ELV note: John Arena — The Godfather of Las Vegas Pizza — has owned and operated our local Metro Pizza restaurants with his brother Sam for over thirty years. He is also (and ELV uses this phrase with the utmost affection and admiration) a pizza geek of the first order. The following article was written by him for a Chinese pizza magazine (!?), that wanted him to explain the ins and outs of American pizza types for its entrepreneurs and readers. It does a wonderful job of illuminating (in exquisite pizza geek detail) what differentiates pizza from region to region in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Buon gusto!
PIES IN THE SKY
While Italy may rightfully claim to be the originators of the dish that we have come to know as pizza, there can be little doubt that the United States has developed the most diverse expressions of this culinary mainstay. This is a result of many factors including cross cultural influences, creativity, and the vast array of ingredients and equipment available to ambitious American based pizza chefs. Unlike classic French cuisine, the rustic Italian cooking arts that inspired American pizza are highly regionalized and resistant to rigid structure and rules. Students of the pizza making craft have felt free to experiment and innovate so that in the US we now have dozens of identifiable pizza making styles often coexisting side by side.