I pine, you pine, we all pine for pizza. But we are all seeking something different.
Columbus a city of transplants—and most come to the capital for a job, not our pizza. As much as many have grown to love our Columbus-style pizza (think Donatos and Masseys) it doesn’t make the cut for many Columbus immigrants, especially those from New York and the Jersey shore. Most of us fall for the first pizza pie we try as kids—that first slice becoming the template for what we expect and want pizza to be. When we head home, that pie is one of the first foods we seek out. Pizza freaks know there are many styles of pizza, and some pizzas have stronger claims to fame than others. A few of the better-known styles are: New York, Chicago, California, New Haven, and Neapolitan. Some lesser-known styles hail from Detroit and St. Louis. No matter how you slice it, the pizza you grew up eating is what you crave the most. If you are looking for a hometown pie or want to understand what else is out there, we’ve created a guide to finding the piece that will bring you peace.
Chicago Style (deep dish)
Defined: Created in 1943 at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago, one or two slices of this bulky beast will create a meal for most. The crust has a medium thickness throughout, with ingredients layered in reverse order (top to bottom): sauce, cheese, then toppings. This style is cooked slowly at low temperature so the two- to three-inch high pie won’t burn to a crisp. I’ve searched high and low, and I’ve only found three places that serve a deep dish pizza that the Windy City might accept as it’s own.
1168 Chambers Rd.
3306 Columbus St., Grove City
1182 E Powell Rd., Lewis Center
New York Style
Defined: A New York slice is just that—a slice. No small, square-cut pieces. The flour is usually high on the gluten index, and the crust ring is round, dense, and thick while the rest is paper-thin. The proper way to consume it is to fold your slice in half to avoid dumping the sauce and cheese on your lap.
5701 Parkville St.
5216 Bethel Center Mall
Multiple locations and a few food trucks
Defined: The genesis of this type began in the mountainous Basilicata region of Italy. Italian immigrants settled in the Brier Hill area of Youngstown and started to integrate their “Sunday sauce,” which is thick with bell peppers and heaps of Romano cheese, into several signature dishes.
128 Graceland Blvd.
3057 Turnberry Ct., Grove City
Sandusky Style (with a side of St. Louis)
Defined: There are two cities in the country that expect sauerkraut on pizzas: St. Louis and Sandusky. I can’t explain why this happens, but it can be surprisingly good. The best first bite into this perplexing pizza topping is the Hot Mama at Hounddog’s Pizza, where sauerkraut is paired with hot Cajun links, ham, and bacon swimming is a spicy sauce.
2657 N High St.
Steubenville Style (Ohio Valley)
Defined: I may not have found the foremost authority on Steubenville, but I did check in with its most vocal local son, Johnny DiLoretto. How he defines pizza perfection: “Square pan pizza, almost Sicilian style, only slightly bready crust, crisp on the bottom! Topped with tart sauce and provolone. The pizza is baked in a really hot oven with just the sauce. When the piping hot crust comes out, it’s topped with the cheese and pepperoni. When it’s boxed, the heat from the pizza gently melts the cheese and relaxes the pep. The cheese should be slightly gooey and the pepperoni heated through—NO dried up, curled up pepperoni with pools of oil in them.” It is not uncommon for the cheese to be half-baked (like Johnny) but quickly consumed.
4142 Main St., Hilliard
Defined: While not pizza per se, the ingredients are the same. A classic pepperoni roll encases this spicy, sausage, with cheese melting the oils throughout the doughy bread. A few varieties include pizza sauce or coney sauce. This all originated as a portable meal for coal miners in Fairmont, West Virginia, in 1927. Today it is the iconic food of the Mountaineer state with some toeholds in eastern Ohio.
445 S State St., Westerville
59 Spruce St. (North Market)
7516 E Main St., Reynoldsburg