Getting The Best Pizza On Hilton Head Island

What Are The Different Styles of Pizza

By now you know we love pizza…all pizza! Pizza is made in so many different styles and ways so we thought it’s only fitting we take a deep dive into famous American pizza styles.

Below you will get a primer on how many different pizza styles there are and were they are from. You already know we service the best pizza on Hilton Head, but if you find yourself in other parts of the US, we highlighted some special places to try our many of the different types of pizza. Scroll down for the list.

Pizza is such a ubiquitous food choice in America that you could be forgiven for not realizing its origins are in Italy. Pizza has become such a beloved food in this country that we have truly made it our own. There are approximately 80,000 pizzerias in the U.S., with nearly 45 billion dollars in total sales each year.  On any given day, one out of eight Americans is having a slice.

Where to get the right pizza on HHI

At its most basic, pizza is a simple food; just sauce and cheese on a wheat flour crust.  But it comes in many sizes, shapes, and styles. Not every pizza needs to be the same, and because it is so widely enjoyed in the U.S., traditional pizza has morphed and changed over time depending on the area in which it’s made.

A wide range of pizza styles from different regions of the country has evolved, each blending its own mix of ingredients and baking methods.  We are living in the heyday of regional pizza styles. Now, happily, distinct favorites are breaking out of their local confines. You can get Detroit-style in Nashville, a charred New Haven-style in Denver and a Neoplolitan in Atlanta.

There really isn’t a “best” style, but we thought it would be interesting and informative to give a guide to the essential styles of pizza and where they come from. We have also listed the historic, classic pizzerias that birthed these styles. 

The good news (for a pizza lover) is that they are still in business today, so if you’re travelling around the country you’ll know where to go to find a true regional classic.  

The founders of TJ’s recognized some of the best qualities from these various regions, and have crafted a menu that is sure to please even the most discriminating pizza connoisseur.  Our “styles list” is what we consider to be the major styles of pizza in the U.S. There are more (obviously) but these have proven to be the most influential. And each has its own creative twist.

How Many Different Styles of Pizza Are There? Lets find out…


Neapolitan, is a weighty business. The style has its own certification, Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN), from an organization in Italy that specifies ingredients, equipment  and pizza making methods that can be used. Dough can only contain flour, water, salt and natural yeast (mature 72 hours), coated with a sauce of imported San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella, then baked 60 to 90 seconds in a wood burning oven at 800 to 900 degrees. Sprinkling of fresh basil when it comes out. This strict method results in a puffy interior crust with a nice crunch as well as a flavorful “soupy” center of sauce and salty cheese. 

Classic Neopolitans are small, about 10 inches in diameter. The Margherita is the most popular version. Other versions include the Marinara (just sauce and a sprinkling of aged cheese) and the Napoletano (with marinara and anchovies). This style is popular in America and Italy.

The Best Neapolitan

Pic from Keste’s Facebook


Ribalta (has VPN certification)
48 East 12th Street
New York, NY
(212) 777 7781

Keste Pizza & Vino
271 Bleeker Street
New York, NY
(212) 243 1500


Italian immigrants came in waves to New York City in the late 19th century and early 20th. The Neapolitan pie evolved a bit in the Italian neighborhoods of the city. It followed the tenets from their homeland – thin crusted, ultra hot oven, same ingredients – but the majority were made in coal fired ovens, larger pie, even thinner crust and more crisp. New York Neapolitan is rarely found outside New York City but is definitely a don’t miss if you’re there.

Pick the right new york Neapolitan

Image from Lombardi’s Facebook


Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitano (since 1924)
1524 Neptune Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 372-8606

Lombardi’s (since 1905)
32 Spring Street
New York, NY
(212) 941-7994


If there is one pizza that defines America it is the NY slice. The round, thin crust stuff with darkened undercarriages that most people in the US think of as pizza. A true NY style pizza has a crust that is both chewy and crispy. It can be topped with whatever you want, but it’s usually best with one or two toppings (so the crust remains crisp). New Yorkers generally fold it. And it is referred to as a “regular” pie or regular “slice.” The default cliche is a “plain” slice (no toppings).

Picking the right New York city pizza


John’s of Bleeker Street (since 1929)
278 Bleeker Street
New York, NY
(212) 243-1680

Patsy’s (since 1944) (Frank Sinatra’s favorite)
2287 1st Avenue
East Harlem
New York, NY
(212) 534-9783


A Trenton tomato pie is built as follows: dough, cheese, toppings then sauce. Basically, a reverse pizza in that the sauce and cheese are reversed. New Jersey is famous for its tomatoes and the dominant flavor is the vibrant sauce. The pie can have diverse toppings such as eggplant and hot peppers. And, of course, pork roll is always an option. The name is no longer historically accurate as most of the iconic establishments have left Trenton in recent years to the nearby suburbs. However, the traditions continue.

picking the right TRENTON TOMATO PIE

Image from PaPa’s Tomato Pies


PaPa’s Tomato Pies (since 1912)
19 Robbinsville Allentown Road
Robbinsville, NJ
(609) 208-0006

De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies
2350 U.S. Highway 33
Robbinsville, NJ
(609) 341-8480


Assisted by oil or coal fueled ovens reaching 600 degrees, New Haven style a pizza (pronounced ah beets by locals) delivers a charred crust suggestive of a backyard grill. The typically oblong pies (some might say misshapen) are usually served on a sheet of wax paper atop a plastic cafeteria tray. These pies offer a rewarding crunchy and chewy texture. Usually has tomatoes but one of the most famous versions is the white clam pie at Pepe’s. New Haven enthusiasts claim that pizza in America was invented in New Haven…but they have their naysayers in New York City. That’s a debate that will never end.

PePe's New Haven Pizza

PePe’s New Haven Pizza


Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (since 1925)
157 Wooster Street
New Haven, CT
(203) 865-5762

Sally’s Apizza (since 1938)
237 Wooster Street
New Haven, CT
(203) 624-5271


A rectangular pizza with a thick crust (usually one to two inches) with a pillowy interior and thick crunchy base. The dough is proofed for a long time so as to give the light airy texture. Toppings are minimal, but a gooey layer of mozzarella acts as a buffer between the sweet garlicky tomato sauce and the crust.

The Best Sicilian Pizza

Pic from L & P’s Facebook


L & B Spumoni (since 1939)
2725 86th St
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 449-1230

Bruno’s (since 1955)
1006 U.S.46
Clifton, NJ
(973) 473-3339


It might look like a Sicilian, but the Grandma is a marvel all its own. Actually made by Italian nonnas at home. The dough for these square pies is thinner and denser than a Sicilian and it has an olive oil infused crust. A homestyle pizza said to have originated on Long Island before spreading to New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut. The thin squares are topped with a rich and vibrant oregano infused tomato sauce and creamy oven crisped mozzarella.

What is the best place to get grandma pizza

Umberto’s Grandma Pizza


Umberto’s of New Hyde Park (said to be the originator)
633 Jericho Turnpike
New Hyde Park, NY
(516) 437-9424

J.V. Pizzeria
6322 18th Ave
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY
(718) 232-2700


This specialty is a staple of Italian bakeries in Rhode Island. It varies from place to place, but basically is made in a way that blends Sicilian and Grandma styles. Focaccia dough is spread out on large rectangular trays and topped with a garlicky, peppery tomato sauce then baked. Sprinkled with parmesan cheese when it comes out. Cut into strips and sold at room temperature. Can be found throughout the Ocean state but the best (and arguably the originator) is D. Palmieri’s Bakery.


D. Palmieri’s Bakery
624 Killingly Street
Johnstown, RI
(401) 621-9357

D. Palmieri’s Bakery Pizza Strips

Pic from D. Palmieri’s Bakery


Grilled pizza, which has become a backyard mainstay in recent years, was invented in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1980, by husband and wife chef owners at Al Forno restaurant. Grilled pizza has a thin crust and is cooked quickly, directly on the grates of a grill. Contrary to what one might think, it does not fall through the grate, instead setting up quickly over intense heat before being flipped and then topped with sauce and thinly sliced toppings. (Toppings must be thin so they heat through in a short time; anything needing thorough cooking must be prepped beforehand.) Toppings range from traditional margherita to corn with spicy olive oil and calamari.


Al Forno
577 South Water Street
Providence, RI
(401) 273-9760

How to find the right grilled pizza


This is what you get when you bake a Sicilian-type recipe in blue steel pans originally designed for the auto industry. The small pans act like a cast iron skillet to create a super crisp crunch. Bakers deliberately push the blend of mozzarella and brick cheese up the deep interior sides of the pans to attain an incredible caramelization. Traditionally baked twice with the sauce put on last to ensure a perfectly crisp crust. This style is definitely becoming popular in other areas such as Colorado and Texas.

Who started making Detroit style pizza

Detroit Style Pizza from Buddy


17125 Conant Street
Detroit, MI
(313) 892-9001

23141 Dequindre Road
Hazel Park, MI
(248) 547-1711


Ever since Pizzeria Uno filled its thick crust with cheese and other toppings in 1943, deep dish pizza has become synonymous with Chicago. Dough infused with olive oil or butter and active dry yeast is left to ferment overnight. Pressed along the edges of a pan covered with mozzarella then topped with sausage, pepperoni etc. followed by tomato sauce. Baked at 500 for 45 minutes and you have a casserole-type pizza (albeit a tasty one) with a flaky buttery crust. This calls for a knife and fork.

where do I find the best deep dish pizza


Pizzeria Uno
29 East Ohio Street
Chicago, IL
(312) 321-1000

Labriola Chicago
535 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL
(312) 955-3100


Another Chicago specialty that is often confused with deep dish because of its similarity. What sets it apart is its layering. Thick bottom crust coated with cheese and sauce and toppings then enclosed in another layer of crust. Taller than deep dish and packed with more ingredients. 

Where is the best place to find stuffed pizza


4256 North Central Avenue
Chicago, IL
(773) 736-5828

Bella Bacinos
66 East Walker Drive
Chicago, IL
(312) 263-2350


This pizza is cracker thin all the way round. Cut in squares (called a party cut) with toppings all the way to the end. A sweet sauce and a regional processed cheese called Provel (combo of cheddar, swiss provolone and liquid smoke). This is easy eating, almost like cheese and crackers.


Imo’s Pizza
100 locations in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas
Never far from one in St. Louis

St Louis style Pizza

Imo’s Pizza


Pizza bianco, or white pizza, is a style of pizza which omits tomato sauce from the equation. There are different versions of this pizza. Usually made with a thin crust and various toppings, some including cheese while others omitting it. Non-cheese – light and airy flatbread baked with sea salt and olive oil which, in its raw state, gets scrunched and unscrunched (like an accordian) only to emerge from the oven as a golden bubbly goodness. With cheese – mozzarella, pecorino romano, ricotta, fontina, asiago…and on and on depending on the pizza maker’s imagination.

Finding the right place to get pizza

Pizza Bianco by Sullivan Street Bakery


Non-cheese – Sullivan Street Bakery
533 West 74 Street
New York, NY
(212) 265-5580

– Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletano –
white clam pie


California style pies typically feature a thin, hand tossed crust with distinctive and striking flavor combinations representing the state’s bounty of ingredients: barbecue chicken, thai, lobster, pears, nuts, caviar. The more gourmet it appears, the more California it is!

fining the best California style pizza


Chez Panisse Cafe
1517 Shattuck Avenue
Berkely, CA
(510) 548-5525

176 North Canyon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA
(310) 385-0880


Bar pies are usually super-thin, round pies topped with tomato sauce, cheese and fennel-heavy Italian sausage. The pies are pinched and pressed right up to the edge. Sliced up into shareable party squares. Especially popular in the midwest and cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, Columbus and Milwaukee.

Bar pizza done right


Rubino’s Pizza
2643 Main Street
Bexley, OH
(614) 235-1700

2679 Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL
(773) 248-0168


This style started popping up around 2007 in New York City and features a deep-fried Neapolitan-style dough topped with sauce and fresh mozzarella…who wouldn’t like a pizza doughnut? Dough is flash-fried to create a light and airy crust before being layered with tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil then a trip through the oven. A savoy doughnut and pizza at the same time! Popularity has spread as far as Wisconsin, Florida and Colorado.

The Best place to get Montanara

Pizza From Forcella


Don Antonio
309 West 50th Street
New York, NY
(646) 719-1043

485 Lorimer Street
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 388-8820

We all love pizza and here at TJ’s Take and Bake we can meet all you pizza cravings! But, if you’re travelling, we hope this guide will lead you to some pizza goodness.