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A layman's guide to regional pizza styles
January 26, 2009 8:43 AM   Subscribe

A guide to regional pizza styles of the USA. Odds are you already know about New York-style and Chicago-style, but what about Old Forge pizza, St. Louis-style or the Indian pizza of San Francisco?

But Americans aren't the only ones who can make regional variations of what was originally an Italian dish. A Thai pizzeria has just created a new bacon-and-cheese stuffed pizza, Kuwaitis like their pizza topped with shawarma and Indian pizza fans have a few ideas of their own.
posted by huskerdont (173 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
New York Neapolitan - mmm

A round pizza cut into squares - weird
posted by caddis at 8:49 AM on January 26, 2009


St. Louis style pizza is amazing, but then again, I'm from STL. Funny thing is that any time I try to explain it to someone not from there, they always think it sounds kinda gross.

(shrug)
posted by Afroblanco at 8:49 AM on January 26, 2009


I've posted this one before, but it's really a splendid example. Don't miss the Főnökasszony kedvence.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:49 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Zante's Indian Pizza is great as long as you hold the cheese.
posted by benzenedream at 8:49 AM on January 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


St Louis is also home to a Thai Pizza restaurant. Like Indian pizza, it's better than it might sound at first (but if you go, definitely get the thin, St. Louis-style crust).
posted by jedicus at 8:53 AM on January 26, 2009


They're missing Boston, which I associate with thin crust wood-oven baked.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:57 AM on January 26, 2009


I wrote much of the original wiki article on St. Louis style pizza!
posted by Science! at 8:57 AM on January 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


That "Thai" pizza sounds like the most American thing ever.
posted by kookaburra at 8:57 AM on January 26, 2009


St. Louis style pizza is amazing, but then again, I'm from STL. Funny thing is that any time I try to explain it to someone not from there, they always think it sounds kinda gross.

Provel is a difficult cheese for people who aren't used to it. I love St. Louis-style pizza, but to me it's not in the same category of hunger as a regular pizza. In other words, if I say "I want pizza" I'm automatically excluding St. Louis-style pizza in my head. If I want that, I say "I want Imo's."
posted by Bookhouse at 8:58 AM on January 26, 2009


I had Indian pizza when I was in San Francisco recently. That stuff is so delicious, but I had no idea it was a specifically San Francisco-thing. Nice post.
posted by lunit at 8:58 AM on January 26, 2009


I really can't stand the New England-Greek style of pizza that is so common here in Massachusetts -- usually at the $TOWN House of Pizza. The almost fried crust (sounds kind of like the Old Forge style which I had never heard of before) and the liquefied cheese are just awful. Cape Cod (where we live) actually has pretty good pizza. It's not a certain style, but there are just a lot of good pizza places. My favorite is the Sweet Tomatoes chain -- super-thin crust, very good sauce, very fresh toppings, and not too much cheese.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:02 AM on January 26, 2009


I proposed with a homemade pizza; pepperoni is the most romantic sausage.

In my mind, of course, New York-style pizza is the only true pizza. Deep dish can be delicious, and I can sometimes crave it, but it doesn't slot into the "pizza" bucket in my brain. I want a crispy-chewy-flavorful crust that I can fold over. The crust is the main attraction, the toppings are just seasoning.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:05 AM on January 26, 2009


We head out of Scranton, Pennsylvania, toward Old Forge, population approximately 10,000. In about 10 minutes we're driving down Main Street. I start counting the pizza cafés, as they call them here: Rinaldi's, Brutico's, Arcaro & Genell's, Anthony's, Ghigiarelli's -- 11 on this street alone. Within just a few blocks, there are at least nine more. Even the florist on Main Street is called "Pizzazz."

WRITING FAIL.
posted by piratebowling at 9:06 AM on January 26, 2009


In Scotland, we deep-fry them.

No, I'm not joking.

And yes, I have eaten a few. It is simultaneously deeply troubling and absolutely wonderful.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:07 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Who knew there were dueling DeLorenzo's in Trenton? Scandalous.
posted by VicNebulous at 9:08 AM on January 26, 2009


Pizza is a gift from the Gods. Any kind of pizza, anywhere, anytime.
posted by Scamper1414 at 9:08 AM on January 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


The article doesn't, but the comments do mention Western New York style. I grew up on NYC thin crust style, which was okay but when I came up to Rochester to go to school I tasted the local pizza and I've never, ever looked back.
posted by tommasz at 9:10 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


PS, where can I get really good Neapolitan-type Pizza in Philly?

I like crispy/chewy thin crust, a light (not to thick or overpowering) tomato sauce and decent mozzarella. Places like John's, Patsy's and Grimaldi's in New York as well as the slightly different, but also amazing, Pepe's in New Haven, all hover around my Platonic Ideal of pizza. If I got much closer than that, I would probably die of happiness, and I'd like to put that off for the time being.
posted by piratebowling at 9:10 AM on January 26, 2009


A round pizza cut into squares - weird

The place we always get our pizza from does this, even though the other locations around the area cut theirs into triangles.

It is a bit odd, but the pieces are easier for kids to handle.
posted by Lucinda at 9:12 AM on January 26, 2009


Has anyone ever met someone who doesn't like pizza?
posted by davebush at 9:13 AM on January 26, 2009


I grew up two blocks from an Imo's (St. Louis style), so I have a special place in my heart for it. Even today, I can knock off an extra-large by myself (and regret it). They're cut into a grid instead of wedges; there is nothing finer than the corners from an Imo's pizza.

That said, we live within a short walk of seven pizza joints, from Imos to deep-dish, and from "gourmet" to truly gourmet (he says as he wipes sauce from a couple cold slices off his lips). I remind myself of this any time I get bogged down by the idiosyncrasies of the neighborhood.
posted by notsnot at 9:15 AM on January 26, 2009


Note to pizza places: Stop cutting my thin-crust pizzas into squares!
posted by crapmatic at 9:16 AM on January 26, 2009


Someone I went to college with had a theory that when it came to pizza in the United States that the closer you were to Italy, the better the pizza -- so by his scale, New York pizza was better than Chicago's, which was itself better than California's.

This made New Haven pizza best of all by his scale, which I think may be part of why it appealed to me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:16 AM on January 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


One thing I've learned: never get pizza west of Pennslyvannia. Well, I'm sure there's a couple places out there, but they are hard to find.
posted by Edgewise at 9:19 AM on January 26, 2009


If I walk into an unfamiliar pizza joint, and I see a faded-blue picture of the Parthenon on the wall, I am known to knock down small children getting the hell out. I love me some gyros but I will never forgive the Greeks for what they have wreaked upon pizza in America.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:19 AM on January 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Huh, I didn't realize that Indian pizza is a San Francisco thing. I've never heard of such a thing until a place like that opened up right here in li'l ol' Cary, NC.

During my years in Chicago, I could never learn to enjoy Chicago style pizza. If, somehow, the dough was cooked all the way through, all you could taste was the...I don't want to say "crust" because it's much too thick to be crusty, so I'll go with "bread." Bread was all that you could taste. Not even good bread. blech!
posted by NoMich at 9:20 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


St. Louis style pizza might be the thing I miss most about St. Louis, not counting my family. Provel FTW. (My New York-born wife regards it as an abomination.)
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:20 AM on January 26, 2009


I had Indian pizza when I was in San Francisco recently. That stuff is so delicious, but I had no idea it was a specifically San Francisco-thing.

It's not. Every major city in Canada (well, every major city with a large Indian population, which means Vancouver-Edmonton-Calgary-Winnipeg-Toronto, maybe Ottawa and Montreal, definitely not Quebec City) have Indian pizza places. Many of these are moreover halal, so no pepperoni. Crust isn't naan though, not AKFAIK.

It's interesting that what they (and other Americans) call "New England Greek" is the pizza lingua franca on the Canadian prairies- not so much in Winnipeg which apes the thin of-my-youth Chicago style (try a pie from Gondola's, a large cut in squares with CRUMBLED Ital sausage and 'shrooms and you'll swear you're eating Aurelio's. Thank God there is one of these in Calgary, where I live), but in SK and AB, pizza is almost always this Greek style. It could easily be called Western Canadian style.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:23 AM on January 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


I really can't stand the New England-Greek style of pizza that is so common here in Massachusetts -- usually at the $TOWN House of Pizza.

Growing up, I thought "House of Pizza" must have been a chain, since every single restaurant with that name was ALWAYS THE SAME. Same plastic letter menu board, same plastic swivel chairs mounted to the table, same red and white checkerboard tablecloth (or vinyl table covering) and either a Centipede or Ms. Pac-Man in the corner. And the same pizza, though we called it "Papa Gino's Style."

Still, that style is nostalgia food to me since I grew up with it. I've come to enjoy a lot of pizza styles, and sure I think there are far better tasting pizzas out there, but this style wins in the pure nostalgia competition. Thin crust greasy pizza with pepperoni, slightly flat fountain Coke served in a bright red wax paper cup, and the sounds of Ms. Pac-Man in the corner. That's a Friday night right there around 1985.

(Papa Gino's also had the appeal of giving you your own individual jukebox at each table, so throw in some Journey or Huey Lewis for extra nostalgia points.)
posted by Spatch at 9:23 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


AFIAK not AK etc
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:23 AM on January 26, 2009


For awhile in high school Peoria, IL, had an Imo's. I've never enjoyed pizza so much!

Now there's isn't one anywhere close to me :(
posted by sbutler at 9:25 AM on January 26, 2009


omg, Indian pizza. WANT.

Wonderful post. I like the pictures too.

As a New Yorker, used to the thin, dripping with orange grease that needs to be patted with cheap napkins and very satisfying, floppy foldover slice, I always wondered about the other regional styles.

NYC gourmet pizza: 2 recommendations: Jim Lahey is an astonishingly finessed baker, classic, elegant, old world Italian, nobody remotely as good as him in NYC. His Sullivan Street Bakery in Hell's Kitchen, has an extraordinary mushroom pizza. The slice is square, very thin, crackly crust, very thinly sliced mushrooms, actual mushrooms. All their pizzas are extra tasty.

Then, The Amish on Ninth Ave between 49th and 50th, makes a very good old-fashioned brick oven style. delish. And according to that blog, even better on East 45th St.

Best old style greasy pizza, the way they've made it since I remember in the 1960's, the customers-stand-outdoors place on the corner of 40th and Ninth Avenue, next to the Stiles Farmer's Market. Great old style visuals as one eats it on the street with the locals. And the pizza is only 99cents a slice.
posted by nickyskye at 9:25 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've had various types of pizza, but being from Brooklyn, I'm biased toward our local slices. I do have a soft spot for Chicago deep dish though.

I also make homemade pizza once or twice a month. That allows for creations like spinach-artichoke that the local place doesn't serve.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:26 AM on January 26, 2009


This made New Haven pizza best of all by his scale

New Haven pizza is the best of all. (And Pepe's is the absolute best.)
posted by languagehat at 9:27 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Papa Gino's Style

Actually, Papa Gino's was the closest thing to NY pizza that I found while living in Boston. Pizzeria Regina's crust was too floppy, and there was too much sauce. Papa Gino's was a little thicker and crispier and, while it was actually not as good as Regina, tasted more like home to me.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:28 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh and please NEVER eat pizza with a fork and a knife. To this day, I am baffled by this. It's funny to me. I've only seen it outside of NYC.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:29 AM on January 26, 2009


Never get pizza west of PA? That must be a joke. I'm in Portland, OR and we have some killer pizza joints, ones that are consistently written up by food critics. That isn't to say we have a regional style--I can't really say that we do, and if so, it must be closer to the CA style, as in froo-froo toppings and such.

"I had Indian pizza when I was in San Francisco recently. That stuff is so delicious, but I had no idea it was a specifically San Francisco-thing. Nice post.
posted by lunit at 5:58 PM on January 26 [+] [!] "

It's not, at all. I can't speak for the rest of the US, but when I was in Stockholm in 2001 we stopped at a Pizza/Kebab joint (the amount of Pizza/Kebab places is ridiculous over there) and I got an Indian pizza with curry spices and bananas amongst other veg I don't recall. It was DELICIOUS. Now if only I could find such a pizza again...

Eggs are also not a CA-specific pizza topping. While in France I had the misfortune of ordering an otherwise delicious pizza that was topped with an uncooked egg, and maybe 1/3 of the pizzas on the menu included this ingredient. This included places in Paris, but also Poitiers, so it's fairly widespread.

And I know it's not US-regional, but Flammkuchen needs some love...so, so delicious, but terrible.
posted by nonmerci at 9:29 AM on January 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


I didn't see the LA barbecued chicken pizza. That's such a big claim to fame that it used to be in the LA Visitor & Convention Bureau brochure.

I think the pizza recipe I most wish would be discovered and catch on is from San Diego, though. In college I was addicted to Woodstock's, which was not only the first only place I've ever known to offer a whole wheat crust (in 1985!) but their biggest secret is rolling the pizza crust in a way that keeps a tunnel of sauce inside of the crust. Freaking incredible.

Okay, I totally forgot about Woodstock's pizza until just now. Suddenly I'm hungry and really need to make a road trip.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:31 AM on January 26, 2009


St. Louis pizza is foul beyound words.

(PIZZAIST)
posted by eriko at 9:36 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


While in France I had the misfortune of ordering an otherwise delicious pizza that was topped with an uncooked egg, and maybe 1/3 of the pizzas on the menu included this ingredient.

This happened to us in both Paris and Caen. The egg was cooked a bit, but runny.

Pizza I had in Rome was close to how I make it at home. Thickish crust, a bit of cheese, sort of sparse, and more plentiful with the tomatoes and mushrooms.

In Madrid, there was a little Argentinean pizza place (Pizzeria Mastropiero) down the block from where I lived, and I'd get these tiny thin slices with olives. And they have the most delicious dulce de leche on the planet.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:40 AM on January 26, 2009


Let me add to the chorus singing the praises for St. Louis-style pizza. My wife's mom brings blocks of Provel cheese out to us on the plane whenever she comes to visit so we can make our own pizza. Provel is also great on salads when combined with sweet Italian dressing.
posted by zsazsa at 9:40 AM on January 26, 2009


Places like John's, Patsy's and Grimaldi's in New York as well as the slightly different...

I tried to get a carry-out pie from Grimaldi's a little less than a month ago. The line was an hour and a half long.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:43 AM on January 26, 2009


American pizza is generally fairly foul once you've eaten pizza in Italy, but NY pizza isn't too bad. Indeed, I've never had any other American style that I'd label "good"; however, I'm quite willing to try St. Louis-style because it developed in an Italian neighborhood.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:46 AM on January 26, 2009


Made the mistake once of ordering a pizza in a little sandwich shop while stopping for the night in coastal South Carolina. The had this.....machine, I guess, consisting of two disks of metal. On the bottom disk was sprayed cooking oil generously from an aerosol can, psshhhhhht, psshhhhht, pssshhhhhhht. Onto this went a ball of dough. Onto the ball of dough went more spray oil, psshhhht psshhhht. A handle-lever thing was then pulled down to bring the second disk of metal into contact with the dough ball, pressing it down, squishing it out into a flat greased-up round.

I think they used fake cheese, and the "sausage" was little brown pellets. Everything slid off when you tried to eat it.

Oh, dear.
posted by longsleeves at 9:46 AM on January 26, 2009


Oh and please NEVER eat pizza with a fork and a knife. To this day, I am baffled by this. It's funny to me. I've only seen it outside of NYC.

You've only ever seen it outside NYC because NY pizza can be eaten by hand. In lots of other places, the crust doesn't provide the same foundation, and there are a lot more toppings. Eating one of those slices out-of-hand is an exercise in frustration and stain creation. The knife and fork is, alas, necessary.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:47 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


nonmerci, if you are still in Portland, Oregon, try Cafe Castagna on Hawthorne. They do a Flammekuchen around this time of year. How can anyone go wrong with bacon, cream and onion?
posted by elwoodwiles at 9:54 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


New Haven pizza is the best of all. (And Pepe's is the absolute best.)

This.
All the rest of you are entitled to your opinions, just as long as you know that you are categorically and disastrously incorrect.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 9:54 AM on January 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I grew up on NYC thin crust style, which was okay but when I came up to Rochester to go to school I tasted the local pizza and I've never, ever looked back.

Oh god, are you kidding? I mean, I have lived in Buffalo and surrounding areas for over a decade and I love WNY and all, but man.

Wait, really?
posted by oflinkey at 10:02 AM on January 26, 2009


longsleeves, that sounds exactly like Double Pizza here in Canada. (I wonder where they ordered the pizza in that photo from, because it sure isn't theirs)

I make my own pizza at home with a nice yeast crust. Recently I tried using rogan josh sauce instead of tomato sauce. It came out nicely buttery and moist on the top side of the crust, probably because of ghee in the sauce.

Does "authentic" Indian style pizza use paneer instead of mozzarella? Or no cheese at all?
posted by fleetmouse at 10:02 AM on January 26, 2009


If ever you find yourself traveling through Indiana and get a hankering for some pizza. Do NOT, under any circumstances short of impending coma due to lack of nourishment, stop at any place flying the Pizza King sign. This is overpriced, mutant, inedible stuff. The crust is reminiscent of cardboard while the sauce is akin to bright red tempera paint.

And the toppings? All uniformly diced into tiny bits. ALL of them. How to tell the sausage bits from the pepperoni bits? The pepperoni are the bright red bits.

You have been warned.

On the other (much better) hand, if you're in Indy, head to Bazbeaux for a great slice and a cold Anchor Steam.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:03 AM on January 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fuck Pepe's
posted by horsemuth at 10:05 AM on January 26, 2009


horsemuth: "Fuck Pepe's"

WOAH. Care to elaborate on that?

Pepes, Sally's, and to a lesser degree Modern are all in a class of their own. The closest I've ever come outside of CT to these pizzas are the coal oven pizzas in NYC, like Patsy's.

The New England Greek-style pizzas are universally bad, we used to call it "sweaty Greek pizza" because of all the oil, but pizza is like sex, even when it's bad, it's good.
posted by splatta at 10:12 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


This happened to us in both Paris and Caen. The egg was cooked a bit, but runny.

I remember getting this kind of pizza at some village in the Dordogne. The menu gave us a list of ingredients for each pizza and egg was on there. For some reason I imagined the egg to be hard-boiled egg chunks, like in a Cobb salad. Never expected the egg to be cracked in the center of the pizza just before being put in the oven.

It was served with balsamic vinegar on the side. One of the weirder pizzas I've eaten, but I enjoyed it all the same.
posted by Spatch at 10:13 AM on January 26, 2009


Being in Rhode Island, I have the privilege of sneering down my nose at both New York and Boston cuisine. Right at the top of my list is Pizza - New York pizza is floppy and greasy, impossible to eat without rolling it up into a pizza-scroll with half-a-roll of paper towels near to hand.

In RI, Greek Style pizza is pizza, period. Unless you're talking about strip pizza, which isn't pizza at all, and is likely to come from a Portuguese bakery.

Greek-style has a proper foundation for extra-cheese - the crust doesn't flop and droop, the cheese doesn't slide off, and you don't have oil running down your sleeve. It is the platonic ideal of pizza.

If you want to get fancy, Sicilia's on Federal Hill does an outstanding thin-crust, super-crispy Neapolitan style, and a Deep Dish pie that will make Chicagoans get all defensive and homesick.

The pizza in Boston is mostly dreadful New Yawk pie, only done wrong, so it's floppier and greasier.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:13 AM on January 26, 2009


I love me some gyros but I will never forgive the Greeks for what they have wreaked upon pizza in America.

In that vein, I present the one, the only Nova Scotia-style donair pizza. Born at the linked take-out counter, anchor of Halifax's notorious Pizza Corner, which brought the Nova Scotia donair (spit-roasted beef instead of lamb and a very sweet garlic sauce instead of tzatziki, wrapped in lightly fried pita and tucked in a foil sheath that drips down your arm) to the soused Haligonian masses. It was only a matter of time before the whole mess wound up on a pizza. A Down Home "classic." (It's better in donair form than in pizza form.)

And Grimaldi's is the platonic ideal of every half-decent pizza I had growing up. The slices at Sal & Carmine's on the Upper West are transcendentally awesome as well.
posted by gompa at 10:14 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh no you don't Metafilter, you won't inflict this disease on me!

St. Louis style sounds delicioius
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:14 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you're ever in Columbus, OH, try Adriatico's.
posted by box at 10:16 AM on January 26, 2009


Inspector.Gadget, I hope you waited that half hour. It. Is. Fucking. Worth. It.

I have waited in all weather, from blistering cold with whipping winds to scorchingly hot with 200% humidity, often with newbs that can't understand why I'd put up with it. Then we sat down. No one was angry any more, the wait had been redeemed. The only person who I knew that was not so impressed with that pizza is an ex of mine. That non-excitement over that pizza (even when there was no wait that day!) may or may not be the reason he and I broke up.
posted by piratebowling at 10:18 AM on January 26, 2009


Oh, I meanthour and a half, not half hour. Still, that pizza would have been worth it.
posted by piratebowling at 10:20 AM on January 26, 2009


American pizza is generally fairly foul once you've eaten pizza in Italy

Um, with all due respect, are you on crack? That's a blanket statement wrapped up in crazy talk.

Not that some italian pizza isn't really good. But man, some of it is also truly and supremely mediocre to awful.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:20 AM on January 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can't believe someone writing a "List of Regional Pizza Styles" forgot "New England Style Greek Pizza" and only added it after being reminded of it by his commenters. Yes, he corrected the mistake quickly, but that belongs on everyone's list of canonical styles, if only because it's so common in the northeast.

And I know there are some haters of the Greek style pizza, but here's why it's good: it's really, really greasy. The pans are coated with olive oil before that dough is put in, and the pan holds in the grease from the cheese and meat toppings.

Here in Baltimore, however, the Greek pizza places totally depart from the style of pizza Greeks serve in the northeast. Apparently the story is that the style started in eastern Connecticut around New London and spread outwards as Greeks would get their start in that restaurant before starting their own elsewhere. Presumably once you get all the way down to Baltimore, the Greek pizza restauranteurs too distant to have gotten their start from one of the New England pizza restaurants and the style is completely different.
posted by deanc at 10:23 AM on January 26, 2009


...but in SK and AB, pizza is almost always this Greek style. It could easily be called Western Canadian style.

A 40,000 calorie (mostly meat and cheese) 2 inch thick pie molded into pizza form? Must be Saskatchewan style pizza.

Oh and please NEVER eat pizza with a fork and a knife. To this day, I am baffled by this. It's funny to me. I've only seen it outside of NYC.

Try eating pizza with a 10:1 ratio of toppings:crust thickness. Western Canadian pizza is as foldable as a pot roast.
posted by benzenedream at 10:23 AM on January 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


You've only ever seen it outside NYC because NY pizza can be eaten by hand. In lots of other places, the crust doesn't provide the same foundation, and there are a lot more toppings. Eating one of those slices out-of-hand is an exercise in frustration and stain creation. The knife and fork is, alas, necessary.

Yup. Try, for instance, folding up Chicago-Style and eating it. Dare ya ;)

If ever you find yourself traveling through Indiana and get a hankering for some pizza. Do NOT, under any circumstances short of impending coma due to lack of nourishment, stop at any place flying the Pizza King sign. This is overpriced, mutant, inedible stuff. The crust is reminiscent of cardboard while the sauce is akin to bright red tempera paint.And the toppings? All uniformly diced into tiny bits. ALL of them. How to tell the sausage bits from the pepperoni bits? The pepperoni are the bright red bits.

..Indiana Style!!
posted by spirit72 at 10:24 AM on January 26, 2009


I moved to Missouri some time back, and I never, EVER acquired a taste for St. Louis' provel, cracker-crust pizza. I'll be nice and not give any detailed impressions. My family, who were all born here, love it, and I just eat something else when they want it.
posted by missouri_lawyer at 10:26 AM on January 26, 2009


(If you'd like some insight into the generalized pathos, pride, and self-loathing that St. Louisans feel about many aspects of their culture... check out this "Meetup" MetaTalk thread where discussion of St. Louis-style pizza turns playfully heated...)
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 10:27 AM on January 26, 2009


You've only ever seen it outside NYC because NY pizza can be eaten by hand.

I'm not even talking weighty pizza here. I'm talking Pizza Hut and random little places I've been to outside NY. Including overseas. Went to Pizza Hut with family in Georgia. Cue everyone but me eating with silverware.

Every time I've seen this done it's with the same pizza that I picked up and ate with my hands, so no, forks and knives weren't necessary.

I've never needed a fork and knife for pizza, even stuffed pizza or deep dish. And as I said, I make pizza at home and pile on the toppings. And I eat with my hands.

So it's still quite the baffling thing.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:28 AM on January 26, 2009


but pizza is like sex, even when it's bad, it's good.

Except the kind you pick up at a gas station.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:29 AM on January 26, 2009 [13 favorites]


I pick up and eat Chicago style with my hands. :)
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:29 AM on January 26, 2009


If you're ever in Columbus, OH, try Adriatico's.


MMMMMM. That was Monday dinner for me every week from 1993-1998.:)
posted by spirit72 at 10:30 AM on January 26, 2009


Has anyone ever met someone who doesn't like pizza?

Me. As crazy as this is, I don't really like pizza and am indifferent towards ice cream. I know, I know, it is only my love of bacon which makes me still welcome here. In my defense, there is one pizza that I like enough to eat once or twice a year, and that's the honey almond chicken pizza from Two Guys Pizza - it's got honey garlic sauce, chicken, bacon, pineapple, and almonds. I quite like it. It's very much not like most pizza.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:31 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


On New Haven pizza: there are those folks who prefer Sally's to Pepe's (both on same street in Little Italy--Wooster St.. Sally's has (perhaps) a better topping (plain) while Pepe's has a better bottom (the dough part) Ideally, the two combined would be best of all. Interesting though is that Pepe opened a 2nd place not too far from New Haven and those friends who have gone there claim it is not nearly as good ...they claim that the oven gets seasoned after years and years in the business. In sum: even when naming a categolry (a city), there are differences within
that grouping.
posted by Postroad at 10:33 AM on January 26, 2009


Someone I went to college with had a theory that when it came to pizza in the United States that the closer you were to Italy, the better the pizza -- so by his scale, New York pizza was better than Chicago's, which was itself better than California's.

"Californian" is an invalid style of pizza.

Now that Indian pizza, though, I've only tried once so far, but I was surprised at how well the idea worked.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:34 AM on January 26, 2009


In college I was addicted to Woodstock's, which was not only the first only place I've ever known to offer a whole wheat crust (in 1985!) but their biggest secret is rolling the pizza crust in a way that keeps a tunnel of sauce inside of the crust. Freaking incredible.

Really? I like the whole wheat thing, but the rolled edge crust just always seemed to me more like an admission of "we don't know how to throw dough, so we have to roll it out" than anything else. But, I like a larger crust around the edges, so that's just my personal choice, having grown up on pizza from the Bottle Shop out in Fletcher Hills (where I later worked for a summer) which is a little closer to NY style. I'm also partial to Filippi's, but their pizza would be an abomination to anyone from the east coast.
posted by LionIndex at 10:34 AM on January 26, 2009


in SK and AB, pizza is almost always this Greek style. It could easily be called Western Canadian style.

Then again, maybe this is why I don't like pizza. I've only ever eaten it in BC, AB, and NWT.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:35 AM on January 26, 2009


Other great Boston pizza: Figs, The Upper Crust and Santarpio's.
posted by ericb at 10:44 AM on January 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Neglect not the noble Chicago Thin Crust, the pizza for those times when you're hungry but can't quite fit your stomach around a deeper dish. The Chicago Thin takes the formal innovation of the St. Louis Style (the rectilinear "party cut") and reconciles it with a perfect rendition of the classical American pizza elements: Wisconsin mozzarella, a leavened but crisp crust, and, as a rebuke to the New Yorkers (who fear tomato sauce and supplant it with grease), a generous slather of bold, herbal sauce.

The masters of the genre: Aurelio's, Giordano's, Barnaby's, Monical's, and Jake's. Jake's deserves a special mention for its BBQ pizza, which surpasses perfection simply by replacing the tomato sauce with an unwholesomely good barbecue sauce. I get it for my birthday every year.
posted by Iridic at 10:45 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fuck Pepe's

I will cut you.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:47 AM on January 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


I don't know if it's a New York thing, but one of the things I miss the hell out of about living there is the easy availability of Sicilian (thick crust, square) pizza. Now that I'm living down here in Georgia though, I've found that no one here has ever heard of it, although my wife found a pizza place owned by a guy from Queens where they don't have it on the menu but will make it by request if she gives them a day's notice. She surprises me with it once in a while on special occasions.
posted by deadmessenger at 10:47 AM on January 26, 2009


Hmm. Never been to New Haven, and am moderately dubious of the claims.

The Indian pizza at Zante's in San Francisco was nowhere near as good as the Indian Pizza I had in Vancouver, and I find the unsourced claims of origination dubious (just like the guy who phoned in a week ago claiming that he'd invented the term MILF and would put his landscaping business up as collateral to prove it).

I grew up in Michigan, so when I saw the "Greek" pizza listed, I thought, oh, yeah, that's like all the pizza places around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Sweet crust, sweet sauce, frozen mozzarella, puffy as all hell with a sesame coating on the crust. Thank God my family is from Chicago, so I got regular trips to where they knew how to make pizza right. Chewy, sweet, gummy, ugh. (I assumed that was what they meant by Detroit Style, but now I see that they mean Hungry Howie's, which isn't so much a style as some butter and garlic on the lip of the crust of a regular Midwest pizza).

Bookhouse has tried to convince me that the failing I had with St. Louis pizza was that my family got one at a Pizza Hut on our way through town. I'm not sure that there aren't serious theoretical problems with the whole Provel endeavor, but I'll grant that Pizza Hut is probably the last place you want to try new things at.

I've had Californian Pizza, or at least, I've eaten at the California Pizza Kitchen and had pizza Wolfgang Puck made as catering food for an event I attended. So-so, I guess, but it seems like they never really manage to pull all the disparate elements back together properly.

Best place I've found so far here in LA is The Coop, which apparently used to be based in Vancouver, but makes NY style.

Oh, yeah, and I've had pizza in Rome and Florence, but I'm not sure that I can speak authoritatively from the experience, both because the pizzas were nothing really to get excited about (from street vendors, mostly), and because I was distracted by all the other great non-pizza I was eating, so I don't remember it that vividly.

Sure as hell beat out the pizza in Amsterdam, though. My brother and I went to a spot not far from the central train station, and they seemed pissed off about the whole transaction and gave my brother a slice that had mayonnaise on it. He liked it; I could barely watch him eat it.

Barcelona's pizzas seemed excellent, the ones I had. Lots of fresh olives, though I had to forgo the pizzas with seafood and sausage (though they were one of the things that kinda made me wish I ate meat).
posted by klangklangston at 10:53 AM on January 26, 2009


Indian pizza is new to me. But if you're going to Burning Man, DO NOT eat the "Indian Tacos" en route. This is not to say that you shouldn't stop and give a little bit to the Native American folks out there, just don't eat the tacos.
posted by telstar at 10:54 AM on January 26, 2009


but pizza is like sex, even when it's bad, it's good.

Anyone who says this has not had much of either.
posted by bondcliff at 10:54 AM on January 26, 2009 [8 favorites]


A 40,000 calorie (mostly meat and cheese) 2 inch thick pie molded into pizza form? Must be Saskatchewan style pizza.

And really, in places like Regina, this is the default for pizza, apparently brought here by two brothers from Calgary who each started their own chains, Western, and Trifon's, and both continue to thrive. A Reginan seeing a New York-style pizza would likely unfortunately presume it came from a supermarket freezer case. (There was at least one local chain that bucked the trend -- Geno's made a great thin-crust. Man, I miss them.)
posted by evilcolonel at 10:55 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a lot of good thin Chicago out in the burbs too, Iridic. Dr. Pizza on First Ave. at 22nd st. makes a tasty pie, though there was a place called Benny's near there that was better (but has been gone probably ten years now).
posted by klangklangston at 10:55 AM on January 26, 2009


I love that DC Jumbo Slice got a shout-out. That was definitely my drunk snack of choice two nights ago - even at the time I knew it was sort of disgusting (they tend to be kind of undercooked) but I was drunk so it was awesome.

Chicago-style, on the other hand, is just vile.
posted by naoko at 10:56 AM on January 26, 2009


Well splatta, generally I am a Sally's guy, but one day in July about 10 years ago, Sally's was closed for some reason (maybe it was Monday, or perhaps they weren't open yet), and I, my wife and my mother walked over to Pepe's. It was about 100 degrees outside. Very hot, very humid as well. Inside, the restaurant was half empty. There was no line, so we walked into the outside glass doors, and then through the inside door to the restaurant. It was then that the hostess, told us that we had to wait outside. Ok, fine. So we leave the restaurant and go into the tiny (but airconditioned) foyer. The old bat comes out and says " Did you hear me? I said wait outside" . Unbelievable. No provocation. It wasn't like we had given her a hard time when she first told us to wait. It was rude, unprofessional, and discourteous behavior. On top of it, it wasn't some random hostess, it was some member of the family, I believe. Regulars will probably know the old lady I'm talking about. Anyway, it was a shitty experience, and I harbor ill will toward the place because of it.
posted by horsemuth at 10:58 AM on January 26, 2009


but yeah, Sallys, Modern, and a little place in Westville called Dayton Street, all make great apizza.
posted by horsemuth at 10:59 AM on January 26, 2009


Bookhouse has tried to convince me that the failing I had with St. Louis pizza was that my family got one at a Pizza Hut on our way through town.

Oh, there's also an element of acquired taste involved, no doubt, but tests should be performed with Imo's to be certain.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:01 AM on January 26, 2009


The only kind of pizza that I like is the kind from the region where I was raised. The other kinds are disgusting and must be shunned by anyone with taste.

And everyone knows the proper way to eat pizza is off your tummy, not a table you illogical land creatures!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:04 AM on January 26, 2009


Great pizza, from one of my all time favorite posts on MetaFilter. So it appears that you can now get great pizza in Atlanta.
posted by caddis at 11:05 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


*jams an Indian pizza into the intertubes for nickyskye*

(although I can't believe that NYC doesn't have Indian pizza? Is this possible?)

And I have a nostalgic attachment to New England-style greek pizza, since when I lived in Brookline, the pizza place nearest to us was Greek. I still think of it as delicious, although I haven't had pizza like it in years.
posted by rtha at 11:07 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Other great Boston pizza: Figs, The Upper Crust and Santarpio's.

I'd add Emma's Pizza to this list, as well, if you're looking for "Upper Crust"-style (ie, California-style) pizza.

But for Greek-style pizza in Cambridge, I prefer Stefani House of Pizza on Main Street.
posted by deanc at 11:08 AM on January 26, 2009


I'm not even talking weighty pizza here. I'm talking Pizza Hut

That's not pizza.

fyi.
posted by dersins at 11:11 AM on January 26, 2009


Old Forge pizza reminds me of driving up from Philly to visit my grandmother's brothers and sisters up in the Scranton/Taylor/Moosic area of PA. (My great-granddad had a coal mine up there back in the 1920s-'40s; eventually died in it.) We'd usually get the 'white' pizza with no sauce. I found it weird at the time, but now I miss it.

I miss Philly pizza even more, especially: a) Lorenzos, b) tomato pie and c) the occasional upside-down pizza with the sauce on top of the cheese.

Still trying to find edible pizza in Portland, OR, just from a regular old pizzeria, not some gourmet place.
posted by medeine at 11:12 AM on January 26, 2009


I remember having pizza in Germany when I was there years ago, and not only did it include slices of hard-boiled egg as a topping, the whole black olives had pits in them (which I found out the hard way).

In Canada most pizzerias offer shrimp as a topping, which I love and is hard to find in my area of the US. When Little Caesar's had their Pizza Kitchen restaurants (a local small chain of "gourmet" pizzas), my favorite variety was the one topped with Italian sausage, sliced tomato, shrimp and minced garlic. Mmmm.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:12 AM on January 26, 2009


One of my "travel quirks" is to try some pizza in as many countries as possible. I maintain (with some vigor) that you can learn interesting things by seeing what different cultures do with the pizza concept.

...this is how I learned that Romanians are a desperately unhappy and possibly suicidal people: frozen pizza with a liberal application of ketchup.
posted by aramaic at 11:16 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Stefani House of Pizza on Main Street

Which is almost right across the street from the Junior Mints factory. I used to walk past there every morning on the way to work, and on the days they were making Junior Mints, the combined smell of the wood fire from the nearby Bertucci's and the chocolate and mint from the factory was awe-inspiring.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:17 AM on January 26, 2009


Still trying to find edible pizza in Portland, OR,

Apizza Scholl's.
posted by dersins at 11:22 AM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I grew up in RI, so our choices for pizza were Greek and bakery-style. When I went to college in Ithaca NY I was mystified by the pizza there. I mean, the vegetables were still crunchy! A place up on College St. actually put sliced tomatoes on the pizza! And there were no bakery strips to be found at Wegman's.

I am happy to be back in New England, eating the pizza of my youth.
posted by Biblio at 11:22 AM on January 26, 2009


St. Louis style pizza is wretched and often appears to represent thriftiness transformed from a virtue into a vice. The crust might well be abandoned bits of matzo, drizzled with expired ketchup packets scrounged from restaurant Dumpsters. The cheese is the least possible cheese which is not American cheese, which is to say that it cannot even claim the rank of Worst Possible Cheese. The meat itself is spiced to extinction and then "formed;" it foolishly aspires to one day enter the pageant of the numerous ingredients in a humble hot dog.

Cutting this pizza into squares only reinforces the idea that stale crackers form the base of this monstrosity. This practice also assures a more or less uneven distribution of crust: will you get a tiny piece which is mostly a curve of overdone dough, looking for all the world like a scorched Saltine whose flames someone attempted to stamp out with a tomato? will you get a slippery rectangle devoid of necessary crust backbone for infrastructure?

Woe betide any individual who attempts to eat cold St. Louis style pizza, which, a scant few hours after leaving the Dis-exported ovens where it was forged, has assumed the visual and textual character of a beast known to Star Trek fans as the Horta: mottled, lumpy, and with a surface ranging somewhere between leathery and the lower ranges of Mohs scale of mineral hardness.

St. Louis style pizza is a cruel joke whose origins have been forgotten for so long that it has become some kind of tradition verging on a vicious tribal initiation.
posted by adipocere at 11:23 AM on January 26, 2009 [19 favorites]


***International Pizza Story***

My High School German class took a trip to Munich in my senior year. About 10-12 American kids with at least 4 years of German behind them. A couple of us go out for pizza on one of our first days there, and our lack of strangely colored sneakers and stonewashed denim must have pegged us as Americans, because the waitress gave us, in addition to the standard menus in German, a menu that had been translated into English. So we decided that we wanted a half-pepperoni, half-mushroom pizza. Despite our education, none of us could think of the German words for either of those toppings, but we wanted to impress the waitress by ordering in German. So we cross-reference. OK, pepperoni is third item on the list in English... third item on the list in German... looks like pepperoni. Mushroom is fifth on the list... fifth on the list in German starts with "m", so that's good too.

We order the pizza in flawless Hoch Deutsch, and a few minutes later, out comes our pizza. Half with jalapeno peppers, and half with corn. I'm not talking a few chunks of pepper and a sprinkling of kernels here, I am talking covered in two of the most random pizza toppings we had ever even heard of.

If you're ever in Munich, the corn pizza's not half bad.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:29 AM on January 26, 2009 [11 favorites]


adipocere, quit it! You're making me homesick!
posted by zsazsa at 11:35 AM on January 26, 2009


The wife and I were in Italy a couple years ago; Arezzo, to be specific, a lovely little town in the heart of Tuscany. One night we decide to have pizza at a nice-looking pizza-specific restaurant--you know, a sit-down, printed-menu, nice-wine kind of gourmet pizza place. It being November, we practically have the place to ourselves.

We order some wine and stare at the menus, printed of course in Italian. Our Italian is laughable, but with the help of some common sense and some covert peeking into a phrasebook, we mostly make sense of it. One pizza looks really delicious to me--I'm an all-meat kind of guy--but there's one Italian word that is completely mysterious to me, and our lame literature doesn't help. (I can't remember the word.)

The waiter comes over--his English is feeble, but way better than our pathetic Italian--and I point at the mystery word. He looks up in the air, searching for the words, and then says, "It is, how you say . . . "--he really did say "how you say," which was awesome--". . . hot dogs."

Hot dogs? That's hilarious, I thought to myself. He's just doing his best with the translation. He must mean some sort of sausage. And hey, fucking A, I love me some sausage on my pizza! I nodded my head eagerly and ordered it.

It was hot dogs.
posted by Skot at 11:40 AM on January 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


Pizza Hut Japan offers some strange pizza variants.
posted by mek at 11:57 AM on January 26, 2009


St. Louis-style pizza is Kraft mac & cheese--if you grew up with it, you love it; but if you first taste it as an adult, you see it for the disgusting concoction it truly is. adipocere has it right: ketchup spread on saltine crackers and covered processed cheese foodstuff (I liken it to white Velveeta).
posted by slogger at 12:09 PM on January 26, 2009


*...is like Kraft...*
posted by slogger at 12:10 PM on January 26, 2009


Pizza Hut Korea, as well. There's a Bulgogi pizza, a recipe for Kimchi pizzas, and Ramen Kimchi pizza.
posted by qcubed at 12:10 PM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


ohio valley-style pizza lovers: REPRESENT!!!!!!!!!!!!

i could never figure out why those tasty square slices with the unmelted mozzarella on top never took over the world. yummmmm ... .
posted by msconduct at 12:16 PM on January 26, 2009


The first time I went home to West Virginia with my boyfriend, he was extremely upset that some pizza place he liked was closed. I chalked his craving up to homesickness and figured he'd move on and forget about it. We spent the next few days trying to get there, but always just missed them. Finally, the last day of our trip, we made it. I figured it couldn't possibly be any good, because when you think pizza, you don't think Wheeling, WV. The Ohio Valley isn't really know for its culinary delights, to say the least. I'd have a piece of crappy pizza and suffer through it. You know, for love.

Now, when we visit the first place we go is DiCarlo's for 6 slices, eaten outside over the trunk of the car before the cheese has a chance to melt. I'm a convert. The crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, bready, but not too bread-like crust, the pure tomatoes in the sauce, and the cheese. Oh Lord, the cheese. Provolone, grated into tiny bits -- real provolone, not Provel -- sprinkled on the top of the pizza after it comes out of the oven, right before the box top is put on so it can melt just a tiny bit from the steam. There's nothing like it. Especially if I can steal the corner pieces before he gets to them.
posted by ThatSomething at 12:21 PM on January 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wonder if anything at all put on dough and into oven can then qualify as "pizaza"? or is there a minimum something that must be there...note all the toppings listed in these comments...ugh.

tip: for leftover pizza, instead of putting in oven to warm up the next day, put in frying pan on stove till warm...brings the pizza back to life instead of warming mushy dough.
posted by Postroad at 12:34 PM on January 26, 2009


Should you ever find yourself there, my hometown of Sarnia, Ontario has a lot of really good pizza joints (probably because there's a large Italian-Canadian population)...based on what I'm reading here, I'd say it's closer to New York-style than any other. My family favourites are Giresi's and Firenze's (shredded ham!).

The worst pizza I've ever had (not including the "pizza" we made at scout camp with Bisquick for the crust) was at a Toronto bachelor party five or six years ago, from a place named Peter's Cajun Creole Pizza (at Queen and Parliament). Any pizza that doesn't make the cut - and about half of it was left in the box - in a roomful of drunk, hungry, stoned guys is a FAIL. And almost all of the pizza I had in Australia was disgusting. It looked like pizza, it smelled like pizza...but it sure as hell didn't taste like pizza.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:39 PM on January 26, 2009


For those who can't make it to a pizza mecca, the PizzaMaking.com forum is a good place to learn how to make the stuff at home. Just in the past few months I've mastered readying a poolish, tossing dough, working with a stone, and getting quality ingredients by mail-order (Grande cheese, Ezzo pepperoni, etc). Pizza night in my house has become a major event with friends and family. The Lehman's recipe on that site is a good place to start with a basic NY style crust.
posted by crapmatic at 12:40 PM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


New Haven pizza is the best of all. (And Pepe's is the absolute best.)

I hope to God that genuine New Haven-style isn't what's being proffered by this "Pete's Apizza" place that recently landed in DC; I'd hate to think you have a taste for cardboard and hot glue.

(This California boy recognizes none better than Chicago deep-dish style. It is a meal and a monument.)
posted by kittyprecious at 12:43 PM on January 26, 2009


OK, I love St. Louis-style pizza, and force it on whoever I'm with whenever I go to St. Louis. That being said, Imo's is certainly not the best of the lot. I'd say it is barely passable.

Try something non-chain. Angelos, in Blackjack is the best by far.

Ponticello's, in Spanish Lake, or Rossino's in the central west end are great too.

The best of all used to be Talayna's, but that closed.

Now I feel like starting a thread about gooey butter cake and St. Paul sandwiches.
posted by overhauser at 12:45 PM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Re. my earlier post: Firenze's testimonials.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:53 PM on January 26, 2009


"this is how I learned that Romanians are a desperately unhappy and possibly suicidal people: frozen pizza with a liberal application of ketchup."

Oh, Christ, I remember when some Polish immigrant neighbors had us over for pizza. They made it with ketchup and shredded white Kraft cheese. It was vile.
posted by klangklangston at 12:57 PM on January 26, 2009


After visiting the US, I've never eaten pizza in the UK since. British pizza both sucks and blows. The chains are Pizza Hut (doughy, tasteless) or Pizza Express (expensive and pretentious, thin and soggy) and there's nothing equivalent to the good Italian neighbourhood pizzeria that's a feature of many American towns and cities. If anyone knows of one in the London/Essex area, I'd love to hear about it.
posted by essexjan at 12:58 PM on January 26, 2009


There are only 2 kinds of Pizza , Ray's and the other ones here in New York.
No Chicago pizza, no St Loius pizza, No Boise pizza , etc.
End of topic.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:59 PM on January 26, 2009


More than 100 posts and no mention of macaroni and cheese pizza, the pride of Madison, WI? Phooey.

I have actually made the pilgrimage to Old Forge to eat the Old Forge pizza. It is indeed different. But it's just not very good. I actually tried it in two different places and in both cases found the cheese to be kind of grainy and blah, and the sauce over-sweet and otherwise bland.

DeLorenzo's, on the other hand (and of course I am referring to the Hudson street branch) is magnificent -- better than any pizza I've eaten in New York. But you have to like the really thin, crackery, slightly sweet crust.
posted by escabeche at 1:17 PM on January 26, 2009


American pizza is generally fairly foul once you've eaten pizza in Italy

Um, with all due respect, are you on crack? That's a blanket statement wrapped up in crazy talk.


I couldn't agree more. There's some decent pizza in Italy but there is also a lot of very, very bad pizza. I think jeffburdges is some sort of weird furriner or something.
posted by Justinian at 1:37 PM on January 26, 2009


I enjoy Imo's and St. Louis style pizza having recently moved here about 4 years ago. However, I cannot truly accept it as pizza instead it is more like a glorified cracker. A wonderfully tasty glorified cracker, but still a glorified cracker. Provel is both a nasty horrible cheese combo and delicious when you want something gloriously bad.

That's my rant on that.
posted by lizarrd at 1:40 PM on January 26, 2009


I think all forms of pizza have merit (except for Jumbo Slice, which is an abomination). I really liked the pizza in Buenos Aires, which came with a side of empenadas.

Having said that I would kill for some greasy NYC street-pizza right now. Every time we go visit I feel guilty for insisting on it though...our friends keep taking us out for good pizza, but I'm all about the cheap stuff.
posted by JoanArkham at 1:42 PM on January 26, 2009


I've lived in St. Louis for about six years, but I'm not a native, and let me say with unbridled certainty.

St. Louis style pizza is DISGUSTING

The only people that seem to like it were born and raised here, so it's kind of like an abused wife who doesn't flee because she doesn't know how much better life could be.
posted by HotPants at 1:44 PM on January 26, 2009


Except the kind you pick up at a gas station.

For a whole year my lunch consisted almost entirely of peperoni pizza from "pump and pantry" in Phillips, WI. It wasn't that bad.

I also like Taco Bell
posted by elmono at 1:53 PM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


They forgot the Ellio's style pizza served at my high school cafeteria.

Pat McKlusky was able to eat 11 slices before puking! (the bet was for 20)
posted by orme at 2:04 PM on January 26, 2009


There are only 2 kinds of Pizza , Ray's and the other ones here in New York.

That's a joke right?
posted by caddis at 2:15 PM on January 26, 2009


Pizza is like sex.

When it's good ... it's REALLY good.

When it's bad ... it's still pretty good.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:17 PM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I live a block and a half from Modern Apizza. The thing that I love most about them is that even when the crowd spills out into State Street waiting for a table, their take-out is still ready in 20 minutes. I'm partial to eggplant, sausage and hot peppers.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 2:17 PM on January 26, 2009


Every region has good and bad pizza. The worst pizza I ever ate in my life (including frozen pizza) was on the east coast. The cafe in the basement of Rutgers served up some kind of monstrosity with dough and sauce out of a can, and slices of what had to be velveeta cheese. I'm still shuddering thinking about it 14 years later, especially since I was too low on cash to buy something else and had already taken some insulin so I had to eat it (I should have panhandled). If bad pizza is like bad sex, then this one had the condom break along the line of teeth marks, and your eardrum burst when your partner shouted out the name of their first cousin when they came.

I'd like to try St. Louis, and I have to give a shout out for Zante's Indian pizza in SF which introduced me to Indian pizza. I would also love to try an Ethiopian influenced pizza or a southern BBQ pork/arugula creation.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:31 PM on January 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, try downtown San Jose's Kukar's house of Pizza for a unique experience in salty greasy spiciness. I'm not saying it's good, but it has its devotees (not me).
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:33 PM on January 26, 2009


There are only 2 kinds of Pizza , Ray's and the other ones here in New York.

That's a joke right?



....No Dayton Pizza, No Orlando Pizza, No........
posted by Liquidwolf at 2:34 PM on January 26, 2009


Mmmmmm.....Serra's pizza in St. Louis.

Tongue-asm.

Germans eat pizza with a knife and fork. I like to be the only savage in the group who eats with his hands.
posted by chillmost at 2:45 PM on January 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hmm. Never been to New Haven, and am moderately dubious of the claims.

Look, klang, you're a smart guy; be smart. You've never been to New Haven, so you don't know what the fuck you're talking about. Trust me on this: I've eaten pizza in all the homes of great pizza, and in other lesser venues like California, and the two best are New Haven and Buenos Aires. I won't bother touting the latter here, because it's expensive to get to B.A. and I haven't been there in years, but New Haven is where it's at when it comes to American pizza. Go to the old Italian neighborhood, find the line, and stand in it, however long it is. You'll go back. Of course, you'll lose some of your appreciation for other styles, but life is full of tradeoffs.

Fuck Pepe's.

Ah, a Sally's fan.

*shakes head sadly*
posted by languagehat at 2:50 PM on January 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


PS, where can I get really good Neapolitan-type Pizza in Philly?

I like crispy/chewy thin crust, a light (not to thick or overpowering) tomato sauce and decent mozzarella.


You're so close you could'a tripped over it. Slice at 10th and Federal. Dunno if it'll meet your standards, but it's thin-crust, good ingredients, nice dude runs the shop.

Nthing that there is some really foul pizza to be had in Italy.

I seem to be capable of enjoying any regional style of pizza (gas-stations do not count) and do not feel spurred to violence by someone preferring their regional style over my regional style. Am I doing this wrong?
posted by desuetude at 2:51 PM on January 26, 2009


Tongue-asm.

I'm so stealing this. Much better than the awkward: "It's like an orgasm in your mouth... no, not someone else's orgasm, your own orgasm... no, not like your own ejaculate in your mouth, just like a pleasurable sens... oh fuck it"
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:55 PM on January 26, 2009


I've mostly been in this thread as a proponent of the maligned St. Louis style, but to jump into another part of this thread: New Haven pizza is very good, but it is not better than Grimaldi's or DiFara's in Brooklyn.

I read once in a book on Canadian money-laundering. the author claimed that back in the day, the Montreal mob laundered its money through a string of meat-processing plants (or some such), and forced Montreal pizza parlors to all purchase excessive amounts of pepperoni. The pizza places all had such stockpiles of pepperoni that they took to hiding it under the cheese to conceal how much of the stuff they put on their pies. This led to Montreal-style pizza, in which toppings are hidden under the crust.

I have no idea if the story is true.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:59 PM on January 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Other great Boston pizza: Figs, The Upper Crust and Santarpio's.

Oh ... ane cannot forget the BEST pizza in the world (after having slammed too many a drink): Pinocchio's in Harvard Square. Best pizza ever! At least at the time. Can't say I've ever had their Sicilian or Neapolitan while sober. But, it's the BEST pizza in world! Trust me. The BEST.
posted by ericb at 3:03 PM on January 26, 2009


*in the world*

Hiccup.
posted by ericb at 3:05 PM on January 26, 2009


New Haven pizza is the best of all.

I agree.

As a child, my fondest memories of pizza are when in New Haven (Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Modern Apizza, Sally's) after weekly visits with my Mom in Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital.
posted by ericb at 3:14 PM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


St. Louis style pizza might be the thing I miss most about St. Louis, not counting my family. Provel FTW. (My New York-born wife regards it as an abomination.)
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:20 AM on January 26 [+] [!]


You took the words right out of my mouth, honey. St. Louisans are nice and all, but seriously, you guys have a defective pizza gene.

adipocere, I favorite you a million times.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 3:18 PM on January 26, 2009


I'm glad that someone called out the Halifax-style donair pizza. I've been craving one for 15 years! Why didn't I eat them every day when I had the chance?

My italian ex-inlaws used to call the square pizza slab pizza. Of course, they called me that asshole so they may have been wrong about that too.
posted by monkeymike at 3:33 PM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, that post - I don't know about the DC jumbo slice being a regional style! it's just a slice of bad greasy pizza and the only distinctive thing about it is that it's so huge you have to fold it up to eat it, and you are sitting on a curb in Adams Morgan trying to do this, and you are too drunk to care about how messy and gross it is.

While in France I had the misfortune of ordering an otherwise delicious pizza that was topped with an uncooked egg, and maybe 1/3 of the pizzas on the menu included this ingredient. This included places in Paris, but also Poitiers, so it's fairly widespread.

Yeah, me too. Followed by an awkward conversation which was basically "ben, c'est un oeuf" and I'm like "I know, WTF is it doing on my pizza, that is foul." I really don't get it.
posted by citron at 3:39 PM on January 26, 2009


St. Louis style pizza is a cruel joke whose origins have been forgotten for so long that it has become some kind of tradition verging on a vicious tribal initiation.

They'll cut you.

They'll broast you too.

If you order the Frank's Special it has anchovies on it and they are really, really good.
posted by ryoshu at 3:41 PM on January 26, 2009


Please don't confuse pizza style with pizza quality. "There is no pizza except how they make it in my geographical area!" Or whatever. You have a deficiency-you are bad at enjoying certain types of good things, and you should be working to overcome it rather than bragging about it. Also, cool post!
posted by Kwine at 3:44 PM on January 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Screw it. All this talk of Imo's has made me decide that's what's for dinner.

Unfortunately, it's sleeting at the rate of an inch an hour.
Fortunately, Imo's is 150 feet from my back patio (it's an odd location in an old residential neighborhood--surrounded by houses on all sides).

Unfortunately Imo's is pricey (no wonder--my local grocer sells Provel at about $14/pound).
Fortunately my teenage brother works there (perhaps he is working tonight and can hook me up).

Unfortunately I had a stomach bug last night and missed work today due to gross GI issues.
Fortunately I took it easy today and am finally starting to feel a bit peckish (I'll just stick to cheese).

Sure, I like (nay, love) St. Louis style Pizza, but not to the exclusion of others (except for really bready varieties).
posted by sourwookie at 3:58 PM on January 26, 2009


I am so hungry now.
posted by Max Power at 4:14 PM on January 26, 2009


Mmmmm, Imo's. Delicious.

The crisp cracker crust, the sweet, tangy and acidic sauce balanced by the pure fatty blandness of provel cheese. Their salads, too, are a sight to behold: equal parts iceberg lettuce and strings of provel cheese, topped with red onions and suffocated in sweet Italian dressing. I prefer my salad without processed cheese worms but I know plenty of Imo's salad fans.

Other purveyors of the vile delight that is St. Louis style pizza: Cecil Whittaker's and the delightfully-named Fortel's Pizza Den.
posted by Monsters at 4:56 PM on January 26, 2009


You have a deficiency-you are bad at enjoying certain types of good things, and you should be working to overcome it rather than bragging about it.
Very well put.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:33 PM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hate pizza. There, I said it.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 6:02 PM on January 26, 2009


The best pizza I have ever had was in Italy. It's almost all I ate while I was vacationing there, and to me, it's as good as it gets. There probably are some bad pizza places in Italy, but I didn't find any of them. Every place we went to used a wood-fired oven, buffalo mozzarella (often from The Apennines), fresh basil, and rested dough. Plus, they were usually cheap enough to afford gelato or some limoncello after the meal!
After coming back, I didn't eat American pizza again for a long time. The closest I've found to authentic Italian pizza here in Minnesota is Punch, though friends have told me there are some others worth checking out.

adipocere's description of St. Louis style is spot on. What's sad to me about American styles of pizza is that it doesn't take much to make an excellent quality pizza, yet you encounter really bad pizza here all the time. Like many of our recipes, it seems that our determination to make the fastest and cheapest version possible produces some pretty terrible results.
posted by Demogorgon at 6:17 PM on January 26, 2009


Last year I discovered that the No-Knead Bread recipe adapts beautifully for pizza dough. Elegant: only flour, water, yeast, salt. I like using it in the summer when my garden is in full swing. In addition to olive oil and garlic, I top it with sliced tomatoes and fresh herbs (I grow tons of these) mozzarella, and pepper.
posted by sourwookie at 6:50 PM on January 26, 2009


If he's talking about Pontillo's, then yes, he is right. It is full of win.

There's no transcendent pizza in Memphis, alas. The closest thing is Memphis Pizza Cafe, which serves a barbecue chicken pizza that's pretty tasty--uber thin and crispy, almost cracker-like crust with good, fresh, Californian-style I suppose toppings.

But man do I miss New York.
posted by ifjuly at 7:26 PM on January 26, 2009


I hate pizza. There, I said it.

Liar. Nobody hates pizza.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:05 PM on January 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I agree with anyone else who claims that New Haven is the best there is. At least it's the best I've ever had. (This Grimaldi's sounds like it'd be worth a try, although I hardly ever have reason to go to Brooklyn. Guess now I have one.)

Of the three main places in New Haven, I'm partial to Modern — I give the pizza itself a slight edge on its own, and the service clinches it. For some reason it always tends to have more reasonable lines, too.

The Pepe's location that recently opened up in Manchester, CT is not as good as the original, just FYI. It's easier to get to, though (if you'd driving up 84 between Boston/NYC anyway), and I'm told by friends I have up that way that it's getting better. If you go there expecting merely good pizza you'll probably do okay; if you go there expecting the sort of OMGTONGUESEX that the New Haven location is frequently described as being, it'll probably be a bit of a letdown. It's probably the best pizza in the area, but that's not saying a whole lot, unless you're into the E.CT "Greek style" stuff.

Speaking of the "New England Greek" pizza … I've been trying to think of a diplomatic way to say this, since I feel like I have some loyalty to the area, but … man, that stuff sucks.

I always harbored a fair bit of bitterness that there seemed to be reasonably-decent pizza places on every streetcorner in New York and many of its suburbs, and New Haven has its own thing going, but when you cross the Connecticut River it's nothing (or was when I was a kid) but chains or the greasy Greek stuff. That rankled. Now there are some decent thin-crust places in and around Hartford, but all the "[town] House of Pizza" places are eerily similar.

Just as a note, I would not file Papa Ginos in under the "New England Greek" style heading. It is quite different; I'd say that PG is more of a faux-NYC/thin-crust thing. For chain pizza I actually think it's not bad at all, although they use too much oregano for my taste. I've always figured I'd hear that they'd gone out of business and a bit of my childhood had died, but they seem to be struggling along. (I've never been to a Papa Ginos that didn't look like it was about two months behind on the rent and six on the cleaning crew; it's just part of the charm I guess.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:28 PM on January 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


St. Louis Style is not pizza. STL Pizza is to Pizza as American Cheese is to Cheese. I might be one of the only STL natives that feels this way but I can't stand it. It almost sucks to go home because friends and family want to go get imo's.

I know pizza. If you ever are driving through Missouri on I-70, stop in Columbia and go to Shakespeare's. It's the best pizza I've ever had. It was so good I decided to get a job there to put me through college. Now I'm kind of a pizza snob. I can't eat pizza unless it fresh from the oven. I can easily tell the difference between brick oven and conveyor, machine rolled and hand-tossed.

The reason NYC has great pizzas is that the ovens have been properly seasoned with decades of grease and burnt crusts and countless other minutiae that make pizzas taste great.
posted by schyler523 at 10:05 PM on January 26, 2009


My favorite pizza in Los Angeles is Andiamo, in Silver Lake. Amazing stuff, really. Super fresh ingredients, fresh mozzarella, delivered on scooters.

It's making me hungry just thinking about it. Best pizza I've ever had.
posted by MythMaker at 10:31 PM on January 26, 2009


Oh man, this has me watering for two flagstone-sized slices of Koronet's pressed cheese-to-cheese into one of the finer examples of quantity over quality.
posted by headless at 1:22 AM on January 27, 2009


Liar. Nobody hates pizza.

Somebody does, and that somebody is me. Seriously.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 4:20 AM on January 27, 2009


Seriously, we don't believe you. ;)
posted by caddis at 4:38 AM on January 27, 2009


The problem with Pizza in New England is that it's =everywhere=... your average small town will have one McDonalds, and five mom'n'pop pizza parlors. The demand for even bad pizza is overwhelming, the only time they seem to go out of business is when the owner dies. Sturgeon's law is in full effect.

The trick is to to find the one place in town that makes really good pie. It will generally have a bar, and a wall mural painted by a member of the local highschool art club, and pretend to be an italian restaurant, but have a greek name. Don't bother with the spaghetti, and you will only be saddened by the garlic bread, but we are here for pizza!

The crust will be soft and bready in the middle, yet firm and crisp on the bottom - the bottom may have a little olive oil on it from the pan, but not a lot, and grease should never puddle or pool on top of the pie or anywhere in the box/on the platter.

White pizza (no sauce) with feta and olives is probably the single best application of the style.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:40 AM on January 27, 2009


The best pizza I ever had was at my aunt's house when i was 16 or so. It was almost completely homemade, with vegatables (green peppers and onions) from a garden and dough that had been made that morning. I think the sausage was from the store and the tomato sauce was from a can, but spruced up with basil and garlic.

20 years later, I still remember the surprise of my taste buds as they tasted something they had never tasted before and the struggle to remember my manners so I didn't eat it all myself.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:02 AM on January 27, 2009


Someone I went to college with had a theory that when it came to pizza in the United States that the closer you were to Italy, the better the pizza -- so by his scale, New York pizza was better than Chicago's, which was itself better than California's.

Curiously, the reverse is true in Canada. With all due respect to the donairs of Pizza Corner, pizza as she is practiced in Halifax is dismal: every slice I have ever eaten there was a leathery triangle, served slightly above room temperature, with chunks of cold raw tomato as the go-to topping. Raw fruit does not belong on pizza.

Travelling west, we pass through the mediocre pizzerias of Quebec City and Montreal, then we come to the mostly indifferent pizza of Ottawa. Ottawans are united in their approbation of Colonnade, but the best-kept secret is Isabella Pizza: Colonnade will make you a pizza almost as good at only half again the price.

With Toronto, we begin to find some serious noshage. Amato was a delight when I lived there, but I know they have had some business difficulties; I hope it is not taking any toll on the food.

In Edmonton, the Funky Pickle is superb, and there is a place that I enjoy in Calgary a great deal, but the name fails me (Carrie's, maybe?).

Vancouver is home to Flying Wedge, and the Gusto Pesto (mozzarella, cheddar, pine nuts and pesto) is incomparable. The odd thing is that when I lived in Van ten years ago, there was a widespread belief that snack foods should cost a dollar exactly (93 cents plus tax). Everywhere you went: 93 cent hamburgers, 93 cent falafels, 93 cent donairs, two samosas for 93 cents. And of course, 93-cent pizza slices. For ninety-three cents, you can get a slice of cardboard with some polyethylene melted on top. Flying Wedge made the amazing slices, but because they cost what pizza slices cost (three bucks or something), Vancouverites shied away in horror. All the more for me, I say.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:21 AM on January 27, 2009


klangklangston: I assumed that was what they meant by Detroit Style, but now I see that they mean Hungry Howie's, which isn't so much a style as some butter and garlic on the lip of the crust of a regular Midwest pizza

I think I need to set up IsHungryHowiesDetroitStylePizza.com with a giant flashing "NO." Examples of Detroit-style are Buddy's and Shield's - square, moderately thick crust with cheese then sauce on top.

Saying Hungry Howie's is Detroit style is like saying that Pizza Hut's pan pizza is Chicago-style deep dish - the kind of thing that can end marriages and engage you in fisticuffs.
posted by revgeorge at 7:41 AM on January 27, 2009


I know pizza. If you ever are driving through Missouri on I-70, stop in Columbia and go to Shakespeare's.

Seconded with my entire soul. My pie of choice there is wheat crust, pepperoni and pepper cheese. I'm drinking water right now from a Shakespeare's plastic cup that's moved with me to both coasts. I've ever had pies shipped to me. I've heard rumor that the quality has slipped in the past few years as they've expanded into more locations, but it's still got to be the best pizza in MO by a large margin.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:07 AM on January 27, 2009


I suppose this thread would not be complete without some mention of McDonald's pizza. In Canada, this was a product that was successful for maybe a year, or so: a crust not unlike Pizza Hut's pan pizza, and a finished product a few cuts above what comes frozen in a box.

But it took five minutes to prepare. Pretty good for pizza, but people complained it was too long to wait for McDonald's food.

So the story goes, they replaced with with something that... comes frozen in a box. And not long after it disappeared from the menu [board] forever.
posted by evilcolonel at 8:13 AM on January 27, 2009


Amato was a delight when I lived there, but I know they have had some business difficulties; I hope it is not taking any toll on the food.

That's an interesting way to say that they were savagely and flagrantly ignoring legally-required things like 'paying the employees' and so on. Admittedly, the pizza is damn good.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:47 AM on January 27, 2009


Speaking of the "New England Greek" pizza … I've been trying to think of a diplomatic way to say this, since I feel like I have some loyalty to the area, but … man, that stuff sucks.

While I understand where you are coming from, and Greek pizza does not exist in the same foodic universe as New Haven Italian, I must admit I enjoyed a one-person cheese-with-sausage from whatever that Greek place was that was a short walk from my Elm Street apartment—it cost three bucks or so and filled me up with enough grease and carbs and mystery meat to last me through a night of drinking and arguing with people at the all-night bookstore. Sometimes you want the summit of Mount Olympus, but sometimes it's too much time and trouble to get up there and you just want to hang out at the base and wallow.
posted by languagehat at 9:05 AM on January 27, 2009


"I think I need to set up IsHungryHowiesDetroitStylePizza.com with a giant flashing "NO." Examples of Detroit-style are Buddy's and Shield's - square, moderately thick crust with cheese then sauce on top."

The only reason Hungry Howie's is at all notable is that they regularly run specials where you can get two medium pizzas for $3 (and they have two days a year where they give them out for free).

They must be a mob front or something in order to make pizzas that cheaply…
posted by klangklangston at 9:17 AM on January 27, 2009


Hmm. I found Shakespeare's pizza good, but not spectacular. It definitely qualifies as the best pizza in Columbia, though.
posted by zsazsa at 11:38 AM on January 27, 2009


Lebanese pizza aka manakish is awesome. With labneh. Mmmmm.
posted by fiercekitten at 11:53 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


"ben, c'est un oeuf"

This comes from a misguided belief that anything you can put on a crêpe you can put on a pizza.

There's probably a Breton in this story somewhere.
posted by Wolof at 5:25 PM on January 27, 2009


A Breton would say that anything you can put on a galette you can put on a pizza.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:04 PM on January 27, 2009


As a St.louis-born pizza lover, one of the best birthday presents I have ever received was a couple years ago when my girlfriend got Imo's pizza (and a honkin' bag of toasted ravioli) delivered to us here in Seattle. I was completely taken by surprise. Yeah, a frozen-and-shipped-overnight Imo's pizza isn't as good as a fresh one, but I have yet to find a pizza in Seattle that compares favorably.
posted by mysterpigg at 3:28 PM on January 28, 2009


A Breton would say that anything you can put on a galette you can put on a pizza.

Quite. But they know fuck all about pizzas. And everything about crêpes.

Also, points for Norman hatred. It's what we do. A little spit at the Nantais is always welcome too. What is with those guys? They from Brittany or the Loire or what?

/former resident of Brittany
posted by Wolof at 10:45 PM on January 28, 2009


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