HISTORY OF BRONKO'S RESTAURANTS
Election Day. Tuesday, November 1964. Lyndon B. Johnson is elected President of the United States. At 4 PM Bronko Tarailo opens the doors of his first restaurant, a “Chicken Delite” franchise. A menu of fried chicken, seafood, BBQ ribs, and beef sandwiches are offered for take-out or free delivery.
In 1966, Chicken Delite Franchisee, headquartered in New York tells its franchise operators, pizza will soon be added to all outlets. Equipment requirements and recipe instructions are issued. Unfortunately, franchise pizza resembled “Ketchup on a Cracker”. The program flopped.
Then enters, Constantin (Gus) Apostilapoulis. He is a well known Gary, Indiana pizza baker, aka Dipsy. He makes a deal with Bronko. The recipes of Dipsy and Bronko are melded together. During the Gary, IN high school football season of 1966, the Bronko’s Pizza is born. As marketing, Bronko and Dipsy begin giving each of the local varsity football players a free pizza when their Lew Wallace High School team, the Hornets, win a game. It was a big hit, and the start of a loyal customer base that still exists today! 59 years and counting…