The old Zippys Pizza Express


I was asked recently via e-mail what the name was of the pizza joint at 1830 E. Eighth St. before it was Vintage Italian Pizza (as seen in the modern photo above).

Since I spent no time at all in that neighborhood in my youth, I looked it up.

V.I.P. has been there since at least 1989. For about a six-year stretch in the mid-1980s the building was home to Zippys Pizza Express.

The city directory lists four different managers of Zippys during that time:

    • Mike Ouellette (1983)
    • Pat David (1984)
    • Dave Willis (1985)
    • Gary Lund (1986 to ’88)

So there you have it. That’s all I know, except that two other businesses that occupied the building prior to Zippys were Kelly’s University Galleries (an art gallery) and Hiller’s Critters (a pet store).

Anyway, you may now commence referring to V.I.P. as “Zippys” for your personal amusement.



about 10 years ago

Back when I was growing up in that neighborhood, that building used to be Sal's Deli ... a great old-time Jewish deli with fixtures from the 1940s.


about 10 years ago

The city keeps a directory of pizza store managers?

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

The city directory will generally list the owner or manager of any type of business, whether it's a pizza place, a shoe repair shop or whatever. But yeah, it's more fun to imagine there's a golden hard-cover directory at City Hall behind glass that the mayor smashes when he gets a bad pizza and wants to know who to blame.


about 10 years ago

I thought it was Sid's Deli. I think there was a short-lived sandwich shop in there after that.


about 10 years ago

I lived up the street December 1996-February 2012. It was always VIP Pizza.


about 10 years ago

University barbers and Eighth street video were also in the building at one time.


about 10 years ago

My Full House and Monday Special/Pepperoni pizzas were served up zippy when I stopped in the other day.

I love V.I.P!

Paul, I nominate you as Mr. Duluth! Your knowledge is second-to-none and if you don't know it, you sure as hell know where to get the information.


about 10 years ago

I thought Frank Nichols was Mr. Duluth.


about 10 years ago

I remember Zippy's Pizza, I even remember the logo, it was a car, going zippy. Pizza was good as far as I can remember.


about 10 years ago

I really honestly read that as "Hitler's Critters."


about 10 years ago

Hitler's Critters - the place to buy all of your very stern pets.

James Vath

about 6 years ago

I grew up a block and a half from there and hung out there a lot. Me and a few other neighborhood kids sometimes  used to work for pizza and pop. 

Remember Mike Ouellette and Dave Willis very well. Zippy' was a small chain started down in the Cities and owned by Mike's two brothers.  Knew all the shops that were there between 74-86.

Just happened across this article as I was watching a tarantula eat a gecko on Animal Planet and remembered back in my elem. school days I used to hang out at Hiller's Critters. Mr. Hiller had a tarantula he used to feed little, pink baby mice. 

Mr. Hiller had been a relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and still holds the record for most wins by a relief pitcher in a single season, 17, in  1974.


about 2 years ago

This was Sid's Deli. Owned by Sid Fink who lived on the same corner.  It was a sad day when it closed. What year was that?

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