It's a contentious question; one that has torn apart Salt Lake City families for generations: What's your favorite local slice of pizza?
A recent inquiry on City Weekly's Facebook page quickly garnered responses ranging from "I prefer to cook my own—always better!" to "I do not want a slice. I want authentic Chicago-style deep-dish stuffed pizza. That's what I want," and "The Pie or Este," followed by another commenter's note that "Both are overrated. Good, for sure. But I've had better."
Though it's recorded that ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks ate flatbread topped with olive oil and seasonal produce, modern pizza can be traced back to 18th-century Naples, where the lazzaroni—the poorest in the kingdom—would munch on the quick and inexpensive treat. In 1889, when Queen consort Margherita of Savoy (the Kim Kardashian of her time), visited the region and got bored of the haute cuisine being thrown at her, lore has it she ordered pizza topped with mozzarella, tomato and basil, and went to town. A legend was born in 30 minutes or less.
According to a report by the Department of Agriculture, pizza is now a global obsession—to the tune of $37 billion annually being spent on the stuff. In the United States, on any given day, 13 percent of the population over age 2 consumes pizza, and out of that chunk, people get a fourth to a third of their daily energy from it (it also accounts for 39 percent of our saturated fat intake, but hey, let's focus on the positive).
Today, pizza toppings in restaurants around the country range from frog legs to squid ink and mac 'n' cheese to mini hot dogs (insert your cardiologist's reaction here). You traditionalists out there will rejoice in knowing that for our first pizza issue, we kept it simple. Check out the story of three men with a quarter century of pizza-making experience here. Both lovers and staunch opponents of fruity toppings get their say, and we also offer a crash course on which beer best suits which pie.
In the mood yet? Come hang at our second annual Pizza Party at the Hellenic Cultural Center (279 S 300 West) on April 23.
Whatever you do, just don't become a pizza archetype. Here are four profiles to avoid like the Noid. After that required reading, check out our handy-dandy directory featuring more than 50 local pizzerias that get the job done. While you're munching on a slice, take a stroll through a pepperoni-paved memory lane to remember local pizza joints that time (and your tastebuds) forgot.
So join us on this cheesy adventure by popping a frosty one and donning your eatin' pants. Oh, and feel free to get some grease on these pages. We won't judge.