How Pizza Came To America

Jan 20 08:33 2012 Abigail Aaronson Print This Article

Have you ever wondered how pizza crossed the ocean and became the staple American food that it is today? Here's a look at the history of this dish in the United States.

Pizza first came to America with the flood of Italian immigrants moving there in the late 19th century. They brought this tasty dish to the Italian neighborhoods of major urban areas. It was sold by street vendors and restaurants in cities such as New York City,Guest Posting Chicago and Philadelphia. The story is often told of street vendors who walked the streets of Chicago carrying a washtub full of pizzas on their heads, selling pies for 2 cents. This is the way the dish was traditionally sold in Naples, the town of its origin.

America's First Pizzeria

The founding of the first pizzeria in the United States is the stuff of legend. Most people believe that the first pizzeria was the one opened by Gennaro Lombardi in Manhattan in 1905. He was an Italian immigrant who ran a grocer. He founded a small pizzeria on Manhattan's Spring Street. It was just a little hole in the wall that didn't even have chairs until the 1930's!

Lombardi's shop pioneered the selling of single slices. Until that time, it was sold as whole pies only. They were sold for 5 cents a pie. Since most people couldn't afford this and wanted just a quick meal, he started slicing up the pies and selling the individual slices for more cheaply. Lombardi's original store closed its doors in 1984 but it was reopened down the street in 1994 with Lombardi's grandson running the restaurant.

American Pie

Before World War 2, you could only find this delicious dish in the Italian neighborhoods of major cities. There wasn't a pizzeria on every street like there is now. However, after the war, there were two things that boosted the popularity of this dish.

The first was the servicemen that were stationed in Italy during the war. While over there, they developed a taste for this simple and easy-to-eat delicacy. They came back from the war and began seeking out pizzerias and telling everybody about it.

The other factor was the popularity after the war of Italian celebrities like Dean Martin, Jimmy Durant, and Frank Sinatra. As these celebrities became household names, so did the Italian food they loved to eat. Spaghetti and other types of pasta became staples of the American dining room table.

The Perfect American Meal

Pizzerias began popping up everywhere. Pizza is perfect for American tastes. It's a food that's easy to eat by yourself, but can also be enjoyed communally. It's great for parties and kids love it. It goes perfectly with beer, making it the best choice for bars and Super Bowl parties. It's a cheap, satisfying meal that everybody enjoys.

Pizza went from a Naples street vendor food to become one of the world's favorite dishes. There are regional styles all over the United States and the entire world. Americans now eat about 9 acres of it in one day. This Italian dish has quickly become an American staple.

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Abigail Aaronson
Abigail Aaronson

When it comes to pizza Reston residents have many delicious and nutritious options available to them for their next birthday party, corporate meeting or just-for-fun afternoon. Get the down-low at

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