The Short History of Pizza in the United States

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

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There are few things more hotly debated than the history of pizza in the United States. This cheesy food item is a deeply embedded part of American culture that has taken on many styles and regional adaptations. As a society raised on pizza parties and delivery orders, it’s easy to forget that this beloved pie has foreign roots and is a relative newcomer to our popular culture. 

Pizza Comes to America

The origins of pizza as we know and love to have delivered are pinpointed to the arrival of Italian immigrants in the late 1800s. Wherever there was a a large Italian population, pizzerias began to appear. 

The first official pizzeria in America was in New York City. Gennaro Lombardi opened the doors of Lombardi’s in 1905 to considerable local success. Over the years, the presence of pizza surreptitiously crept across the east coast into the towns of New Jersey and Connecticut. Interestingly enough, many of the ambitious individuals opening up these pizzerias were former employees of Genero Lombardi’s flagship location. 

Post-War Popularity

Yet, as surely and steadily as new pizzerias opened up, it wasn’t until after WWII that pizza gained popular demand. Soldiers who had been stationed in Italy during the war had become acquainted with pizza and upon returning home, furiously searched for their new favorite meal. 

By this point, pizza had been introduced to the west coast. As a result, pizzerias on either coast found themselves skyrocketing in popularity and reaped the benefits brought by this influx of diverse patronage. 

American Style Pizza

The American Pizza we know and enjoy today is distinct from its traditional Italian form. For example, the dough in American pizza usually has vegetable oil or shortening mixed in. The lean crust of New York style dough is made with less oil than the plush and hearty dough of Chicago-style. 

Additionally, American pizza is usually made with high-gluten flour, similar to that used to make bagels. Flour that is high-gluten is elastic and able to be stretched thin without tearing. 

Today, pizza is a quintessential American food. Nearly every region of the United States has its own version of a pizza pie and all are deliciously cheesy variations on a beloved food. As the history of pizza is explored and showcased, its clear that America has proudly taken on the pizza pie as its favorite food. 

When You’re On Pizza Planet, You Gotta Have It!

If you’re craving fresh pizza, come to Pizza Planet in Amarillo, Texas. We have been serving some of the best pizzas in Amarillo since 1974. Give us a call at (806) 352-6666 or Contact Us by email. Check out our Menu, Deals, and Rewards and Order Online today.