August 30, 2012 |


By Pizza Today



The original. The standard by which all other pizzas are judged.

A Neapolitan pizza is defined by the ingredients used to make it and the way it is cooked. Special flour, tomatoes and cheeses must be used to qualify as Neapolitan. Additionally, these pizzas must be cooked in wood-burning ovens.

The hallmarks of a Neapolitan pie are easy to see: charred crust, sparse topping application, a raised border.


Photo by Rick Daugherty

Many similar styles exist throughout the country. In the Midwest, for
example, deep-dish pizza is prominent. The differences between a pan pizza and a Sicilian pie can be subtle.

The trademark of a Sicilian is that it is baked in a rectangular pan and cut into squares. Some places throughout the U.S. serve Sicilian-style pizza by the slice, but it’s more common to see these offered only as whole pies.


Photo by Josh Keown

Its thin crust and oblong shape immediately distinguishes a Roman pizza from other styles. Sometimes these pizzas are sold by weight or by the meter, which is certainly unique (and rare) here in the U.S.


Photo by Josh Keown

The most imitated style of pizza in the United States.

New York-style pizzas feature oversized, foldable slices that can be eaten on the go.

A raised border and thin center are indentifying markers that prove New York pizza evolved from its Neapolitan forerunner.

The first licensed pizzeria in the U.S., Lombardi’s, opened in New York City in 1905. Pizza has been a national hit ever since.


Photo by Rick Daugherty

Another pizza style that evolved from Neapolitan and New York roots, with noticeable variations.

New Haven-style pizzas are thin, crispy and oval shaped. Since they are always hand formed, no two are ever quite alike, and that’s the beauty of it.

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria owner Bill Jacobs, our 2011 Independent of the Year, does a nice job of breaking down New Haven “apizza” in his article that begins on page 12.


Photo by Josh Keown

In Trenton, New Jersey, folks don’t go out for pizza. They go out for “tomato pies.”

The obvious hallmark of this style is that the sauce goes on top of the cheese (some customers prefer the pies with no cheese at all, as seen in this photo).

While not a common style throughout the U.S., tomato pies certainly have a rabid fan base in Jersey.


Photo by Josh Keown

Chicago is home to many styles of pizza, but none is as well known as the deep-dish, stuffed variety.

Essentially a casserole of delicious ingredients, Chicago-style pies are hearty and filling. It’s no wonder plenty of Windy City tourists don’t leave town without trying an authentic version for themselves.


Photo by Josh Keown

While most people think of deep, stuffed pizzas when Chicago-style pies are mentioned, the fact of the matter is that there are plenty of pizzerias in the Windy City that only serve thin-crust pizza.

Also called tavern-style pizza, these pies typically feature a crispy crust. Also, they’re quite often cut into squares.


Photo by Rick Daugherty

Deep, oiled squarish pans are used to bake these beauties, which are closely related to Sicilian and “Italian bakery” style pizzas.

Though not always, Detroit-style pizzas sometimes are twice baked to achieve a crispy finished texture.


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Photo by Josh Keown

The most common style of pizza in the U.S. Though based on New York-style pizza, these pies can be hand-tossed, hand formed on the make line or even put through a pizza press.

They feature the raised border reminiscent of New York pizza, but are typically just a little thicker throughout and often utilize more cheese.


Photo by Josh Keown

Particularly popular in the Midwest, this style of pizza speaks for itself. It’s a close cousin to the Chicago stuffed pie, the obvious difference being that all the toppings are placed on the top and there is only one layer of dough.

Deep-dish pizza is sometimes cut into wedges, sometimes cut into square slices.


Photo by Rick Daugherty

Typically, these pizzas have either a Neapolitan or New York-style crust as the foundation. The focus on these pizzas? Freshness and creativity.

California artisan or gourmet pizzas utilize a range of ingredients and toppings. Nothing is off limits as establishments that serve this style continue to push the envelope and experiment with
local produce, exotic meats or alternative sauces.

GRANDMA — These pizzas originated on Long Island and really haven’t spread outside of New York. Think of a thin crust version of a Sicilian pie.

Here are a handful of other styles that you may or may not have heard of:

Grilled Pizza — A specialty of Providence, Rhode Island, and a newfound favorite of adventerous home cooks everywhere. This thin-crusted pizza is cooked exactly as its name implies — on the grill.

Old Forge — A cousin of the Sicilian style, albeit a little thinner. Like Sicilian, cut into squares.

St. Louis — What makes this pizza unique is the cheese blend: provolone, swiss, white cheddar. That’s right, no mozz! Beyond that, this is essentially a Midwest thin-crust pizza.

To view videos on how to make many of the pizzas featured in this special issue, visit The Video Gallery at