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Pizza cut into squares...a Chicago thing?


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On my current blog thread, someone asked me if pizza cut into squares was a "Chicago" thing. It sure is common around here and I don't remember seeing it done in too many other places. Anyone know the story behind the "square cut" pizza?

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Just a guess:

Old time Chicago Italians--like my Nonna-in-law, preferred to make pizza at home in rectangular pans. The square cutting style transferred over to the professional places. Maybe.

It's way easier to cut than a wedge, especially if you want a lot of pieces.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Rectangular pans and square slices have been around the upstate ny area for many years. My guess is that generally speaking, you could fill more surface area with rectangular pans than round, in a square pizza oven.

woodburner

Edited by woodburner (log)
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As I mentioned in my reply on your blog, ronnie, squares are sometimes seen in the Twin Cities.

Interesting about pizza. When we live in the city (Minneapolis) all of the local little pizza joints were squeezed out by Pizza Hut and Dominos, except for Broaday which cuts the 'za into squares.

Now that we've moved to a 'burb, local pizza joints abound.

Our new favorite is but two blocks away. Pizza Flame. A chain, but with only two joints, and family owned. The mom and I have kids in the same class at the same school and both chaperone field trips (OT, I know). But, the pizza is great. Cut into squares. Not greasy. Crisp crust (thinner, I think, than what you portrayed, ron).

The square cut pizza. Until a couple of months ago, those little corner pieces that are almost all crust were mine. The kids have discovered them, much to my :angry:

And, I like to sprinkle crushed red pepper on my pizza slices. I think sausage and onion are my favorites at The Flame.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Mentioned in Ronnie's blog, the most frequent appearance of square pizza in the NY/NJ/CT area is on Sicilian pizza--which is almost universally available. Other square cut pizza is pretty rare, but in the few other cases I've seen is almost REALLY thin crust (as opposed to Sicilian style, which is VERY thick).

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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I grew up in North Jersey and there it was called Sicilian pizza.

Here in Philadephia you can find it, too, particularly at Italian bread bakeries where they make a rectangular pie out of their standard bread and slather some sauce (gravy) on top. Sarcone's makes a good one.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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On my current blog thread, someone asked me if pizza cut into squares was a "Chicago" thing.  It sure is common around here and I don't remember seeing it done in too many other places.  Anyone know the story behind the "square cut" pizza?

It seems that we are focused on "square cut" pizza, on a rectangular base, that is prepared thick.

Perhaps the questions should be: Is the round thin crust pizza, that is cut into squares, a Heartland phenomenon? Just like the blue cheese stuffed olives to garnish a martini.

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Ted's pizza just down the road from me in Farmington MN servers their pizza cut in squares.

I also believe that Basils and Bill's pizza in Northfield MN do it the same way. It has been quite a few yrs since i have been to the Northfield places. I would highly reccomend all 3 places...they all serve a pretty mean pizza!

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Very thin, crispy crust Chicago pizza cut in squares (whether a round or rectangular pie) was the pizza I always went for around there. If you try to cut that super thin crust into big wedges it just doesn't work.

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Who knows. Pizza is cut in squares for the same reason Chicago people don't call the interstate highways by their numbers. Kennedy, Eisenhower, Stevenson... now once again, is that 90 or 94 ON THE MAP!?!?!?

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We have thick crust square cut pizza here in Jersey (Sicilian).

As for Chicago style, thats not pizza, it's a casserole... :wink:

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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A Chicago thing? Naaah... it's all over Italy - sold mainly to tourists in every Piazza.

It's called "al taglio", and it's easier to eat, while walking around and looking around at the Italian architectural wonders, than the triangular slices.

It's been around for ages.

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One of our favorite pizza places in Toledo (Inky's) cuts theirs in rectangles. Once down the middle and then straight cuts perpendicular. The corner pieces are long triangles, and the middle pieces are all rectangles.

I'll need to go soon and take some pics!

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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As for Chicago style, thats not pizza, it's a casserole...  :wink:

LMAO! We're not discussing "deep dish" here. Are you just trying to be controversial? :biggrin:

I guess I'm in the vast minority of locals...more or less burnt out on "deep dish" and eternally obsessed with thin crust pizza. That's pretty much blasphemy around these parts. I do love that Chicago has its own "style" of pizza and it's great when you're in the mood but for me that's only about once a year.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I guess I'm in the vast minority of locals...more or less burnt out on "deep dish" and eternally obsessed with thin crust pizza. ...

The thinner, the better. ChefG had the thinest and smallest slice of pizza I ever had. You would have to use a micrometer to measure the thickness of it.

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St. Louis Imo's pizza is thin almost cracker like crust cut into squares. Plus it features the infamous and oft maligned PROVEL cheese (I believe it is a mix of smoked mozzerella and provolone).

Regular consumers are almost all familiar with Imo's Pizza Burn which comes when piping hot cheese sticks to the roof of your mouth.

DD

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As for Chicago style, thats not pizza, it's a casserole...   :wink:

LMAO! We're not discussing "deep dish" here. Are you just trying to be controversial? :biggrin:

I guess I'm in the vast minority of locals...more or less burnt out on "deep dish" and eternally obsessed with thin crust pizza. That's pretty much blasphemy around these parts. I do love that Chicago has its own "style" of pizza and it's great when you're in the mood but for me that's only about once a year.

=R=

Thin crust a blasphemy?!! :shock: Tain't that a shame. When I was a kid around Chicago (no not 100 hundred years ago :raz: ) you just didn't see all that thick doughy crust. Thin was in. No cheese and sausage casserole in a pan. Hey, if you wanted a lot of bready dough that's what bombers were for. :wink:

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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