The Great American Pizza Evolution
When pizza hit our shores, it was love at first bite. This delicious Italian beauty spread like wildfire from coast to coast. It’s no surprise, because how many people do you know who don’t love these savory pies?
Once chefs and restaurateurs grew accustomed to the classic Italian pie, American ingenuity and our indomitable sense of adventure came into play. Operators started monkeying around with the flavors, shapes, crusts and ingredients until a full-fledged pizza evolution took place.
PIES ARE SQUARED
Chicago, perhaps in an effort to differentiate itself from New York pies, began the deep-dish craze at Pizzeria Uno in 1943. The square-shaped pizza supposedly was first introduced in Detroit in the late 40s as a Sicilian-style pie, and larger rectangular pizzas soon appeared on the menu horizon. Heart-shaped pizzas soon appeared everywhere for Valentine’s Day. And recently, cone-shaped pies were introduced -- in which the crust is formed into a conical shape with pizza ingredients dropped inside and the whole deal is eaten by hand like an ice cream cone.
GOURMET PIZZA AND REGIONAL PREFERENCES
In 1985, a radical upstart called California Pizza Kitchen opened a little shop in Beverly Hills serving gourmet pizzas that soon put California on the U.S. pizza map, and all hell broke loose with a pizza ingredient free-for-all.
Regional preferences have come into play and today, one can find the most unusual and bizarre pizzas imaginable across the land. Here are some tantalizing on-trend examples:
CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN – The Club Pizza features Nueske’s® applewood-smoked bacon, roasted chicken, avocado slices, arugula, basil and romaine tossed with lemon-pepper mayonnaise
BERRI’S KITCHEN – Signature Lobster Pizza, lobster-infused pink sauce, shrimp and Mozzarella
FIGS BY TODD ENGLISH – Fig and Prosciutto, crisp rosemary crust, fig and balsamic jam, Gorgonzola cheese and prosciutt
MONDO – Iconic chef Susan Spicer pairs Bosc pears, prosciutto, Teleme cheese (semi-soft, similar to Brie), goat cheese and arugula
PIZZA MARIA – Wood-fired crust is topped with Brussels sprouts, guanciale (hog jowls), Provolone, and anchovy vinaigrette
LUCALI – Transplanted Brooklyn fave serves up a sweetie pie —Nutella® dessert pizza
UNCLE MADDIO’S PIZZA JOINT – Steak & Blue Pizza, with grilled Angus steak, Blue cheese crumbles, Mozzarella, olive oil, Roma tomatoes, garlic, spinach, fresh basil and a balsamic glaze.
RASCAL HOUSE – Pizza ala Greco, white pizza with a blend of Feta and Parmesan, topped with Kalamata olives, brushed with a blend of garlic and olive oils
HOPS & PIE – Artisan Pie of the Month stars braised pork shoulder, bourbon-laced cranberries, garlicky spinach, parsnip puree and Brie cheese
DANNY MEYER’S MARTA – Funghi, a white pie on a cracker-thin crust, with Fontina cheese, roasted chanterelle and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, red onion, thyme and lemon
TOM DOUGLAS’S SERIOUS PIE – Soft eggs, smoked prosciutto, Pecorino Sardo and arugula
ZIA GOURMET PIZZA – The Eggplant, featuring oven roasted eggplant, scallions, tomatoes, herbs, garlic, cranberries, and Mozzarella, drizzled with yogurt sauce
HONU – House-made ahi tuna sausage, San Marzano tomato sauce, Nicoise olives, Mozzarella cheese and fennel pollen