Pizza came from Italy, but it made its way into America and we always shall thank the Italians for that! It started out as a food made by Italian immigrants when they were forced to come to America in the 1900s. After five years, a man named Gennaro Lombardi got his first license to make and sell Pizza in New York out of his grocery store.
More and more pizza restaurants started to open in New York as the years went on, and the marvel eventually moved to Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco who put their own spin on the classic pizza pie. However, it was still mostly a food for the Italians who were making it, as many upper-class Americans didn’t get the chance to try it.
That all changed when the Second World War broke out and the Americans battled in Italy, filling their stomachs with the local pizza cuisine. When they came back from overseas, they wanted more and began introducing pizza to their families. A soldier named Ira Nevin, who had previously been an oven repairman, combined pizza and ovens to create a new revolution in food.
With the gas ovens, now pizzas could be made quickly and cheaply, and more and more pizza restaurants sprouted all over the country as upper-class Americans began eating them. Immigrants from Greece and Italy found new respect in pizza shops as they began trying out new recipes and making ingredients from scratch.
However, the idea of buying by the slice was still foreign, so you would order and get a whole pizza and then have to share it with a group of people. Pizzerias were also taverns, meaning that all children had to be accompanied by an adult or they missed out! However, despite this small restriction, pizza was a cheap and simple meal that could be shared, and it really brought everyone together.
Sadly, this changed with the chain restaurants, such as Papa Johns, Dominos, and Mighty Mario Pizza. The chain restaurants exploded and stopped making their own ingredients, preferring to make only the pizza by hand. The independent Pizza makers slowly went out of business, and now significantly less remain that make good authentic pizza.
But they are still out there, and they are good. These are the restaurants that offer good pizza, toppings made with local ingredients, and often give new flavors and experiments a try. Because of them, we have deep dish, the California, pizza with toppings like chorizo, pineapple, peppers, and so much more that you will never find at a chain restaurant.
It’s made with love, and the purpose is still the exact same… to bring people together and share a good meal with good friends and great conversation. So no matter if you go to a chain pizza parlor or one of the family-owned places, bring a friend along with your appetite, and then you’ll know what pizza is all about.