History of Pizza in the United States

Pizza Slice

Even though Pizza did not originate from Untied States, it managed to find great popularity there and to become one of the most beloved meals of the 20th century. With various types and many changes to the original recipe that was originally created in Europe few centuries before, United States fascination with the pizza enabled quick popularization of this meal across all four corners of the world. But before that happened, pizza had to travel long road through our history.

Modern resurgence of Pizza happened in 19th century Italy where numerous Italian chefs resurrected famous bread recipe that was popular in those areas even from days of Roman Empire (popularity of simple Pizzas in that famous part of Italian history was well documented, with pizzerias being located all across Rome, Napoli, Pompeii and many other cities). With new recipes that were invented in the city of Naples during early 1800s, pizzas that for the first time used tomato topping became instant hit. This popularity elevated pizza from the meal that was eaten only by poor people to the treat that was eaten by absolutely everyone was solidified in 1889 when Naples pizza was eaten on the court of King of Italy Umberto I. By that point, European sailors carried the news of this incredible meal all across the old continent, and Italian pizzerias celebrated their 50th anniversary.

First pizza arrived to the United States in the early years of 20th century, with first pizzeria being established in the New York in 1905, city that had the very high concentration of Italian settlers that demanded presence of their national cuisine. However, appearance of first pizzerias in USA was not enough to bring pizzas on the tables of the general population. This happened around 40 years later, after US soldiers returned from World War II, bringing with them tales about great European dishes that enabled them to survive through harsh military campaigns. During that same time in late 40s and 50s, Hollywood started marketing pizzas, and influence of Jerry Colonna, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante, and baseball star Joe DiMaggio put pizza in the national spotlight.

Very quickly after that, American chefs started to modify pizza recipe to better suit taste of the local customers. US pizzas differentiated themselves from their Italian counterparts by using vegetable oil, large range of dough, high gluten flour, and various toppings that are popular mostly only in the US (barbecued chicken, bacon and more).

Most popular pizzas in United States are:

  • California-style pizza
  • Chicago-style pizza
  • Detroit-style pizza
  • Greek pizza
  • Hawaiian pizza
  • New Haven-style pizza
  • New York-style pizza
  • Quad City-style pizza
  • St. Louis-style pizza
  • Old Forge-style pizza

Most popular pizza cheeses in United States are:

  • Provolone
  • Cheddar
  • Low-moisture mozzarella
  • Parmesan
  • Romano
  • Ricotta