Maybe you’ve read a bit about the history of pizza in Milwaukee, thanks to Bobby Tanzilo’s piece on the city’s first pizza. If you haven’t, you probably didn’t know that while pizza arrived in New York City in 1905, Milwaukee’s first pizza restaurant didn’t open until 1945, and it didn’t even start out serving pizza.
It’s true. Pizza is a young gun in comparison to foods like cheese and beer. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less beloved.
According to national statistics, over 40% of the population eats pizza at least once a week, with over three billion pizzas sold each year. And pizza restaurants comprise nearly 20% of the restaurants throughout the country.
We consume around 250 million pounds of pepperoni each year, and mozzarella cheese accounts for almost 80% of the Italian-style cheeses produced in the U.S.
And, here in Wisconsin, we consume more frozen pizzas per capita than any other state in the union.
Coincidence? I think not. People are passionate about pizza.
Yet, no one seems to agree
But pizza isn’t a one-size-fits all proposition. That’s proven by the sheer number of pizza joints you’ll find across the city, as well as the diversity in styles, which ranges from “Milwaukee style” thin crust to Neapolitan, pan and deep dish. Some are baked in convection ovens; others are fired at high heat in gas or wood-fired ovens. As a result, each has its own unique character, which is further enhanced by the flavor of its sauce and the character, and combination, of its toppings.
In fact, you can learn more about the different styles of pizza in our city (Milwaukee style, Neapolitan, wood-fired and more) by taking a look at our our Knead to Know series.
Our Bobby Tanzilo has his go-to favorites, as does Rick Rodriguez, who spent the better part of four years cataloging his weekly pizza intake and sharing the fruits of his labor. And I spent about four months eating deep dish pizzas in order to bring you the best of the best in Chicago-style pies. I also found that, while there are a lot of deep dish pies out there, very few are actually Chicago style.
Let’s eat some ‘za
Maybe you’re craving pizza from your favorite neighborhood spot. That’s cool. But if you’d like to branch out, here’s a list of new pizza restaurants that have cropped up in the past year or so.
But, before you place your order, be sure to read this.
As it turns out many of us aren’t getting the most out of our pizzas when we order them for carry-out or delivery. Fortunately, these simple tricks are the secret to far superior take-out and delivery pies.
Hungry for more?
Pizza as a force of good
At its best, pizza has the power to create connections in an otherwise disparate world, as our Molly Snyder found out during the adoption of her son in Guatemala.
Triangles or squares?
Turns out could argue all day about whether our pizza should be cut into triangles or squares, a topic that’s widely debated in Milwaukee, sometimes passionately.
Listen to the pizza experts
Who knows pizza better than the folks who proof the dough? On the FoodCrush podcast, Matt Mueller and I have talked with numerous folks about the secrets behind amazing pizza, including Chef Andrew Miller of Flourchild , Chef Dana Spandet of Flour Girl & Flame, Chef Kyle Toner and Paul Damora of Sorella and James Durawa and Anne Brock of Wy’East Pizza.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.