Pizza is one of the most universally beloved foods on the planet. It is avaliable in an infinite array of variations and is found in fine dining restaurants, takeaway hole-in-the-walls and supermarket frozen food sections in every corner of the globe. But how did pizza reach the pinnacle it sits upon today? The dish’s story is a long and interesting one, but for those looking for a quick rundown we’ve compiled a list of 6 crucial moments in the history of pizza.
Although it is impossible to pinpoint exactly when pizza was invented and who invented it, there is a story that most believe to be the origin of the modern dish. The tale takes place in Naples, Italy, around the end of the 19th century. Popular legend recalls that the classic marghertia pizza was invented in 1889 when Raffaele Esposito, a renowned chef, was commissioned to create a dish for Queen Marghertia.
Of the three different types of pizza he made for her, the Queen preferred one with red tomato sauce, white mozzarella and green basil – the colours of the Italian national flag. Thus the modern marghertia pizza was born.
It might be a bit of a stretch to attribute the proliferation of pizza throughout the world to a single pizzeria, but if you had to pick one, Lombardi’s would be your best bet. Widely accepted as the first pizzeria in the U.S., Lombardi’s began serving coal-oven pizza from his grocery store in Manhattan’s Little Italy in 1905.
Here Lombardi shared his knowledge and skills with many young proteges, some who went on to open pizzerias that would become famous in their own right. When Italian migrants began pouring into the U.S. after World War II, pizza well and truly exploded.
Pizza wouldn’t be where it is today without chains and franchises pumping out affordable and accessible pizzas that anyone can enjoy at any time. It all started in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas USA, when brothers Dan and Frank Carney borrowed $600 from their mum to open up a small pizza parlour. They called it Pizza Hut, and within a year the first franchised unit was introduced in Topeka, Kansas.
By the early 1970s, there were more than 1,000 Pizza Huts in the U.S., as well as locations in the UK, Canada and Japan. Today, there are over 11,000 Pizza Huts worldwide in nearly 100 different countries.
Pizza Hut may hold the torch for the first pizza chain, but it’s Domino’s that were the first fast pizza delivery service. Although the original incarnation of the restuarant – DomiNick’s Pizza in Ypsilanti, Michigan – was established in 1960, it was only when it was bought out and renamed in 1965 that it really began to take off.
Their “30 minutes or less” guarantee was just the beginning of a long list of innovations that kept Domino’s at the fore of fast delivery service, including their revolutionary insulated bags that keep pizzas hot while being transported.
Frozen pizzas emerged in the 1960s. The Celentano Brothers hold the trophy for the first frozen pizza brand. But it was the Rose and Jim Totino that perfected the art of making them taste almost as good as they would be fresh. They sold their frozen pizza empire in 1975 for $22 million dollars.
Pizza wouldn’t be where it is today without a little creativity. For many years, the dish was a fairly straightforward affair: fresh dough, herbs, cheese, sauce and meat. This all changed in 1962 when Sam Panopoulos – a Greek pizza maker living in Canada – decided to add pineapple to his ham pizza as a novelty to attract customers (this was a time when tiki culture was huge in North America). This little creative flair sparked a revolution for pizza ingredients. Today you will find just about anything on top of a pizza, from exotic cheeses and chillies, to lobster and caviar, and even kangaroo.
Without these visionaries, pizza would not be where it is today. Here at Manoosh, we are proud to be serving some of the best pizzas in Sydney, as well as an array of authentic Lebanese eats, vegan and vegetarian delights, and delicious deserts.