Pizza restaurants have been a staple in American culture for as long as we can remember. But what is the history of pizza restaurants? 

First Pizza in America

Although there is quite a debate among pizza enthusiasts as to who actually started the first pizza restaurant, our research has narrowed it down to Gennuardo Lombardi, who opened a pizza restaurant in New York City in 1905. Pizza places were still somewhat scarce until the 1950’s when there was a boom of pizzerias in every major city in America, especially New York. By the 1970’s, pizza on a Friday night was every American family’s tradition, whether they were eating at their local pizzeria, taking a pie home, or having it delivered to their door.

From Taverns to Pizzeria

Most well-known pizza restaurants in the early days of its popularity started out as small taverns. Beer and pizza were sometimes all they served until the demand grew and the menus expanded. There are still several pizza restaurants in New York City that are 21 and over establishments due to their tavern beginnings. You can enjoy a cocktail at the bar along with a pie of your choice.

Pizza Chains

Chain pizza restaurants got their start in the late 1950’s with the first Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kansas. Chain pizza restaurants made massive amounts of pizza quickly and inexpensively. Over the next few decades, chains starting putting many authentic pizzerias out of business when they couldn’t compete with the incredibly low prices and fast turnaround. In recent years, small family-owned pizzerias have made quite a comeback. The ones that stand out from the crowd while making quality pizza do exceptionally well, chains or no chains.

If you’re looking for a quality pizza restaurant that makes everything from scratch and takes pride in their food, check out Pete and Elda’s / Carmen’s Pizza at the Jersey Shore. We make pizza the good old fashioned way; homemade and delicious.