Skip to main content

America’s Regional Pizza Styles [MAP]

Popularized stateside in the years following World War II, pizza has cemented itself as a staple in American diets. While the dish may be native to Italy, Americans’ love for the stuff cannot be overstated. Every year, approximately 3 billion (yes, billion with a B) pies are sold, which breaks down to roughly 350 slices sold every second. But with a country as large as the U.S., there is bound to be some splintering regarding the true definition of pizza, as many regions have developed a pie of their own.

There also tends to be staunch disagreement surrounding which style of pizza is superior. Is it Chicago’s luscious, doughy deep-dish piled high with a plethora of toppings? Is it the coal-fired, sooty signature of the New Haven style? Or could California’s habitual piling of seasonal ingredients push it to the top?

With at least 15 distinct regional styles of pizza in the U.S., it can be hard to parse out exactly what separates one pie from the one native to the next region over. So, we’ve sorted through the multitude of pies prepped in the U.S. to figure out exactly what sets each region apart. Check out our map below for VinePair’s comprehensive guide to America’s regional pizza styles.


Altoona-style pizza is easily one of the most controversial methods of pizza prep on this list. Native to a small town in central Pennsylvania with a population of just over 43,000, the dish starts with a Sicilian-style dough that’s topped with a sweet tomato sauce, a ring of green bell pepper, and salami. Now, here’s where things go awry: The pizza is finished with a slice of American cheese or Velveeta before it enters the oven. After baking, the pizza is sliced into squares before it’s served.

Brier Hill-Style

While many styles of pizza have gained traction outside of their respective regions, others — like the Brier Hill-style — remain hits exclusively in their hometowns. Hailing from a neighborhood in Youngstown, Ohio, the pizza is characterized by medium-thick crust, a heaping of tomato sauce, bell pepper topping, and Pecorino Romano cheese in place of mozzarella.


Buffalo may be more famous for its namesake chicken wings, but the city also has its own unique style of pizza. Meeting at the crossroads between New York-style and Chicago-style, this take is known for packing a heaping amount of sauce and cheese on a mid-size crust. The style is also notable for the inclusion of charred pepperoni as a topping, which provides each slice with a delicious crunch.


While other interpretations may be characterized by crust size or cheese choice, California-style pizza is all about the toppings — bonus points if they come from the local farmers market. The style typically combines a relatively thick crust with the health-focused cuisine popular in the Golden State: Think produce like fresh lettuce, avocado, and endive. The style’s creation is generally credited to chefs Alice Waters and Ed LaDou (who also went on to create the famous smoked salmon and caviar pizza at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago).


Talk about a pie. Created in the early 1940s by Pizzeria Uno founders Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo, Chicago-style deep-dish is one of the most famous regional styles in the nation. Notable for its extremely thick crust and towering heights, it’s also recognizable for its toppings’ reverse-layering. As the pies and their dense crusts take about 30 minutes to fully bake through, cheese is added before the toppings and sauce to prevent burning.


Even though Colorado-style pizza is named for the entire state, the dish can only really be found at one local chain: Beau Jo’s. Also known as mountain-style, its dough is made from honey rather than sugar, which is shaped into a thick, braided crust. The height of the edges allows for a mountain (no pun intended) of toppings to be piled on top.


Founded at Detroit’s East Side restaurant Buddy’s Rendezvous Pizzeria (a.k.a. Buddy’s) in 1946, this style is rooted in the city’s history as an automotive industry hub. The pizza’s signature square shape comes from being baked in metal trays traditionally used to hold spare parts during auto work. Further separating the style from its counterparts is the reverse-layering of its ingredients and the use of Wisconsin brick cheese.

New England Greek-Style

Mostly made in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, this kind of pizza can be found at numerous shops in the region owned by Greek immigrants. Known for being extra greasy thanks to an abundance of olive oil, the pizza is also recognizable for its crispy edges as it’s baked in a pan rather than directly on the oven’s bricks. Topping-wise, one can expect tomato sauce, oregano, and mozzarella, but it isn’t unusual to see feta, kalamata olives, and artichokes heaped on top as well.

New Haven-Style

Known simply as “apizza” in Connecticut, the style’s signature thin crust and char are so popular in the region that it may give New York pizza a run for its money. Visually, the two styles may look similar, but New Haven-style dough is fermented for much longer, which results in a stretchier texture, a thinner crust, and a good crunch after baking. Plus, it’s cooked in a coal oven, which provides each slice with a healthy serving of soot, a staple of the style. Its creation is credited to Frank Pepe, who opened the beloved Frank Pepe Pizzeria in 1925. If you stop by the local chain, don’t shy away from the white clam pie, which is topped with freshly shucked quahogs.

New York-Style

New York is widely considered to be the home of the best pizza in the U.S., and its signature style is beloved for a reason. Its extra-large slices — typically between nine and 10 inches long — are intended to be folded, which is made easier by the ultra-thin crust. The style evolved from the classic Neapolitan style, and that’s why it most likely comes to mind when you envision a slice of pizza.

Ohio Valley-Style

The Ohio Valley style is another controversial method of preparation. Created in Steubenville, Ohio, the pizza is traditionally first baked with just tomato sauce. Post-oven, toppings — including cheese — are added cold before the pizza is cut into squares and served.


What makes Philadelphia-style pizza unique is its complete lack of toppings. Instead, the pizza (also known simply as tomato pie) consists of square-shaped, focaccia-like crust and a layer of tomato sauce. While not mandatory, most tomato pies are served with a small smattering of parmesan cheese dusted atop the sauce.

St. Louis-Style

While St. Louis-style pizza might be circular as a whole, its small, square, and extremely slices are what separates this style from the rest. Further differentiating the Midwestern city’s take is the use of “provel” cheese, a blend of provolone, Swiss, and white cheddar.

Quad City-Style

Hailing from the U.S.’s Quad City region — which covers Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline, Ill. — this pizza starts with a crust made with malt in place of sugar. This gives the bread a rich, toasted-nut flavor that complements the ground cayenne and red pepper flakes included in the tomato sauce. After the pizza is baked with an abundance of mozzarella cheese, the pie is cut with scissors into long, rectangular slices.


A quick, hour-long drive from Philadelphia, you’ll find another “tomato pie” hailing from New Jersey’s capital city. Trenton’s tomato pie is a derivative of the circular Neapolitan style, and its sauce is placed atop the cheese and other toppings instead of underneath.

*Image retrieved from petrrgoskov via

The article America’s Regional Pizza Styles [MAP] appeared first on VinePair.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.