Cosmo's was founded by partners Stanley Shafferman and Billy Caldwell. Shafferman developed the "gourmet pizza" recipes, inspired by Wolfgang Puck's success with his Los Angeles restaurant "Spago". He introduced Birmingham to New York style thin-crust pizza, and to exotic toppings ranging from hearts of palm, pine nuts and roasted eggplant to alligator sausage and his own yellow pepper sauce.
All of the dough, sauces and desserts were made in house. The "House Special" was topped with pesto, prosciutto, sweet peppers, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and Italian sausage.
Caldwell worked on the build-out, consulting with artist Amasa Smith on the restaurant's retro design, which featured red and blue neon lights and bright pink formica wall panels. The dining room hosted frequent live music performances.
Shafferman left the partnership shortly afterward and Caldwell continued to operate it until he sold it to long-time employees Bill Deason and Leisa Bunn in 2000. They continued to expand the restaurant's offerings with house-made chocolate mousse and a popular brunch menu.
Changing tastes and competition from a flurry of new pizzerias in emerging entertainment districts cut into Cosmo's business. Deason and Bunn closed the restaurant at the end of February 2016 after months of declining sales.
- Sepsas, Niki (January 2007) "Where Everybody Knows Your Name." Birmingham Magazine. Vol. 47, No. 1, p. 86-7.
- Owens, Cody (October 1, 2015) "The Wild Ride of Leisa Bunn." Weld for Birmingham
- Owens, Cody (February 12, 2016) "Cosmo’s Pizza to close at the end of the month." Weld for Birmingham
- Carlton, Bob (February 26, 2016) "Farewell to Cosmo's Pizza: A Birmingham institution turns out the lights after 30 years" The Birmingham News
- Cosmo's Pizza website