Perusing pizza parlors


Nicolas Belcaro

To the average teenager pizza is an important part of daily life. But this urban delicacy has a farther reaching audience than most would expect. How did it gain such a foothold? The answer lies in Naples, Italy.
The food originated as a travel meal for the multitude of poor workers constantly on the move, and the food was even shunned by the more wealthy. This was until Queen Margherita visited Naples and tried a selection of pizzas. Her favorite, one with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and basil, has been known as pizza margherita ever since. It has rapidly spread through the country and was then brought over to America by Italian immigrants. By 1905, the first pizzeria opened in Manhattan, New York, named Lombardi’s.
On average, 350 pizzas are sold by the second, which is approximately three billion a year. Pizza is a big part of New Jersey culture, and it seems that you can’t go anywhere without seeing a pizzeria. However, New Jersey is only ranked third when it comes to consumption of pizza, with West Virginia ranked first, followed by Delaware. However this is per capita, so the densely populated New Jersey is at a considerable disadvantage.
The pizza known today greatly over shadows it’s more local-oriented cousin, the tomato pie. This dish, based mainly in Trenton, has chunky tomato sauce layered over its cheese, creating a new experience.
To quote Rick DeLorenzo Jr., who runs a pizzeria integral to the history of tomato pie; “normally, pizza is coated in cheese, and you take one bite and the cheese all comes off. With tomato pie, you really taste the tomatoes.”
Tomato pie definitely ranks itself among local New Jersey delicacies, like taylor ham and disco fries. But pizza still reigns supreme over its lesser known cousin, evident by the fact that most of us haven’t even heard of this dish before.
There are many more variations of pizza, like the self explanatory “pizza on a stick”, or rocky mountain pizza, which is made with a giant crust that you can dip in honey for dessert.
Here is a pie graph (or, pizza pie graph more like it) showing the preferred pizza place of  our student body. Unsurprisingly, Vesuvio’s is the most popular, however a large arrangement of other places appear.