Pizza is a staple of modern American life.
There are many variations on the original Neapolitan pizza that we cherish and create here at Vero Amore. From Neapolitan to Sicilian, or from Chicago-style to New York, there’s a world of pizza just waiting for you to take a bite. To whet your appetite, here are four fast facts about the beloved dish.
1. Early pizza was sold by street vendors.
The earliest pizza consumers, as we know, lived in Naples. They were also largely the city’s poorest residents, who required cheap, fast, and nutritious sustenance. Pizza was the answer, and the topping-bedecked flatbread was sold by street vendors throughout the city. Today street food in the US is associated with things like tacos, hot dogs, and snow cones, whereas pizza is confined to delivery, take-out, and sit-down situations. Either way, it is still one of the original fast foods.
2. Margherita pizza is named after Italy’s first queen.
According to historical lore, pizza Margherita is named for the first queen of Italy. Italy was actually a series of duchies and independent kingdoms up until 1861. The first king of unified Italy, Umberto I, traveled the country with his wife, Margherita, to spread patriotism during the years after the unification. Supposedly they tried the humble Neapolitan pizza varieties while visiting Naples, and Margherita loved the tomato-and-mozzarella variety so much that it carried her name after the visit.
3. 13 percent of the US population eats pizza every day.
Americans eat so much pizza that 1 in 8 people eats pizza on any given day. With a population of 318.9 million, that’s a lot of people eating a lot of pie. According to statistics from the US Department of Agriculture, men consume more pizza on average than women–particularly younger men (between the ages of 2 and 39). Yet although more than a quarter of boys aged 6 and 19 eat pizza on a daily basis, girls between the ages of 6 and 19 eat more pizza than boys or men in any age category. Preteens of all genders eat more pizza than everyone else, consuming two times the national average. Yet Americans in every age group consume pizza on a regular basis.
4. There were 73,097 pizza restaurants in the US in 2014.
Although 73,097 pizza restaurants may not sound like many in a country this big, that’s just the number of restaurants that are pizza-specific; the statistic doesn’t count restaurants that bill themselves as Italian and serve pizza among other things, or restaurants of other genres that happen to sell pizza. Pizza is everywhere, and although it may not be the No. 1 fast food item in the US (hamburgers win), it continues to grow in popularity. Year-end pizza sales for 2014 were $38.5 billion–which is 3 percent more than pizza sales were in 2013. Of those 73 thousand stores, 54 percent were independent pizzerias. The largest pizza chains contributing to the remaining 46 percent are Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Caesar’s, and Papa John’s.
Vero Amore is one of that 54 percent of independent pizza restaurants — and in a state that has a pizza market largely controlled by chain restaurants. It is also one of fewer than 100 pizzerias making certified Neapolitan pizza in the nation. (More specifically, Vero Amore was the first VPN-certified pizzeria in the state, 28th in the country, and 250th in the world.)