Stephen Crivillaro – A Brief History of Pizza in New York

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New York City started the nation-wide pizza craze in the United States. Stephen Crivillaro is a New York City native who grew up eating hot, cheesy slices of New York style pizza. He had always dreamed of opening his own pizzeria in the city he loves and made that dream a reality by opening a pizzeria on the Lower East Side. He makes cheesy New York style pizza using a 50-year-old Sicilian recipe. He is dedicated to keeping the New York pizza tradition alive in his neighborhood pizza joint. Pizza has a long and rich history in New York, and can easily be called a New Yorker lifestyle.

Stephen Crivillaro
Stephen Crivillaro

The history of pizza in the United States starts with a man named Gennaro Lombardi. He was a baker and pizzaiolo who moved from Naples to the United States when he was 14. Gennaro Lombardi lived on Spring Street in Manhattan, he worked in a bakery and in a grocery store. He decided to start making and selling pizzas. He made his traditional pizzas in the bakery by night and sold them the next morning in the grocery store.

After working for at the bakery and grocery store for several years, the owner of the grocery store offered to sell the business to Lombardi. He jumped at the offer and began running the grocery store. However, a few years later, he decided to open the first American based pizzeria. In 1905, Lombardi was granted the first license to sell pizza in the United States. Up until that point, Italian immigrants made pizza in their homes, and some families sold pizza as unlicensed vendors. Lombardi had a coal-fired oven built, turned the store into a restaurant and began selling a unique pizza, tomatoes and mozzarella. This pizzeria became immensely popular and has been in business for over one hundred years.

Pizza quickly became a major part of the New York lifestyle. More Italian-Americans began opening pizzerias to serve the city. Antonio Pero, who was trained by Gennaro Lombardi, opened the first pizzeria in Brooklyn. In 1924, John Sasso opened John’s on Bleecker Street. Each of these restaurants are still operating and show no signs of slowing down. When most people thing about New York cuisine, they think New York style pizza. The Italian immigrants who dreamed of building a new life in New York created a legacy that has lasted for more than one hundred years.

New Yorkers love their pizza, and people from around the world flock to the city to try a slice of true New York style pizza. Stephen Crivillaro is carrying on the traditions of the original pizzeria owners in New York City. He owns a simple neighborhood pizzeria that sells the best New York style pizza on the Lower East Side.

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