Pizza: American and Italian

Pizza: American and Italian

Daniel Oh and Lukas Fitzgerald

 Pizza is one of the most popular foods of all time. There are several different versions of the classic dish. American pizza has several different variations as well. Two popular forms of American pizza are from New York and Chicago. New York pizza is known for its thin crust and wide slices. Chicago is best known for its deep-dish pizza, a pizza that is more like a pie. They are typically made in deep plates, with the cheese directly on the crust and the sauce on top. 


What about Italian pizza versus American pizza? What’s the difference? When one thinks of pizza, they are most likely thinking of something similar to New York-style pizza, but we will be using a typical American pizza, with a thick crust and chewy texture, for this comparison. 


Let’s start off with American pizza. The first-ever pizzeria in the U.S. was Lombardi’s, which was a grocery store opened by a man named Gennaro Lombardi, who started selling pizzas in 1905. You might think this isn’t that early for the first pizzeria, but pizza only sky-rocketed in the 1940s when WWII soldiers came back from being stationed in Italy and spread it to what it has become in American culture today.


According to Pizza Today (the leading magazine for pizza experts), pepperoni is the most popular pizza topping in the U.S. We consume over 250 million pounds of it each year, which is over 565 billion calories! Also, pizzerias make up about 17% of all restaurants in America. That is what you could expect to come out of a 38 billion dollar industry. 


When you think of American pizza, two kinds immediately come to mind: cheese and pepperoni. Meanwhile, when you think of Italian pizza, Margherita or Neapolitan style pizza comes to mind. No wonder why we are stereotyped as “plain fast food eaters” by Europeans. According to the USDA, 93% of Americans have at least one slice of pizza per month. In total, that’s 370,824,712 slices per year.


How about Italian pizza? The Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba is widely considered to be the first pizzeria ever. It was first established in 1738 as a stand for peddlers, or people who go from place to place selling items. Believe it or not, it’s still open today in Naples, Italy. Standard Italian pizza has a thin crust with tomato sauce and an exceptionally cheesy top, similar to New York pizza.  


You are also likely to find a lower variety of toppings on Italian pizza. The crust of Italian pizza will always be thin, similar to that of New York pizza. All American pizza has a higher variety of crust thicknesses. American pizza usually has a thicker crust and feels chewier. Italian pizza has a thinner crust that’s more cracker-like. Not to say Italian pizza is fully brittle, but it’s less chewy than American pizza.

Although pizza is widely regarded as an Italian dish, it’s more popular in America. Unfortunately, many Americans haven’t tasted true, authentic, Italian pizza. Italians still prefer their style of pizza. Pizza just has a larger following in America. Pizza, whether New York or Deep-Dish, American or Italian, remains one of the world’s most popular foods.