OK, you’ve had pizza, but chances are you haven’t sampled each of the unique regional U.S. pizza styles available across the country. Intrigued? Check out our list of some of the most famous (and surprising) pizza styles from coast to coast.
New York Style
Supposedly, New York-style pizza originated with Gennaro Lombardi, who opened America’s first pizzeria – Lombardi’s – in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood in 1905.
Following Lombardi’s lead, today’s New York-style pizzas are large and wide with a thin, hand-tossed dough – perfect for folding before eating. New York-style pizzas also feature a heavily-seasoned, cooked tomato sauce made of olive oil, canned tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt and herbs (usually oregano, basil and crushed red pepper). They typically come topped with low-moisture mozzarella cheese and a variety of other desired toppings.
Reportedly invented at the original Pizzeria Uno location in 1943, Chicago-style pizza is synonymous with deep-dish pizza that resembles a pie more than a flatbread. Baked in a pan, the pizza has a 2- to 3-inch, slightly fried crust filled with layers of cheese, meat and vegetable toppings, and tomato sauce – in that order. This layering technique keeps the cheese from burning due to the longer cooking time required for the deep-dish style pie.
St. Louis Style
St. Louis chain Imo’s Pizza first put St. Louis-style pizza on the map. This style can be polarizing, especially since it resembles nachos more than a pizza. Unlike a traditional pizza crust, St. Louis-style pizza crust is made with unleavened dough, giving it an ultra-thin, crisp, cracker-like texture. The crust is topped with Provel, a cheese blend that’s especially gooey when melted, along with meats and vegetables like sausage, bacon, bell peppers and onions. Like nachos, it’s ideal for sharing as the pizza is usually served in small, two-inch squares.
Where to find it: Stop by Imo’s Pizza or Bono’s Pizzeria Restaurant & Bar for a taste of St. Louis-style pizza.
Ohio Valley Style
If you like your pizza piping hot, Ohio Valley-style pizza may not be for you. Available at local pizzerias in towns along the Ohio River, this one-of-a-kind pizza consists of squares smothered in cold, grated mozzarella cheese. The squares themselves are served warm with a bit of unseasoned tomato sauce and a layer of melted cheese. But the addition of cold cheese on top ensures that each bite offers a unique contrast.
It turns out it truly is hip to be square, as evidenced by the increasingly popular Detroit-style pizza. Although it first appeared back in 1946, this crispy, cheesy-crusted deep dish pizza didn’t get much recognition outside of the Motor City until 2010. Around that time, Detroit-style pizza restaurants started opening up around the country in cities like Austin and San Francisco. Along with plenty of cheese, Detroit-style pizza features toppings placed directly on the crust with tomato sauce on top – like Chicago’s deep-dish pizza but nowhere near as bulky.
Looking for a light pizza that’s (relatively) healthy and possibly even considered a culinary masterpiece? California-style pizza might be for you. Created by renowned Bay Area chefs in 1980, California-style pizza features a thin crust with a variety of fresh, thoughtfully curated and outside-the-box toppings. A few popular options include artichoke hearts, avocado and goat cheese.
See more: 7 Foods That Came From California
New Haven Style
Locally known as “apizza,” New Haven-style pizza is a Neapolitan-influenced dish with a thin, crisp crust and chewy inside. Each New Haven-style pie bakes in a coal oven, giving the crust its distinctive char. The two most common varieties include the plain tomato pie and the white pie. While the plain pie features fresh tomato sauce, garlic and Parmesan, the white pie has an olive-oil base topped with oregano, garlic, mozzarella and Parmesan.
Old Forge Style
Calling itself the “Pizza Capital of the World,” it makes sense that the small town of Old Forge, Pennsylvania, has its very own pizza style. Reportedly created in 1926, locals refer to Old Forge pizza as a “tray” rather than a “pie” because it bakes in a rectangular metal pan. It has a relatively light crust with a crispy bottom and chewy center and comes in red and white varieties. The red tray has a sweet sauce topped with a blend of cheeses such as mozzarella, American and cheddar. The white tray has a layer of dough on the top and bottom, no sauce, and the customer’s choice of cheese and fillings.
View this post on Instagram
Go see the @thefoodwhisp original post to see my explanation of the differences between old forge pizza and pan fried Sicilian pizza! Photo credit @thefoodwhisp ・・・ I finally made it out to the world famous @victorypig and it did not disappoint! I’m still not sure what the difference is between #oldforgepizza vs. #sicilianfriedpizza, however this is hands down my favorite! Simple and delicious. Order the cheese with onion tray and an @sbcbeer orange ale 🍺 🍕🙌🏽 Open since 1942, located in Wyoming, PA. They ship too! #NEPA #PA #WyomingPA #victorypig #pizza #pizzacut #traypizza #rectanglepizza @mikelello @nepapizzareview #nepapizza #nepa #pizza #pizzagram #instapizza #pizzaporn #foodie #localeats #eatlocal #instaslice #instagood #pizzatime #pizzatoday #foodblog #pizza🍕 #foodblogger #foodbloggers #shopsmall #pizzeria #pizzaria
Have you tried any of these regional U.S. pizza styles? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!