Who doesn’t love pizza? It’s one of the most popular food items in the world. This cheesy pie is loved by many, partly because of how customizable it is; pizza can be crafted to fit each individual pallet.
Let’s take a look at the history and evolution of this delicious dish, from Ancient Greece to the modern day. Whether you’re looking for trivia questions for game night or are just curious about this insanely popular meal, these interesting facts about pizza might just inspire you… to go and order a pizza.
39 Interesting Facts About Pizzas
Want to know what different countries put on top of their pizzas? Or the different styles you can order? Let’s dive into the top mouthwatering facts about pizza.
1) Pizza Was Invented in Naples, Italy
The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans ate flatbread with toppings, similar to focaccia.
But it’s believed that the modern pizza (consisting of flatbread, sauce, and cheese) that we know and love today was invented in Naples, Italy, in the 18th century.
2) The First Ever Pizzeria Opened in Naples, Italy
Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba is the world’s first documented pizzeria. It was established in 1738 as a stand for peddlers, and then in 1830, it opened its doors for business in the center of Port’Alba, Naples, Italy. It still operates to this day.
3) The First Pizzeria in the US Opened in New York City
Lombardi’s was the first pizzeria in the United States. It was opened by Italian immigrant Gennaro Lombardi in New York City in 1905. The restaurant still stands and is a beloved staple in the city’s Italian dining scene. They specialize in thin-crust, coal-fired pizza.
4) Gennaro Lombardi Created the New York-Style Pizza
New York-style pizza is characterized by a thin crust with wide slices that are crispy on the outside yet able to be folded and eaten on the go. This style began being sold at Lombardi’s in New York City in 1905. It’s one of America’s favorite pizza styles.
5) Napoleon-Style Pizza Is the OG Pizza Style
Napolean-style is the original style of pizza created in Naples, Italy. It’s made with simple ingredients, usually just tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
However, to be considered a true Napolean-style pizza, the tomatoes must either be San Marzano tomatoes or Pomodorino Vesuviano tomatoes. These two varieties grow on the volcanic plains south of Mount Vesuvius.
6) Sicilian-Style Pizza Is Square
Sicilian-style pizza originated in Sicily, Italy. It features a thick, square crust with pillowy dough.
It’s usually topped with onions, anchovies, tomatoes, and strong cheese, like caciocavallo, parmesan, or toma. Or, sometimes, the cheese is left off.
7) California-Style Pizza Is Famous for Its Unique Toppings
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California-style pizza is made using gourmet ingredients. It was created in the 1970s by Chef Ed LaDou. It later inspired the chain restaurant California Pizza Kitchen, which opened in 1985.
For more on the Golden State, check out these fun facts about California.
8) Chicago-Style Pizza Adds the Sauce After the Cheese
Chicago-style pizza contains a doughy pizza base that’s usually 2 to 3 inches thick. The cheese and toppings go directly on top of the base, and lastly, the chunky tomato sauce. Since the dough is so thick, the tomato sauce goes on top to keep the cheese from burning.
As you can imagine, this style of pizza is usually eaten with a fork and knife.
9) St. Louis-Style Pizza Has a Very Crispy Crust
St. Louis-style pizza has a thin, cracker-like crust that’s made without yeast. Due to its consistency, it’s usually cut into small rectangles shapes. It features cheddar, Swiss, and provolone cheeses, along with your favorite toppings.
10) Detroit Style Pizza Has Ties to the Auto Industry
Detroit-style pizza was created in the 1940s and baked in a rectangular automotive parts pan, which paid homage to the city’s automotive roots.
It has a chewy, thick crust and is traditionally topped with a rich tomato sauce and Wisconsin brick cheese that’s placed all the way to the edges of the pan.
11) In the US, Pepperoni Is the Most Popular Pizza Topping
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Americans’ pizza topping of choice is pepperoni, followed by mushrooms and extra cheese.
12) In Japan, Squid and Mayo Are Popular Pizza Toppings
In Japan, squid and Mayo Jaga (which is a combination of mayo, bacon, and potato) are pizza topping staples.
13) In France, Potatoes and Fresh Cream Are Enjoyed on Pizza
In France, you’ll see many pizzerias offering potatoes, fresh cream, bacon, and onion on pizza.
14) Anchovies Are the Least Popular Pizza Topping
Anchovies are the least popular pizza topping in America. According to a pizza survey conducted by YouGov, 61% of people voted anchovies as their least favorite topping. This was followed by eggplant, artichokes, broccoli, and pineapple.
15) The Margherita Pizza Was Named After a Queen
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The Margherita pizza was named after Queen Margherita of Savoy in 1889. However, it’s debated exactly how the pizza got its name.
Some say that the queen’s favorite pizza toppings were mozzarella, tomato, and basil. Others say that it was created in honor of Italy’s unification and that the toppings of tomato, basil, and mozzarella represent the red, green, and white on the Italian flag.
16) Hawaiian Pizza Was Created in Canada, Not Hawaii
Hawaiian pizza is traditionally topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, pineapple, and sometimes bacon. Despite its name, it was created in Canada, not the state of Hawaii.
Greek immigrant and pizza shop owner Sam Panopoulos came up with the sweet and savory concoction in 1962. It was a big hit and eventually spread all over North America.
17) Pineapple Is a Controversial Pizza Topping
Whether or not pineapple should go on pizza is a very controversial issue. In 2017, YouGov publically polled pizza eaters in the UK and found that 53% of Brits liked pineapple on their pizza, and 41% disliked the topping.
The pizza-ordering app, Slice, polled 34,000 people in the US and found that 54% disliked pineapple on pizza.
It seems like this pizza preference also depends on where you live. Hawaiians and Canadas seem to favor this fruity topping compared to Americans and Brits.
18) Mozzarella Is the Most Popular Pizza Cheese
Mozzarella is the most common cheese to put on pizza. This is because it melts well and doesn’t get oily or lumpy. But you can put all different types of cheese on pizza. Some of the other popular options are provolone, cheddar, parmesan, and fontina.
19) Pizza Sauce Can Be Very Healthy
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Pizza doesn’t have to be an unhealthy dish, and one of the pie’s star ingredients proves that. Classic tomato sauce is packed with vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. Tomatoes are also a major source of lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that can help lower the risk of certain types of cancer.
20) Pizza Comes in Many Different Forms
Pizza doesn’t just come in a flat, open circular shape. A calzone is a folded-over pizza that’s baked with the sauce, cheese, and toppings inside it. Pizza rolls are bite-sized pizza pockets stuffed with cheese, sauce, and various toppings.
Pizza pinwheels roll the dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings up into a tube shape; it’s then sliced and baked.
21) Pizza Was Popularized in the US After World War 2
Although pizza was eaten in the US prior to World War 2, it didn’t gain popularity until after US soldiers returned home from the war. It’s thought that the American soldiers who were stationed in Italy grew to love pizza and likely helped make the dish popular upon returning home.
22) Frozen Pizza Was Invented in the 1950s
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In 1950, Philadelphia native Joseph Bucci in Philadelphia created the first official patent for frozen pizza. He titled it “Method for Making Frozen Pizza.” However, his product wasn’t hugely successful or tasty. It was just a pizza base with sauce and cheese; toppings were optional. Many compared the taste to cardboard.
In the 1960s, married couple Rose and Jim Totino launched their frozen pizza brand, Totino’s. By the end of the decade, the name Totino’s had taken over the frozen pizza industry on a national level. This successful pizza brand is still around today and available in the freezer section of many grocery stores.
23) 350 Slices of Pizza Are Eaten Every Second
Americans love pizza–but who doesn’t? According to the National Association of Pizza, about 350 slices of pizza are consumed every second in the United States.
24) In the US, One Whole Month Is Dedicated to Pizza
October is national pizza month in the US. This month-long pizza observance has been celebrated since 1984. It was created by the pizzeria owner and publisher of Pizza Today magazine, Gerry Durnell. He chose October because this was the month that the first issue of the magazine debuted.
25) Roughly 13% Of Americans Enjoy Pizza on Any Given Day
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducted a survey on pizza consumption in the US. They found that around 13% of Americans aged 2 and over enjoyed pizza on any given day.
26) Pizza Is a Very Popular Food Choice Among Men
According to the same pizza consumption survey conducted by the USDA, more than 1 in 4 men aged 6-19 years eat pizza on any given day.
27) In the US, Halloween Is the Most Popular Day of the Year for Pizza
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As of 2021, Halloween (October 31st) is the most popular day in the United States to order pizza. This day is followed closely by Super Bowl Sunday, the day before Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve.
28) Sunday Is the Most Popular Day of the Week to Order Pizza
The most popular day of the week to order pizza seems to change each year, but currently Sunday is the most popular day to enjoy pizza, followed by Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is the least popular pizza day.
29) 93% of Americans Indulge in Pizza Once a Month
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According to a survey by Mintel, it’s estimated that 93% of Americans eat pizza at least once per month.
30) The World’s Largest Pizza Has a Title in the Guinness Book
The world’s largest pizza was created in Rome, Italy, in 2012. It had a surface area of 13,580 feet. The pizza was named “Ottavia”, after the Roman Emperor. It’s listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
31) Domino’s Pizza Is the Most Popular Pizza Chain in the World
As of 2017, the world’s most popular pizza chain in terms of global sales is Domino’s Pizza. The company has more than 17,000 pizza stores in 90 countries, and this number continues to grow.
32) The Founder of Domino’s Pizza Has a Degree in Pizzerology
Tom Monaghan founded Domino’s Pizza in 1960. He started a business management program called “Domino’s College of Pizzerology”. Only himself and two other people hold a “Doctor of Pizzerology” degree.
33) Domino’s ‘30 Minutes or Less’ Pledge Was Subject to Several Lawsuits
In the 1980s, Domino’s Pizza came out with a guarantee to deliver pizza in 30 minutes or less, or it was free. The slogan was hugely successful and saw sales skyrocket. However, it also caused many car accidents as some believed it promoted unsafe driving.
In 1993, Jean Kinder sued Domino’s after being hit by a delivery driver. She won her case and was awarded $78 million in damages. After this, Domino’s dropped their 30 minutes or less delivery promise.
34) Pizza Hut Is the World’s Second Most Popular Pizza Chain
Prior to 2017, Pizza Hut was the world’s most popular pizza chain in terms of global sales. Today, they hold the number 2 spot. Although, they are the largest pizza company in terms of locations. There are currently over 18,000 Pizza Hut restaurants in more than 100 countries.
35) Pizza Hut Once Put Out a Perfume
Pizza Hut Perfume was a limited edition fragrance released by Pizza Hut Canada to commemorate the company’s Canadian Facebook page reaching 100,000 fans. It smelled like freshly baked, hand-tossed dough.
36) The Most Expensive Pizza Costs $12,000
The most expensive pizza costs a staggering $12,000. It’s called Louis XIII and was created by pizza master chef Renato Viola.
The dough takes 72 hours to prepare and is made from organic flour and pink river salt. It contains rare and expensive ingredients, like three different kinds of caviar, lobster from Norway, and seven types of cheese.
37) There’s a Movie With a Pizza Superhero
“Pizza Man” is an action/sci-fi movie that was released in 2011. It features Frankie Muniz, who plays a pizza deliveryman who acquires super strength after eating a genetically altered tomato. He then has to battle a large corporation to save the world and get the girl of his dreams.
38) There’s a Pizza Museum in Philadelphia
Pizza Brain is the name of a museum in Philadelphia that contains the world’s largest collection of pizza memorabilia. It was certified in 2011 by the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s a one-stop shop for pizza fans as the museum also operates as a restaurant serving whole pizzas or pizza by the slice.
39) Las Vegas Hosts an Annual Pizza Expo
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An International Pizza Expo takes place each year in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s the world’s largest gathering of members from the pizza industry. Unfortunately, it’s not open to the public. You have to be in the pizza business to attend.