Latest “Pizza Polls” Show Americans Prefer New York-Style to Neapolitan Pies

| Wed, 09/13/2023 - 08:00
Preparation of a New York-style pizza

A recent report by the Washington Post found that Americans like New York-style pizza — the thin, cheesy, by-the-slice type — over other kinds of rotund flatbreads served in the United States.

The “saucy” results were determined based on an analysis of more than 7.5 million reviews collected from the crowd-sourced business review site Yelp. According to the Washington Post’s research, New York-style pizza is by far the most popular variety in 42 out of the 50 US states and in the District of Columbia. 

Coming in a distant second was its Italian predecessor, Neapolitan pizza, which emerged in its current form around 1889 in Naples. As the story goes — though some say it’s, ahem, half-baked — Queen Margherita of Savoy was touring southern Italy and took a liking to the simple, round bread sold by street vendors around the city. She summoned chef Raffaele Esposito to the palace to make her a pizza, which he aptly named the “Margherita.” 

Further cementing pizza’s geographical origins, at least on paper, the Neapolitan culinary art of pizza-making (l’arte del pizzaiuolo napoletano) was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2017.

When Italians arrived on the shores of the US in the 19th and early 20th centuries, they brought with them the savory, doughy treat. One hundred-plus years on, this doctored take on traditional pizza has become an integral part of the United States’ gastronomic identity — considered as American as apple pie. The Post reported some 80,000 small-chain and independent pizza restaurants across the nation.

The top types of pizzas in the United States, ranked 

Some of these fanciful flatbreads may be less widely familiar than others (“New Haven pizza,” anyone?) Pie styles are listed in descending order of popularity.

1. New York: Grab-and-go slices.
2. Neapolitan-ish: The original, made to eat with a fork and knife. 
3. Chicago: Deep-dish, stuffed with ingredients.
4. Detroit: Burned-bottom capped with caramelized cheese.
5. Sicilian: Square-shaped and pan-baked.
6. Greek: Often topped with kalamata olives and feta cheese.
7. Thin: Self-explanatory.
8. Brooklyn: Thin with a crispy crust. 
9. Indian: Like Greek, but made with South Asian-inspired flavors.
10. Tavern: Starts out round, but is cut into little tiny squares.
11. Grandma: Long-island origins, similar to Sicilian.
12. New Haven: Thin and coal-fired.
13. California: A fancy, fusion invention.
14. St. Louis: A cracker-like crust made without yeast.
15. New Jersey: Generous toppings and a crust that snaps when you fold it.

See the Washington Posts full report on the top pizza styles stateside here.