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Pizza Styles: A Guide to Top Classic Styles

pizza-styles-across-united-statesCalifornia-style pizza refers to pizza with non-traditional ingredients, especially those that use a considerable amount of fresh produce. A Thai-inspired chicken pizza with peanut sauce, bean sprouts, and shaved carrots is a popular variant in California-style pizza restaurants, as are taco pizzas, and pizzas that use chicken and barbecue sauce as toppings.

Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.

Chicago-style pizza, or Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, contains a crust which is formed up the sides of a deep-dish pan. It reverses the order of some ingredients, using crust, cheese, filling, then sauce on top. Some versions (usually referred to as stuffed) have two layers of crust with the sauce on top. Chicago-style thin-crust pizza known in the greater Chicago area as a “Tavern Pizza”, has a thinner crust than Chicago-style deep dish, and is baked flat rather than in a deep dish pan. The crust is thin and firm enough to have a noticeable crunch, unlike a New York-style pizza, yet thick on the top. Chicago-style thin crust pizzas are cut into three-to-four-inch (8–10 cm) squares, also known as “party cut”, as opposed to a “pie cut” into wedges. Chicago-style thin crust pizza is prevalent throughout the Midwestern US.

Detroit-style pizza is also known as Sicilian Square Pizza. It is a square pizza, with a thick deep-dish crust with toppings placed under the sauce.

Greek pizza is a variation popular in New England; its name comes from it being typical of the style of pizzerias owned by Greek immigrants. It has a thicker, chewier crust and is baked in a pan in the pizza oven, instead of directly on the bricks. Plain olive oil is a common part of the topping, as well as being liberally used to grease the pans and crisp the crust. A significantly different variation in other parts of the country includes using feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and Greek herbs such as oregano.

New Haven-style pizza, also known as apizza, is popular in Connecticut. It has a thin crust that varies between chewy and tender, depending on the particular establishment. The default version is a “white” pizza topped with only garlic and hard cheeses; customers who want tomato sauce or mozzarella cheese have to ask for them explicitly. Apizza has a very dark, “scorched” crisp crust that offers a distinctive bitter flavor, which can be offset by the sweetness of tomatoes or other toppings. New Haven-style pizza is traditionally cooked in brick ovens.

New York-style pizza.

New York-style pizza is a style originally developed in New York City by immigrants from Naples, where pizza was created. It is often sold in generously sized, thin, and flexible slices. It is traditionally hand-tossed, moderately topped with southern Italian-style marinara tomato sauce, and liberally covered with cheese essentially amounting to a larger version of the Neapolitan style. The slices are sometimes eaten folded in half, or even stacked, as its size and flexibility may otherwise make it unwieldy to eat by hand. This style of pizza tends to dominate the Northeastern states and is particularly popular in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It is very similar to the basic style common throughout the United States, known simply as pizza. Many pizza establishments in the New York metropolitan area offer two varieties of pizza: “Neapolitan,” or “regular,” made with a relatively thin, circular crust and served in wedge-shaped slices, and “Sicilian”, or “square,” made with a thicker, rectangular crust and served in large, rectangular slices.

Tomato pies In the Philadelphia area these resemble pizza with sauce only, or sauce with ripe Roma tomatoes and spices but no cheese — and upside-down pizzas, i.e., the cheese on the bottom and topped with sauce.

White sauce pizza with clams
An example of Quad City style pizza.

Quad City-style pizza is a thin crusted dough that has a “spice mix” that is heavy on malt which lends a toasted, nutty flavor. The sauce contains both red chile flakes and ground cayenne, the smooth, thin tomato spread is more spicy than sweet. The sausage is a thick blanket of lean, fennel-flecked Italian sausage that’s ground twice and spread from edge to edge.

St. Louis-style pizza is a variant of Chicago-style thin crust that is popular around St. Louis, Missouri and southern Illinois. The most notable characteristic of St. Louis-style pizza is the distinctive Provel cheese used instead of (or rarely in addition to) the mozzarella common to Chicago-style thin crust. The toppings are usually sliced instead of diced. If ordered with sausage or hamburger, the meat is squeezed off by hand into marble-sized chunks. The crust is thin enough that it becomes very crunchy in the oven and is sometimes compared to a cracker. Even though the crust is round, it is always cut into small squares.

Old Forge-style pizza is a thin rectangular pizza popular in Northeast Pennsylvania. Although similar to Sicilian, Old Forge style pizza is made with a distinctive creamy cheese resembling fontina or White American. While Old Forge style pizza is most prominent in the town Old Forge, the pizza style is increasingly available throughout eastern Pennsylvania.

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