Menuism Dining Blog
Dining education for foodies

Along with hot dogs and hamburgers, pizza is quintessential American food, even if it came by the way of Greece and than Italy, but did you know that the variety of pizzas go beyond just thin crust and thick crust or New York and Chicago? While we’ll also mention New York and Chicago pizza below, there’s definitely others that you might now mind sinking your teeth into.

California-Style Pizza is a style of single-serving pizza that combines New York and Italian thin crust with toppings from the California Cuisine cooking style, which uses non-traditional ingredients, including a considerable amount of fresh produce. Wolfgang Puck popularized this style of pizza. Restaurant chains such as California Pizza Kitchen, Extreme Pizza, and Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza are three major pizza franchises associated with California-style pizza, but it is served in a number of California Cuisine restaurants.  Options to check out:  Spago and Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza

Chicago-Style Pizza contains a crust which is formed up the sides of a deep dish pan. It reverses the order of ingredients, using crust, cheese, filling, then sauce on top. Some versions (usually referred to as “stuffed”) have two layers of crust with the sauce on top. Deep dish pizza was purportedly invented and first served in 1943 at Pizzeria Uno, which is still operating along with its twin restaurant, Pizzeria Due, in the River North neighborhood. Options to check out:  Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due

Detroit-Style Pizza is a square pizza, with a thick deep-dish crust with toppings placed under the sauce and is known within Detroit as Square Pizza. The crust of a Detroit-style pizza is especially noteworthy in that, in addition to occasionally being twice-baked, it is baked to a chewy medium-well-done state, and many parlors will apply melted butter with a soft brush prior to baking. Some chains, such as Hungry Howie’s (founded in Taylor, Michigan), are also known for their flavored crusts. Popular crust flavors include sesame, butter, garlic and onion. Options to checkout:  Buddy’s Pizza and Shield’s Bar & Pizzeria

Neapolitan Pizza can only be referred to as Neapolitan Pizza as long as it follows the rules proposed by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana.  According to the rules proposed by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of Italian wheat flour (type 0 or 00, or a mixture of both), natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer’s yeast, salt and water. For proper results, strong flour with high protein content (as used for bread-making rather than cakes) must be used. The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer. After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or other machine, and may be no more than 3 mm (? in) thick. The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire.  When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant. There are three official variants: pizza marinara, which is made with tomato, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil (although most Neapolitan pizzerias also add basil to the marinara), pizza Margherita, made with tomato, sliced mozzarella, basil and extra-virgin olive oil, and pizza Margherita extra made with tomato, mozzarella from Campania in fillets, basil and extra virgin olive oil. Options to check out:  Antica Pizzeria and Brick’s Neapolitan Pizza

New England Greek Style is a variation popular in New England. It has a thicker, chewier crust and is baked in a pan in the pizza oven, instead of directly on the bricks. Plain olive oil is the predominant sauce. Options to check out:  Elmer’s Great Oak’s Pizza and Johnny’s Pizza

New Haven-Style Pizza, locally known as apizza, is a style of Neapolitan pizza common in and around New Haven, Connecticut. In a New Haven-style pizzeria a “plain” pizza is crust, oregano, and tomato sauce with a little bit of grated pecorino romano cheese sprinkled on. Mozzarella (called “mootz” in the New Haven-Italian dialect) is considered to be a topping; a customer who wants it must ask for it.  Options to check out:  Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana and Sally’s Apizza

New York-Style Pizza is a style originally developed in New York City, where pizza is often sold in over sized, thin and flexible slices. It is traditionally hand-tossed and light on sauce. The slices are sometimes eaten folded in half, as its size and flexibility may otherwise make it unwieldy to eat by hand. This style of pizza tends to dominate the Northeastern states and is very similar to the basic style common through the United States and known simply as pizza. Options to check out:  Lombardi’s and Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

Sicilian-Style Pizza is also known as Sfincione (or Sfinciuni in Sicilian language) and is a variety of pizza that originated in Palermo, Sicily. Unlike the more familiar Neapolitan pizza, the cheese is placed beneath the sauce. An authentic recipe often calls for pecorino cheese and bits of anchovies. Options to check out:  Pavone’s Pizza and Sicilian Delight Restaurant and Pizzeria

St. Louis-Style Pizza is a distinct style of pizza popular in Saint Louis, Missouri and its surrounding areas. It is also sometimes duplicated in other areas of the Midwest. The most notable characteristic of St. Louis-style pizza is the distinctively St. Louisan provel cheese used instead of (or rarely in addition to) the mozzarella common to other styles of pizza. The pizza has a thin, round crust, as opposed to Chicago’s deep-dish style or New York’s pan-style. The crust of a St. Louis pizza is somewhat crisp and cannot be folded easily, and is typically cut into three- or four-inch squares instead of the pie-like wedges typical of other pizza. It is often salty and seasoned with more oregano than other pizza types. Despite its thin crust, it can be layered deeply with many different toppings. Sauces tend to have a sweetness to them, some more noticeably than others. Options to check out:  Imo’s Pizza and Cecil Whittaker’s Pizzeria.

Trenton Tomato Pie is  derived heavily from Sicilian pizza, and as such can be found in predominantly Sicilian-American communities like in Trenton, NJ.  In Trenton’s version of tomato pie, the cheese (mozzarella) is placed on the pie first followed by the sauce. Options to check out:  Papa’s Pizzeria and De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies

Posted by on June 8th, 2010

Filed In: Italian Food, Pizza

Dave Jensen

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