Is Pizza a Type of Pie? The Great Debate Is Over

  • By: Mike
  • Date: July 18, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Is pizza a type of pie? You may have heard the phrase “pizza pie” before. Is it accurate to call a pizza a pie, or does pizza not count? Here is the FINAL answer.


Pizza might seem not to be a pie because it is not a pastry shell with filling. The crust goes on the bottom, and the ingredients go on top of it.

Since there is no upper crust, some would say that pizza is not a type of pie. I would disagree – the word “pie” refers to many different kinds of dishes, including pizza.

Many other people agree with me that the word “pie” includes dishes without an upper crust, including pizza. What is the definition of a pie, and is pizza included? Is there a clear answer to the debate?

The answer is that a pizza does count as a pie because other dishes that do not have an upper crust are considered pies. Many types of open-faced pies do not have an upper crust.

Even though I do not refer to pizza as pie, I still think of it as such. There is no good way to define pie in a way that excludes pizza. Pizza was historically referred to as pie, and it still is in many contexts.

A pumpkin pie usually does not have an upper crust, but I still consider it pie, along with everyone else. When pizza was introduced into the United States in the early 20th century, it was called a pie.

It is accurate to call pizza a pie even if people do not refer to it as a pie very often.

Is Pizza a Pie? Who Defines Pizza as a Pie?

Yes, based on the history of pizza, the first pizzeria, and the current dictionary definitions, pizza is a pie, and that’s final!

Dictionaries call it a pie. The Cambridge dictionary entry for pie points out that it also refers to pizza, especially in some places. The Merriam-webster dictionary also confirms that pizza is included in the definition of pie.

When someone is referring to a large number of pizzas, they might call them pies. A pizzeria might refer to having sold a few hundred pies in a period of time.

People refer to pizzas as pies in many contexts. If the price of pizza increases, one might say that the cost of a ” pepperoni pie will jump up to $13.99 “. While it is somewhat uncommon to refer to pizza as pie, it is technically accurate.

A pie does not have to be sweet to count as a pie – meat pies are not. Thin pies are also considered pies. It may be an unusually shaped pie with unusual ingredients, but it is still pie.

Pizza Was a Pie When the First American Pizzeria Opened

The first pizzeria opened in the United States in 1905. Before that, some people made pizzas at home, but there were no pizza restaurants.

Italians brought the dish with them in the 1800s, and the first pizza restaurant opened a little after the beginning of the twentieth century.

The first pizza restaurant started out as a grocery store. Gennaro Lombardi opened a grocery store in 1897 and began selling pizzas there.

These pizzas were thought of as tomato and cheese pies. Workers loved them because they could eat them on break at work without needing cutlery or tables.

This is still some of why pizza remains popular – I like that I can easily eat it while standing.

The popularity of Lombardi’s takeout pizza inspired him to open a restaurant. In 1905, he acquired a restaurant license and opened the first pizza restaurant in the United States.

Since Lombardi’s tomato and cheese pies were large (20 inches across), people could not eat a whole one in a single sitting. He came up with the idea of selling pizza by the slice.

A whole pizza cost only a nickel, which was cheap even at the time, so his business became popular. Today, there are pizza restaurants everywhere.

Lombardi’s restaurant is still open, and the pizzas are still baked in the same way, in large coal ovens. I have never been to the original pizzeria, but I would try it if I were ever in the area.

How often do people refer to pizza as pie?

While it is technically accurate to call pizza pie, it is not all that common to refer to it that way, even in the United States.

When college students were asked to name as many kinds of pie as possible, it was very common to name apple pie (171 out of 183 students) but not common to name pizza (only 21 out of 183 students).

This experiment suggests that people do not think of pizza as a type of pie very often.

However, it is still referred to as pie in many contexts and was originally referred to as pie. An old newspaper reference to pizza from before the first real pizzeria opened refers to it as pie.

Is “Pizza Pie” the Same Thing as Pizza?

Yes, pizza pie and pizza are the same. Pizza pie does not refer to a specific type of pizza that is shaped more like other pies. The type of pizza doesn’t matter – even a thin crust pizza may be called a pie.

The phrase “pizza pie” is most common in the northeastern United States, less common elsewhere in America, and least common in Europe.

How Long Did it Take for Pizza to Become so Popular in the US?

Pizza became very popular after World War 2. Advertisers realized that people would buy pizza everywhere if they saw ads for it, and they took the opportunity.

Before the war, pizza was uncommon and not very well-known. Many pizza restaurants existed, but most Americans had not tried, and may not even have heard of, pizza in 1945.

Things changed very fast from 1945 to 1955. By the middle fifties, pizza was a new trend. Everyone knew about it, and it was becoming popular everywhere.

I have heard that pizza became popular because Americans tried it in Italy during the war and sought out pizza restaurants when they returned. However, I do not believe this is true.

Probably not very many soldiers tried it in Italy during the war. I don’t think it explains much of the increase in pizza’s popularity.

It became popular because people liked it, and people realized that it would sell.

A New York Times article from the 1950s about the increasing popularity of pizza referred to thick-crusted pies that were sometimes topped with cinnamon, sour cream, or even bananas.


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