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Pizza in America

03/08/2013 10:50AM ● Published by Style

Pizza by the slice

A brief (one-sided) history…

I’m Irish-Italian from New Jersey, and frankly those are all the credentials I need when it comes to pizza. Now you have probably heard that pizza can be traced back to caveman days when toppings included wooly mammoth, teradactyl, and the like. But here in the USA it started around 1900 when 4 million Italian immigrants arrived on our shores.  In 1905, Gennaro Lombardie applied for and received the first license to make and sell pizza in this country. Where you ask? New York City of course. Then it was on to N.J., Connecticut, Boston, and San Francisco.  But it wasn’t until after the war when Pizza really caught fire, thanks in big part to a returning GI by the name of Ira Nevin. Ira built the 1st gas fired BAKERS PRIDE oven. These ovens allowed for pizza to be cooked a quickly, cleanly and most of all - cheaply.

Pizza began to fill an important place in the socio-economic foundation of our country as of the 50’s and 60’s as more and more people turned to pizza for lunch, dinner and snacks, and pizzerias became a place to meet friends, dates, you name it. Of course you may look at the growth of chains like Pizza Hut as both a blessing and a curse, but make no mistake about it – pizza as a ‘food category’ was growing and growing and it and continues to do so today.

Back to Folsom now, and the important question of where to go locally – and really, since you are likely not from NJ, where pizza is life, we suggest trying them all. However this pizza lover bee-lines it for his favorite 2 spots when the pangs hit: Pronto’s on Iron Point (yes, you can buy a slice!) and Visconti’s in Broadstone. the last sentence in this piece to: Diane and Joseph at Pronto’s are from New Jersey and the Visconti’s (Mom& Dad) hail from Italy. So who wins the ‘Pizza shoot out’ here according to this Jersey Boy? Here is what I will tell you - you can’t go wrong here - they are different and they are both very, very good. Do I know what I’m talking about? - Fughettaboutit! <hr>

Pizza by the Numbers
(USA Annual)

  • $32 Billion in total sales
  • 46 – avg. # slices eaten per person
  • 3 billion – total pizzas sold
  • 61% of Americans prefer thin crust
  • 252 million – lbs. of pepperoni eaten on pizza
  • 93% of Americans eat at least
  • 1 slice per month
  • 9000 – Total # of pizzerias in N.Y. alone!
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