they lost all credibility with me when I saw they sell breakfast pizza. 3 menu items that signify a bad pizzaria: #1: Breakfast Pizza, #2: Mexican Pizza;, #3: Hawaiian Pizza.
I have to agree with Big Ugly Mich. Palermo's once got one of their frozen pizzas into a NY metro area supermarket, and I thought highly of their product. But, it must have been a market test, since the supermarket didn't continue selling the product. They finally started selling another line of Palermo pizzas a year later. So, I called Palermo's and somehow got connected to President and CEO Jack Fallucca. While he is a frozen foods manufacturer, he talked like the operator of a classic Roadfood place. He took my comments, and said he would pass them on to his marketing people.
I agree with Scorereader that they put out some frou-frou products. But they also put out a number of great frozen pepperoni pizzas, under both their own name and under a zillion different house brand names. Some of my observations about this Milwaukee-based company: While they talk about their "family recipes" and Jack has his native Sicilian parents on one of the videos on the web site, most of the people the company names as being in charge of product development have German surnames. This is Milwaukee, after all.
A few years ago, they built a new plant in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ran one of those advertising features. In it, Palermo's listed the companies they bought their ingredients from. Not the same list as the industrial frozen pizza manufacturers buy from. Palermo's also built a cafe and company store on the grounds of their frozen foods manufacturing plant: http://www.palermospizza.com/pdf/Store%20Menu.pdf
I haven't been to Milwaukee in years, but I think the idea of opening their own pizza cafe on site was pretty neat, and I want to see it.
Palermo's makes various grades of frozen pizzas (at various price points) for the private label market. Brands I know about are Price Chopper, Archer Farms (Target), Big Y, Richfood. Look for a USDA plant number of 1487 on pizzas containing meat. But I think the ones they sell under their own brands are the best. I think of their products as an entirely new type of food, "good frozen pizza", and not as a head-to-head replacement for NY slice joint pizza.
<message edited by David_NYC on Wed, 08/19/09 6:31 AM>