By Paige Wiser
Whose pizza is the best in the country? The battles have been savage. Brutal. And above all, greasy.
But there’s been a shocking development in the conflict. The Chicago-New York pizza wars finally have a victor . . .
. . . and it’s San Diego.
That’s according to a survey released from TripAdvisor, which ranked San Diego’s pizza No. 1. New York was ranked No. 4. Chicago didn’t even make the Top 10.
What? How? What?
“The top U.S. cities for pizza were determined by looking at the highest overall average rating of restaurants that serve pizza in each city,” explained a spokeswoman for TripAdvisor, without any apparent shame. “Each city has a minimum of 50 eateries that serve pizza. Although Chicago wasn’t in the top 10, it was number 15 on the list.”
Well, thank you for that, TripAdvisor.
But your methodology stinks. Your mob of crabby tourists has been reviewing pizza restaurants based on things like “value,” “atmosphere” and “service.”
As if that had anything to do with pizza.
San Diego should have done the right thing and refused the honor, like when Ving Rhames gave his Golden Globe trophy to Jack Lemmon.
You have not stayed classy, San Diego.
You are perhaps best known as the Gateway to Tijuana. You are the home of former mayor Bob Filner, who ruined a perfectly good scandal by being unattractive.
Please, San Diego. As if.
Tourists go there for SeaWorld’s turtle reef, not its regional pizza. Let’s be real: When it comes to pizza, San Diego has a very nice climate.
But the cheese gets even more tangled in the dispute over best pizza . Everyone wants a piece of the pizza supremacy pie. Why, for instance, is Pizza Today magazine published in Boston? And why, at the World Pizza Games in Las Vegas, is one of the strongest competitors from Finland?
This is not a world war. Chicago makes the best pizza, period. And New York is the only city we will deign to argue with.
It’s just so easy to taunt their limp, wussy dough, that orange grease. The main selling point of New York pizza is that you can fold a slice. I suppose that way, the pizza can be consumed while knocking off a liquor store, that kind of thing. It’s pizza for on-the-go rude people.
Chicago has nothing against convenience. But in 1943, a higher form of pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno. Some say it was founder Ike Sewall who pioneered the pie; others say it was original pizza chef Rudy Malnati who was the genius.
Either way, a Chicago-style slice of pizza is easily identifiable. The crust should be three inches tall, and you should be able to taste an entire stick of butter in it. The cheese-to-sausage ratio should make you tremble. You should never, ever attempt to lift a slice without a trained technician present.
In Bon Appetit magazine, Illinois’ Nick Offerman – who plays TV’s manliest character, Ron Swanson, on “Parks and Recreation” – explains Chicago’s dominance.
“If properly dried and trimmed, New York-style pizza could be used to make a box for Chicago-style pizza,” he said. “I love a slice when I’m in NYC, but it’s like eating a Slim Jim compared with a filet mignon. One slice of Gino’s East stuffed sausage pizza is a bigger meal than an entire New York pie.”
We’re Chicago. We don’t need affirmation. We don’t need the opinions of drunken tourists, snobby critics, or people with ugly accents.
Our pizza can beat up your pizza anytime, and everybody knows it.
So many pizzas …
But Chicago’s dominance doesn’t rely solely on its deep dish.
You want thin crust? You want Vito and Nick’s, who conveniently incorporate Chicago beef in their pizzas. You can add an egg to that, too.
You want pizza pot pie? You want Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co.
You want fancy? You want Balena’s grilled peaches, speck, tropea onion, chevre and arugula 12-incher.
You want alfredo sauce on your pizza? You want Gulliver’s.
You want mac and cheese on your pizza? You want Dimo’s.