Brief History of Pizza

Brief History of Pizza

Pizza as we know it in the United States probably only dates back a few generations. As you will see, American know-how completely reinvented the "classic" pizza. That thick crust pie piled high with oodles of cheese, pepperoni, sausage, and endless tomato sauce is about as American as it gets. Hot dogs and hamburgers are All-American? No more than today's pizza.

Of course, pizza dates way back having been first invented in Italy a little over 1,000 years ago. Classic pizza comes from Naples where it got its start in the late 1700s. In those days all cooking was done over a wood fire. So it only makes sense that pizza was beloved mainly because of the marvelous qualities only a genuine wood fire oven can deliver.

Pizza mostly remained in Italy with a few immigrants bringing their traditional comfort foods with them through Ellis Island. Before World War II pizza was limited to Italian neighborhoods. After WWII thousands of American soldiers returned home from Europe and quickly spread the word of this wonderful new "Pizza."

Pizza caused such a sensation in the 1950s and 1960s that restaurants sprang up everywhere. Shakey's pizza, very popular in the 1960s, first opened in Sacramento, CA in 1954. The first Pizza Hut opened in Wichita, KS in the summer of 1958. Dominos began in 1960 when Tom Monaghan and his brother James bought DomiNick's. It was a small pizza store in Ypsilanti, Michigan near Eastern Michigan University. The rest is history.

If you have been to Italy and eaten pizza there, you probably noticed some differences from the way we make pizza in the USA. Traditional Italian food did not use much or any meat. Back in the day meat was expensive and difficult to get. Even today Italian pizza in some quarters often has a thin crust with sparing cheese topping. Americans compare it to a big grilled cheese tortilla.

The United States has always been a big producer of beef, pork, and chicken. It has only been recent that most Americans will consider a meal without meat as a main dish. So pizza has always featured a meat topping here in the US. Our pizza has a thicker crust and lots of meat and cheese. Just the way we like it!

In the end, freshness matters more than crust thickness and topping choice. With a Firewalker Oven, you have control over both.