We Love Pizza

"The Farmer" from Limestone Pizza in Lawrence, Kansas.
 
A recent United States Department of Agriculture study estimated that one in eight Americans consume some form of pizza on any given day. That number climbs to one in four for males, when looking specifically at Americans age 12 to 19. There’s no escaping it: pizza is engrained in the American diet.

A study from Priceonomics shows that most pizza places are concentrated in the Northeast, particularly Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Jersey. Median prices range from $7.25 to as much as $15, according to Priceonomics. The neighborhood pizza place and the typical franchise have much lower prices than artisanal wood-fire pizzerias. Other regional differences, like Chicago deep dish, lead to higher prices as well. Cities with the most expensive cheese pizzas in America are Buffalo, Nashville and San Francisco, according to the report.

The state with the most restaurants serving pizza is Connecticut, with 13.2 restaurants per capita, says the report, citing Datafiniti. Smaller northeastern states with large Italian populations dominate the list, including Massachusetts (11.7), Rhode Island (11.6) and New Jersey (9.6).

New York and Illinois, two states that are known for their distinct styles of pizza, are in the second tier of states, along with areas of the West, the Upper Midwest and Florida. States in the Deep South have the fewest number of pizza places per capita.

Limestone Pizza, which opened in 2014 in Lawrence, Kansas, is among the new breed of local pizzerias that focus on local ingredients and unique menu offerings. The shop’s most popular pizza is called The Farmer, topped with house-recipe bacon, gruyere, one locally sourced fried egg and swiss chard.

Bringing in local ingredients and baking from scratch is important to the owners, who have deep roots in the Lawrence restaurant community.

Executive chef Rick Martin worked at Free State Brewing for 20 years, chef emeritus Charlie Rascoll was a founder of Wheatfields Bakery, and head baker Mike Humphrey was the former head baker at Wheatfields.

The pizzeria serves Neopolitan-style pizza made with Kansas flour and baked in a wood-fired oven made from 20,000 pounds of limestone and French clay brick. Also on the menu are chicken wings, pastrami and grilled cheese sandwiches, light salads and bar snacks such as homemade mozzarella and pickles.

Gatti’s Pizza, based in Texas, is the descendent of the iconic Mr. Gatti’s family of pizza businesses. Mr. Gatti’s first opened its doors as The Pizza Place in Stephenville, Texas, in 1964. Gatti’s pizza is made with tomatoes that are fresh-packed four hours from harvest and steam-peeled. Dough is made fresh by hand daily and allowed to rise twice. Pizza is prepared in a copper-tiled, stone-fired rotary deck oven.

Pie Five Pizza Co. recently became the first casual pizza chain to introduce a cauliflower pizza crust. The new crust is gluten-free and contains 40 net carbohydrates, less than half of the net carbohydrates in any of Pie Five’s other crusts. “Cauliflower is exploding in popularity due to its taste and amazing health benefits,” says Christina Coy, vice president of marketing for Pie Five. “We were inspired to incorporate this versatile veggie to create a healthier crust that is still super delicious.”