Everyone loves pizza. Whether you prefer New York-style or Chicago-style, thin crust or deep dish, gluten-free or wood-fired, there’s a pizza out there for you. But where did this heroic dish originate? Let’s investigate...
Who Invented Pizza?
The question is actually the source of some debate, as pizza’s roots can be traced back to the flatbread dishes of ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. However, these baked flatbreads were more in the style of focaccia and didn’t include any tomato sauce. Pizza, as we know it today, didn't exist until the tomato was brought to Italy in the early 18th century. The first Italian pizzeria opened in Naples in 1738 and catered to primarily the lower class.
Immigrants from Naples introduced pizza to the United States at the turn of the century. In 1905 in the Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan, New York-style pizza began with the opening of America's first pizzeria, Lombardi's, by Gennaro Lombardi. Lombardi's served large, wide pies and, for only a nickel, you could get a single slice. Lombardi’s is still open today and claims that it still uses the same coal oven.
In Chicago, Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo decided to put a spin on classic pizza by inverting the layers and baking it in a 2-3-inch-deep pan. The pair started selling their deep-dish pizza at Pizzeria Uno in 1943.