The History of the Pizza Parlor

Half BBQ Chicken and Half Buffalo Chicken Pizza | The History of The Pizza Parlor

Written by Tuscan Pizza Team

We're an awesome group of pizza loving fanatics. When it comes to making and eating pizza, there is none greater than the Tuscan Pizza team. Come say hi the next time you're in the area. Live, love, pizza!

September 15, 2018

Change can be scary, but when it comes to pizza it can also be extremely exciting. Like most things in life, pizza and pizza parlors are constantly evolving. Without change, the history of pizza wouldn’t be as interesting as it is. The history of the pizza parlor is also filled with change. It went from a specialty shop to a significant cornerstone of cities and towns across the world.

So let’s take a look at the evolution of the pizza place.

The Origin of Pizzerias – 1905

The modern pizza place wouldn’t be anything without the structure the first pizzeria established. In the US, Gennaro Lombardi is often credited with selling the first coal-oven pizzas out of his grocery store in Manhattan. As far back as 1905, he helped pizza become a lunch staple amongst regulars. And so Lombardi’s grocery store is generally considered the first pizzeria in the US.

Lombardi’s remained the only US pizzeria until 1910. That year, Joe’s Tomato Pies opened its doors and became the second pizzeria established in America.

While modern pizzerias serve customers from all nationalities, the original Italian-inspired pizzerias were more or less a club-house for Italians to feel like they were at home. The concept of chain pizzerias would probably shock Lombardi.

The First Pizza Revolution – 1943

At this point in time, pizza was rapidly gaining popularity and more and more pizza places started popping up everywhere. And so with more pizzerias serving more customers, the first pizza revolution began.

During the 1940s, local pizzerias started to appear, giving birth to many different styles of pizzas. In 1943, at a small shop in Illinois, someone at Pizzeria Uno decided to make a pizza using a cake mold. They loaded the dough with toppings and sauce, giving birth to what we we consider a deep-dish style pizza.

Pizzas continued to change over the years and eventually, the first frozen pizzas hit the market in 1957. This opened the doors to a new way for customers to enjoy pizza.

The Original Pizza Parlor – 1958

Up to this point in time, pizzerias were family-owned and operated (just like ours). But in 1958, that all changed. A group of pizza lovers decided to open a 25-seat pizza parlor. In just a short amount of time, it became the first pizza chain location.

The Farm-to-Table Pizzeria – 1980

Pizza chains may have continued to expand, adding more and more locations, but a counter-revolution occurred in the ’80s. All across the US, there was a huge shift from chain pizzerias to farm-to-table restaurants.

This movement opened the door to many artisan pizzerias that strictly used local products, presented a more family-like vibe, and started producing pizzas that were highly personalized. This was the exact opposite approach that chain pizzerias used to produce an incredible amount of food in such a short amount of time.

The Pizza Place Comes Home – 1995

No matter how you feel about frozen pizza, it opened a world of possibilities. By the mid-90s, a second revolution, known as “take and bake,” was underway. Just like today, customers would buy an uncooked pizza and bake it at home. These easy-to-make pizzas took the pizza place into people’s homes.

Suddenly, Americans didn’t have to leave the house in order to enjoy pizza. All they had to do was head into their kitchen and ten minutes later dinner was served.

This is also right around the same time that delivery gained speed. While it appeared like frozen pizzas were going to threaten local pizzerias, delivery made certain that it was just as easy to enjoy pizza from a local spot as it was to make your own at home. A simple phone call is all it takes to have a fresh made pie delivered to your doorstep.

The innovation of the pizza parlor went from people driving and visiting their local pizza spot to having their local pizza spot come to them. It was a brilliant strategy that still remains today.

The Modern Pizzeria

In the 2000s, Tuscan Pizza and many other pizzerias brought back the personal experience of family-owned and operated shops. While chain restaurants are capable of producing an unprecedented amount of pizzas in a short amount of time, small pizzerias like ours are capable of building relationships with their customer base.

Our customers expect great customer service, excellent food, and a friendly atmosphere. We like to think we’re capable of providing that experience because of the hard work our family puts into making each pizza. But it wouldn’t be possible without having loyal customers that can taste the difference between good and great.

The Future of Pizza

The history of the pizza parlor is far from being complete. The future will certainly contain even more innovation. Who know’s what that means exactly, but one thing is for sure – we’ll be here to help reign it in.

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