Pizza Across The Country

As any culinary academy graduate will tell you, pizza is most definitely not the same everywhere you go. Depending on which region of the U.S. you’re in, you may find yourself wondering what you ordered when you open your pizza box. To the surprise of many, there are different types of pizza aside from “New York-style,” “Chicago-style,” and “like, your regular pizza.” What’s your favorite style?

Neapolitan pizza is the closest thing to the original Italian pizza. It’s typically prepared in a wood-fired oven and served with minimal toppings so the crust stays crispy. It’s pretty light and not very greasy, due to the fact that there is rarely meat on it. Neapolitan pizzas usually include toppings like tomato, oregano, olive oil, mozzarella and basil. It’s usually served in restaurants and pizzerias that specialize in Italian fare.

New York
New York-style pizza is a favorite for people on the go. If a pizzeria offers “pizza by the slice,” it’s usually a generously sized piece of New York pizza, like the stacked slices that John Travolta eats in the opening credits of “Saturday Night Fever.” It usually has minimal toppings, like plain cheese or pepperoni, so it can be folded and eaten on a paper plate.

Residents of the second city hardly think that the native pizza comes in second place. The pizza is a few inches thick, usually prepared upside down with the crust on top. It’s then flipped and served to eager customers. Toppings include cheese, vegetables and meat. Some Chicago pizzerias serve pizzas with thick, chewy crust, while others offer crispy cornmeal crusts. It’s almost impossible to eat Chicago-style pizza without a fork and knife.

In true rust belt fashion, Detroit-style pizza was originally baked in industrial parts trays rather than your typical pizza pans. Detroit-style pizza is thick, bready and square, with crispy, buttery crust. What sets Detroit-style pizza apart is the fact that sauce is usually applied to the top of the pizza, which throws a lot of tourists off. It’s most commonly topped with pepperoni, green pepper and onion.

Like many California-based dishes, California-style pizza has an eccentric, (sometimes) healthy twist. Usually served in the style of Neapolitan pizza, with a crispy crust, California-style pizza is topped with ingredients not typically served on pizza. This could include salmon, avocado, spinach, artichoke and the like. Since the state has better access to fresh produce than most of the country, which is cold half of the year, most California-style pizza features vegetables.

St. Louis
St. Louis-style pizza is not to be mistaken for any other kind of thin-crust pizza. The crust on a St. Louis-style pizza is almost like a cracker, made with unleavened dough. It usually isn’t topped with mozzarella cheese, but with a three-cheese blend made up of provolone, Swiss and white cheddar, known as Provel. This makes the cheese flavor stronger than on most pizzas. It’s round, but usually cut in square pieces rather than triangles.

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