Home Events + News New Jersey Might Be the Pizza Capital of the World

New Jersey Might Be the Pizza Capital of the World

by Steph
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We have Napoli’s, Grimauldi’s, Margherita’s, we now have Manhattan fan-favorite Artichoke Pizza, and we even have Tony Boloney’s — where anybody’s and everybody’s dreams can come true and they can order a pizza slice the size of a newborn baby. In short, New Jersey has good pizza. But does the state of New Jersey have the best pizza? Like, in the world? Well, New Jersey seems to think so. At least enough to call itself the pizza capital of the world. Find out if NJ really does have the best pizza in the entire world below.

New Jersey’s History of “Declarations”

We all know the @NJGov Twitter is ~LiT~* {and has been for a while now} but none of us could have foreseen the account proclaiming itself the pizza capital of the world back on National Pizza Day {which was on February 9th} . “This Sunday, in honor of #NationalPizzaDay, we will be declaring NEW JERSEY: THE PIZZA CAPITAL OF THE WORLD. Get ready,” according to the tweet.

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Of course, this isn’t the first time the official New Jersey Twitter account has made a brash declaration. You may remember that just a month ago, the account also went viral for a bagel-related controversy. It all started when @NJGOV declared itself the “bagel capital of the world” during #NationalBagelDay, which prompted Twitter users in other areas to weigh in pretty emphatically.

A large consensus among Twitter users was that New York has some of the best bagels. Even users from Montreal came forward on the Twitter thread, questioning the self-proclaimed title.

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But whether or not you believe New Jersey to be the bagel capital of the world, the question remains: Where does New Jersey stand when it comes to pizza?

See More: For Your Next Mutz Craving: Italian Delis in Jersey City You Must Try

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Peter Genovese, a food columnist for NJ.com, put his personal stamp of approval on the proclamation, tweeting, “As the person who has eaten at more NJ pizzerias than anyone on earth, I support this message.”

He wasn’t the only person on Twitter to approve. Senator Michael Testa tweeted, “Finally, something @GovMurphy and I agree on.”

But others weren’t so keen on the distinction and again, many users came forward suggesting that New York pizza {specifically New York City’s pizza} deserved such a title instead.

“Born and raised in NY, those are fighting words! I’ve never heard of NJ style pizza,” one user wrote. Another tweeted, “That don’t look like New York.”

Other people nominated Pennsylvania {specifically Old Forge, PA} and many users called out New Haven, Connecticut for having the best slice in the Tri-State area.

“That’s a funny way to spell Connecticut,” another user commented.

Read More: The Daily Meal Names Razza in Jersey City in ‘Top 50 Italian Restaurants in the U.S.’

The History of Pizza

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Now, those users speed-tweeting about Old Forge, Pennsylvania might just have a leg or two to stand on. Google “Where’s the pizza capital of the world?” and indeed, it’s Old Forge, PA that comes up first.

According to a 2017 article from USA Today, Old Forge’s title is also self-proclaimed, but while you may not hear “Pennsylvania” and immediately think of pizza, this old mining town has quite a decorated pizza history. That’s because Old Forge makes its own specific style of pizza. You’ve heard of New York-style or Chicago deep-dish, but there’s Old Forge-style pizza, too.

The story goes that the original Old Forge pizza began at Ghigiarelli’s in 1926 when Grandma Ghigiarelli served rectangle pizza to the local miners at her bar. The rest is history — literally — and people loved the rectangle pizza so much that to this day, many pizza cafes {which is what they are called locally, according to USA Today} still serve the Ghigiarelli rectangle pie.

Of course, the history of pizza itself goes much further back than the 1920s. The word “pizza” was first documented in A.D. 997 in Gaeta, Italy, but “decorated baked bread” has popped up historically in Greece, France, Persia, and of course, Italy.

In 16th-century Naples, Italy, pizza was just that, a “decorated” flatbread that was not a household name. In fact, it was sold on the streets; not something made in a kitchen or restaurant. By 1889, pizza maker Raffaele Esposito invented the “pizza margherita,” which featured — for the first time ever — tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Esposito specifically chose these ingredients because they emulated the colors of the Italian flag and since he was presenting the pizza margherita to the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, Esposito wanted the pizza to be a display of nationalism.

The Final Verdict

So, whether or not  New Jersey is the pizza capital of the world is still TBD. However, what we do know is that New Jersey has some darn good pizza. Some of the best in the country and certainly some of the best in the Tri-State area.

#NationalPizzaDay may have passed, but when you live in New Jersey, every day is National Pizza Day. So,  you celebrate by ordering your favorite slice from your favorite local pizzeria tonight. With every bite, you can take comfort in the fact that you reside in one of the self-proclaimed pizza capitals of the world!

Got a news tip? Let us know — email us at [email protected]! We appreciate it.

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Did you know: We started a podcast about all things news and lifestyle in Hoboken + Jersey City! Listen to the latest episode of Tea on the Hudson here and subscribe.

We release new episodes every Tuesday!

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