New York-style pizza

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New York-style pizza
New York Pizza Slices.png
Type Pizza
Place of origin United States
Region or state New York City
Main ingredients Pizza dough, tomato sauce, mozzarella
Cookbook:New York-style pizza  New York-style pizza

New York-style pizza originated in New York City in the early 1900s, and in 1905, the first pizza establishment in the United States was opened in New York's Little Italy.[1][not in citation given] It is known for its large, wide, thin, and floppy yet tough shape.[2] The pizza is sold by the slice and as a whole pie, and is particularly popular in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Regional variations exist in Northeast and other states in the U.S.


The first pizzeria in America was founded in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi in Little Italy, Manhattan.[3] As an immigrant from Naples, and a pizzaiolo, he opened a grocery store in 1897 which was later established as the first pizzeria in America in 1905 with New York's issuance of the mercantile license.[3] An employee of his, Antonio Totonno Pero, began making pizza for the store to sell that same year. The price for a pizza was five cents, but, since many people could not afford the cost of a whole pie, they would instead say how much they could pay, and they were given a slice corresponding to the amount offered. The pizza was wrapped in paper tied with string. In 1924, Totonno left Lombardi's to open his own pizzeria on Coney Island called Totonno's. The original pizzerias in New York utilized coal brick ovens and cooked their pizza with the cheese on the bottom and sauce on top. Unlike many modern variations, these pizzas were made with high quality ingredients such as homemade fresh mozzarella and robust crushed tomatoes. Sallys Pizza in New Haven Connecticut opened in the same year. It was voted best pizza in the country several times. It is similar to the two shops mentioned above.

Pizza is a very popular food in New York City. In the year 2010, over 400 pizza restaurants were listed as existent in the city, including those named some variant of "Ray's Pizza". Additionally, numerous restaurants exist that primarily specialize upon other foods, but also prepare pizza.[2]

Characteristics and preparation[edit]

The traditional toppings are tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, with any additional toppings placed with the cheese.[4] It is traditionally hand-tossed[4] and light on sauce.[3] The slices are often eaten as a fast food or "street snack" while folded in half, as its size and flexibility sometimes makes it unwieldy to eat flat. Additionally some pizza can be greasy, folding it, holding it at the tips of the crust and tilting the slice back a little allows one to let the grease drip onto a plate or napkin without getting on one's hands.

The most notable difference between New York-style and other American pizzas is its thin hand-tossed crust, made from a high-gluten bread flour. The flavor and texture of the crust has sometimes been attributed to the minerals present in the New York City water used to make the dough.[5][6] Some out-of-state pizza makers even transport the water cross-country for the sake of authenticity.[7][8]

New York-style pizza is usually sold both by the slice[6] and as a whole pie, hence, customers at pizzerias typically use the term "slice" to refer to an individual slice of the pizza, while "pie" denotes an entire pizza pie. Slices are taken from a large pie, which is typically around 18 inches (45 cm) in diameter, and commonly cut into 8 slices. Pizzas to be sold by the slice are sold with or without toppings. Pizza slices without toppings are called "plain" slices, although they are also sometimes referred to as "cheese" or "regular" slices. While many New York pizzerias also have slices with various toppings ready to serve, they invariably have plain slices ready to go and can provide slices with toppings by adding them on prior to re-heating. New York pizzerias generally have condiments that can be added to the pizza after serving. Common condiments include oregano, grated Parmesan cheese, dried red chili pepper, and granulated garlic.

Also served in the New York metropolitan area are rectangular or square-shaped slices with much thicker dough called Sicilian slices,[3][6] though they often differ considerably from the true pizza of Sicily. In some cases at shops offering both, normal New York-style is distinguished as "regular" or Neapolitan pizza, although the relationship is distant.

Relatives and regional variations[edit]

The New York-style of pizza tends to dominate some of the Northeastern states, notably New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Additionally, variations of New York-style pizza are existent in Northeastern states.[4] Outside of the Northeast, many pizzas are described as "New York style,"[2] including some by major pizza chains such as Pizza Hut.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Asimov, Eric (June 10, 1998), "New York Pizza, the Real Thing, Makes a Comeback", New York Times, retrieved September 24, 2006 
  2. ^ a b c Jackson, Kenneth T.; (et al.) (2010). The Encyclopedia of New York City (2nd edition). Yale University Press. pp. (unlisted). ISBN 0300182570. Retrieved November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Otis, Ginger Adams (2010). New York City 7. Lonely Planet. p. 256. ISBN 1741795915. Retrieved November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c MacKenzie, Shea (1995). The Pizza Gourmet: Simple Recipes for Spectacular Pizza. Penguin. p. 81. ISBN 089529656X. Retrieved November 2012. 
  5. ^ Gilbert, Sara. "New York Pizza: is the water the secret?". Slashfood. Weblogs, Inc.September 26, 2005.
  6. ^ a b c Downing, Johnette; Kadair, Deborah Ousley (2011). Today Is Monday in New York. Pelican Publishing. pp. (unlisted). ISBN 158980886X. Retrieved November 2012. 
  7. ^ Cornwell, Rupert. "New York's 'Champagne Tap Water' Under Threat". The Independent UKJuly 21, 2006.
  8. ^ Wayne, Gary. "Mulberry Street Pizzeria". Seeing Stars in Hollywood. 2008.

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