Written by Pierce Lydon • October 5, 2023
One of the most coveted comfort foods, pizza is the food served at childhood birthday parties, Friday night family dinners, and late night cravings-induced drive-bys.
Not all pizzas are created equally, and this is true not only from pizzeria-to-pizzeria, but also state-to-state. In this article, we’re comparing different styles of pizza so you can decide which pizza is the best pizza.
To kick off our comparison, we’ve got to start with the classic New York slice. New York style pizza is generally a Neapolitan-style pizza with a thin crust. You’ll find pizza makers throwing pizza dough high into the air, as hand-tossing is the traditional method of getting the texture and size just right. On top, you’ll find a marinara sauce reminiscent of southern Italy, and mountains of mozzarella cheese. Other common toppings include peppers, pepperoni, burrata, and more. New York style pizza is sold by the slice, and don’t be afraid to fold it in half so you don’t end up with cheese all over your shirt.
And don’t forget the Sicilian slice, also called the “grandma slice.” This is also considered a classic New York style pizza, even though it varies from the aforementioned thin slide. The Sicilian slice, also found throughout the east coast, is a square pizza topped with cheese, tomatoes, and pepperoni that pucker up under the heat of the oven. The crust is thick, almost like focaccia bread.
Next, let’s head to the Midwest for one of the most famous styles of pizza, the Chicago style deep dish. Chicago style pizza begs you to eat it sitting down in a wholesome, welcoming pizzeria surrounded by friends and family. This pizza is at least one inch thick, and the order of operations varies from what’s considered traditional pizza: first the thick bready base, then the thick layer of cheese, then topped off with a tasty tomato sauce.
This pizza, which takes much longer to bake because of its delicious heft, is often compared to a casserole. It’s a classic type of pizza generally sold by the pie, and the favorite of many Midwesterners.
About five hours from Chicago is St. Louis, a city known for its jazz and the Gateway Arch. They also have a unique style of pizza that comes in squares rather than slices. While these pizzas are still round, the pizza maker will slice it into rows and columns for what’s called the “party slice.”
St. Louis style pizza is extremely thin-crusted, with a flaky and crunchy base. This base does not contain yeast, so it doesn’t rise like other doughy pizzas. Many people compare St. Louis style pizza to the taste and texture of a cracker, though let’s be clear that it should be compared to a cracker with iron structural integrity that can hold up all ingredients on its way to your mouth.
These pizzas use Provel cheese rather than mozzarella, giving it a distinct taste. What is Provel cheese? Good question, and the answer isn’t readily apparent (trade secrets), but it has a smoky taste with a blend of many other types of cheeses.
Heading to the other side of the Midwest, the Detroit style pizza is a pan pizza whose crust is thick and chewy. Detroit style pizzas are rectangular rather than circular, similar to the Sicilian slice over in New York. This style of pizza is made with handfuls of Wisconsin brick cheese, a layer above the base and another above the sauce and toppings. You’ll be fighting over the corner pieces, as the cheese oozes and melts just right.
This style of pizza was refined and perfected during the heyday of the automotive industry. It’s a no-nonsense pizza that doesn’t take a lot of fuss to make, perfect for factory workers’ lifestyles.
The west coast holds the California style pizza, perhaps popularized by the aptly-named California Pizza Kitchen. California style pizza deviates from the traditional tomato sauce pizzas and includes diverse flavors. Some of these flavors are inspired by entirely separate cuisines, resulting in Thai chicken pizza or taco pizza. You can also find BBQ chicken pizza or something with avocados on it.
California style pizza has a thin crust but loads up on fresh toppings, which can include olives, arugula, tomatoes, peppers, prosciutto, and more.
Last on our list is the Greek style pizza, which is geographically tied to New England, no doubt a result of the many Greek immigrants that arrived in past decades. Greek style pizza also has a thick crust that is easy to bite into, and is generally baked directly in a metal pan rather than a pizza oven. This pan is placed on the bricks of a hot oven, where the cheeses can sizzle and its oils toast the edges of the crust.
For toppings, olive oil is poured out, with feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and the seasoning oregano. It’s a delicious mix of taste and texture that fits any situation perfectly.
Is your mouth watering yet? No matter your preferred style of pizza, you can’t go wrong with any of these main American styles of pizza. If you’re looking for a pizza perfect for your office meals, check out CaterCow’s selection of pizzas from your local area.