”
In Chicago, Dell Sarnowski would cook a pizza every night for her husband, Ed, and family. Once in Arizona, they decided to sell their pizzas, first in Arizona City for a year, then moving into the former Junior Chamber of Commerce building in Casa Grande on Pinal Avenue.
“They couldn’t find any pizza around and he missed it very much,” Chad said. “It’s still the same recipe. We grind our own sausage, season it ourselves, cut our own cheese. Everything is fresh.”
Sarnowski started to learn the family business while he was in junior high school and continued that while a student at the University of Arizona.
“I started doing dishes here 20 years ago on Friday and Saturday night. My aunt is the one who really runs the restaurant. My dad (a practicing accountant) does all the behind-the-scenes stuff. You start with the kitchen. That’s where all the magic happens. You know how everything’s done, done right. My grandparents had a system from Day One, made their own dough from hand every day, their own sauce. Keep the recipes going.
“Everything’s fresh, not brought in on a truck frozen and heated up in a microwave. Everything’s made to order so nothing’s prepared in advance, just waiting for someone to order it or heat it back up.”
One thing that is not surprising about Dell’s is its loyalty to the Wildcats, and with 33 televisions inside and on a patio, a UA fan will find a Wildcat-themed pub to watch a game.
“I’m a UofA alum. We support Arizona athletics,” Sarnowski said. “We’ve even had coaches here in the past. Dick Tomey was here. Lute Olson’s been here, some legends of Arizona. (Mike) Candrea (a former Casa Grande resident) was a customer of ours. He loved us.
“This is the place to be to watch your Wildcats. If ASU is on, we’ll turn them on somewhere in the back,” Sarnowski added with a sarcastic chuckle.
Dell’s has expanded and remodeled several times over the years, and Sarnowski has a vision for the next development for his family-operated business that offers 18 beers on tap.
“I’d love to start a Dell’s brewery, brew our own beer in house,” he said, looking toward the 2020s. “There’s not a brewery in Pinal County, so we could be the pioneers of the craft market. Everyone’s looking for that next good beer out there. Maybe we could make one for Dell’s.”