Pick 5 | Regional Pizza Favorites

Lou Malnati's, Chicago. Image courtesy goodiesfirst via Flickr.

Lou Malnati’s, Chicago. Image courtesy goodiesfirst via Flickr.

Most everyone knows about the New York-Chicago pizza rivalry that has waged for decades. But did you know that there are other regional pizza styles that are lesser known but equally delicious? We pick five that will get your mouth watering for doughy, cheesy goodness.

Chicago
Chicago’s iconic pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno during the Second World War. The crust is deep but thin and resembles a pie more than a traditional flat pizza. Deep dish is assembled upside down, with cheese at the bottom, toppings in the middle and sauce with whole chunks of tomato on top.

Try It: Some say Pizzeria Uno’s founder invented deep dish; others give credit to Uno employee Rudy Malnati, whose son Lou founded Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in 1971. Still family owned and operated, Lou Malnati’s has 36 locations and can be shipped nationwide.

Pepe's in New Haven. Image courtesy goodiesfirst via Flickr.

Pepe’s in New Haven. Image courtesy goodiesfirst via Flickr.

New Haven
New Haven, Connecticut is home to apizza, Neapolitan-style pizza with a bit of a twist. If you order a “plain” pizza, it comes with oregano and tomato sauce with a sprinkling of grated pecorino Romano cheese. There’s no cheese – unless you ask for it. The crust is unusually thin, charred on the outside and chewy on the inside, and is baked in a coal-fired oven.

Try it: Founded by Italian immigrants almost a century ago, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (Pepe’s for short), is a New Haven institution. Their clam pie has no mozzarella, but does feature plenty of garlic, olive oil, oregano and freshly shucked, briny littleneck clams. It’s so good it was named the #1 pizza in America by The Daily Meal.

Image courtesy Papa’s Tomato Pies via Facebook.

Image courtesy Papa’s Tomato Pies via Facebook.

Trenton
In New Jersey’s capital, a pizza is not a pizza – it’s a tomato pie. These pies have a thin crust and are topped with mozzarella placed before the sauce. For many Italian-American immigrants, the first American pizzas were known as tomato pies and the name is still prevalent today, especially in the Northeast.

Try it: Papa’s Tomato Pies has been family owned and operated since 1912 and claims to be the oldest pizza restaurant in the country.

Brooklyn's Lucali. Image courtesy Ramsay de Give via Zagat.

Brooklyn’s Lucali. Image courtesy Ramsay de Give via Zagat.

New York
Like so many other stories, New York’s pizza history began with an immigrant who taught himself to be a baker and opened a pizza restaurant in Little Italy in 1905. New York’s large, wide, thin, and foldable slices are the most quintessential pizza style.

Try it: Located in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens, Lucali has a neighborhood feel. As reviewed in TimeOut New York, “the artisanal intent at the candlelit pizzeria is visible in the flour-dashed marble counter where the dough is punched and stretched, and in the brick oven from which it later emerges crisp and blistered.” Lucali is BYOB and the line can be long, but the pizza is said to be well worth the wait.

Buddy's Restaurant Pizzeria in Detroit. Image courtesy Buddy's Facebook page.

Buddy’s Restaurant Pizzeria in Detroit. Image courtesy Buddy’s Facebook page.

Detroit
Detroit-style pizza’s square shape is similar to the Sicilian variety, with a thick deep-dish crisp crust and marinara served on top of the toppings. It is often twice-baked in a well-oiled square pan that gives the bottom and edges of the crust a crunchy, seemingly fried texture.

Try it: Originally opened as a bar of sorts in 1936, Buddy’s Restaurant Pizzeria started serving square-shaped pizza a decade later and claims to have been the first of its kind in Detroit. The Detroiter is made with all-natural Wisconsin Brick cheese, pepperoni, tomato, basil sauce, and topped with shaved Parmesan cheese and Buddy’s Sicilian spice blend.

What’s your favorite style of pizza? Which pizzeria serves it best?

2 thoughts on “Pick 5 | Regional Pizza Favorites

  1. Pizza Quixote (@PizzaQuixote)

    Trenton Tomato Pie is my personal favorite – but you can no longer get one in Trenton! However, there are plenty of good ones in the Trenton suburbs. Learn more about this style: http://mainlinepizzaquest.blogspot.com/2013/02/defining-tomato-pie.html

    Recently, I discovered, in Chicago and elsewhere in the midwest, a delectable pizza with a wafer-thin crust. You can read my reviews and see my pics here: http://mainlinepizzaquest.blogspot.com/2013/11/review-vito-nicks-pizzeria-chicago.html and here: http://mainlinepizzaquest.blogspot.com/2013/10/review-rubinos-pizza-columbus-bexley-oh.html

    Reply

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