An originally Italian invention, the pizza has become one of the most important staples* of American cuisine. This dish’s history is widely debated, with some arguing that pizza hails from Italy and others arguing that pizza originally comes from the Ancient Greeks, who made a flatbread topped with herbs, onion, garlic, and cheese called plakous. American pizza, however started with Italian-American immigrants who brought this delicious and cheese-topped creation with them across the Atlantic to America after World War II. Today, Americans all over the country consider the pizza one of their favorite foods and enjoy it on different occasions*, from ordering a large pie to share for a football game to dining out in restaurants that prepare varieties of artisanal pizzas.
To see what makes this American dish so special, here is a list of five best slices in the country from the East coast to the West coast.
New York slice
Let’s start with the classic. The New York slice is simple but delicious, with a thin and wide crust with tomato and mozzarella toppings. You can easily find this kind of pizza on almost any block of New York City for only 99 cents, but if you’re looking for specific restaurants to try, make sure to stop by Lombardi’s, Grimaldi’s, or Roberta’s to enjoy this special pizza.
Pro tip*: New Yorkers eat their pizza standing and typically fold their slice in half before eating it.
Chicago Deep Dish pizza
Many debate whether or not this type of pizza counts as pizza or not. I would say yes, because even though it looks different from the standard pizza, it is made of similar ingredients. The deep dish pizza looks like a pie because it has a crust with high edges to fill in large amounts of tomato sauce and cheese. This pizza is an outlier* on this list, but is very delicious and worth trying at least once.
Most pizza pies are large and meant to be shared, but the pizza margarita is a pie for one. This small, thin-crust pizza pie tops itself with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and a sprig of basil, the colors of the Italian flag. This kind of pizza is found across the country, but is probably best made in Los Angeles at pizzerias like Pizzeria Mozza.
White clam pie
Seafood is not the most popular choice of toppings on a pizza slice, but the white clam pizza from Frank Pepe, considered to be one of the best pizzerias in America, is an exception. This pizzeria in New Haven, Connecticut prepares this pizza with Pecorino Romano cheese, oregano, olive oil, and of course, clams. The original flavor this pizza brings is the reason it has been voted the #1 pizza in America.
This rectangular slice features a crust extra thick and crispy crust on the bottom, with cheese that caramelizes on the edges. Brushed with tomato sauce and cheese, this kind of pizza often comes with small pepperoni cups on top.
These different pizza styles are unique and explain why Americans love this treat so much. Try making these slices at home, or add them onto your bucket list for future travels!
staple - a main part of
occasion - situation
artisanal - made in a traditional or non-mechanic way
pro tip - offering advice
outlier - a thing different from others
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yuri Nesen is a student at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. studying Global Business, Diplomatic Studies, and Arabic. He enjoys watching animated movies, running and exploring new places, and he is a complete dessert fanatic.