Are you a pizza fan? If yes, then might be question you might have thought of once in your life: How did the Pizza come to America? According to one consumer study, 93 percent of Americans eat pizza at least once a month. In fact, on Super Bowl Sunday, more pizzas are eaten than on any other day of the year.
Pizza is believed to have originated in 1889, when the Neapolitan pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito was tasked to create a pizza in honor of the visiting Queen Margherita. In doing so, he used ingredients that corresponded to the colors of the Italian flag: tomato (red), basil (green) and mozzarella cheese (white). He will be then later on known as the first to add cheese to the tomatoes and basil. Pizza, since then, was brought to America by Italian immigrants.
The story of pizza in America, however, starts in New York City on Spring Street in lower Manhattan, in 1905. Gennaro Lombardi, a baker and pizzaiolo from Naples, applied to the New York City government for the first license to make and sell pizza in this country. A little history on Lombardi first: He came to America at the age of 14 and was already a known baker. He eventually found work in a Brooklyn bakery and a grocery store on Spring Street in Manhattan. Lombardi had frequently thought of baking pizzas at the bakery and so he did, by selling them the next morning at the grocery. Later on, he was eventually granted the license to make and sell pizza. Lombardi’s Pizza business then started at his grocery store on Spring Street.
Now we know the American pizza’s origins but how did it become popular thereafter? Pizza becoming a part of American life began after World War II, when American soldiers stationed in Italy returned home with a craving for the pizza they tried there. In 1945, Ira Nevin, a returning soldier, built the first gas-fired Bakers Pride pizza oven which would allow pizza makers to bake pizzas quickly, cleanly, efficiently, and of course, in an inexpensive manner. After this discovery, pizzas became more easy to make since then, so a lot of bakers tried and have incorporated their own flavors into each of their creations.
Pizza became diverse, but very popular. Between 1945 and 1960, pizzerias began multiplying in number over the country. Between 1960 and 2000, the number of independent pizzerias decreased markedly while the number of pizza chain outlets was still rising. Because of their popularity and accessibility, many people had their first exposure to pizza in a chain restaurant. Pizza in America, as we know today, had roots of authentic Italian flavor but now with a modern American twist.