Pizza may have been invented in Italy, but we’ve made it our own. It’s been computed that U.S. residents consume about three billion pies per year. There probably isn’t a town of more than a thousand people in America that doesn’t have at least one pizzeria, and many cities have developed identifiable pizza styles and traditions of their own. (These are the most iconic foods every state has given the rest of the U.S.)
Unique varieties aside, which cities are best for pizza lovers? The lawn care company LawnStarter recently surveyed the country’s hundred largest metropolises to compile a list of 2021’s best cities for pizza addicts.
The survey established rankings based on five metrics: total pizza purveyors per 100,000 residents, average cost of a pizza, search interest for “pizza delivery,” how that search interest compared to search interest for just “food delivery,” and the Instagram popularity of pizza businesses.
Pizza-lovers might find some surprises in the list. California has had a huge influence on the American pizza scene, for instance, thanks to the artisanal efforts of Alice Waters at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse and, even moreso, the widely copied post-modern pizza innovations of the ubiquitous Wolfgang Puck of Los Angeles. Yet the highest ranked California city on this list is San Diego, at No. 27 — and only four Golden State cities appear in the top 50. (The absence of Connecticut’s renowned pizza capital, New Haven, is doubtless due to the fact that it’s too small to have been included in the survey.)
The most popular pizza topping in the country by far (not counting the traditional pizza sauce and mozzarella) is pepperoni. It also functions as an edible illustration of how we have made pizza our own, since there’s no such thing as pepperoni pizza in Italy. (Here are 10 Italian dishes that aren’t really Italian.)
Sausage, mushrooms, and “extra cheese” are also common additions to pizza. Some top pizza cities have their own regional specialties, though, and these, added by 24/7 Tempo, are indicated in the list that follows.