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America's Best Pizza Pies

THE HISTORY OF THE PIE

ancient greece Gods and mortals nosh on oversize flatbreads seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and onion. The concept migrates to Italy.

1520's The tomato arrives in Italy via South America. Everyone thinks it's poisonous, except the starving Neapolitans, who begin slathering the sauce on traditional flatbreads.

THE CONCEPT OF THE PIZZA PARLOR IS BORN.

1830's Pizzeria Port' Alba, still in business, opens in Naples.

1889 Raffaele Esposito, a Neapolitan baker, makes the world's first pizza delivery, to Italy's Queen Margherita. He names his mozzarella, tomato, and basil concoction in her majesty's honor.

around 1900 Frank Pepe, from Naples, Italy, is seen selling "tomato pies" from a horse-drawn wagon in New Haven's Little Italy.

1905 Another immigrant from Naples, Gennaro Lombardi, opens a pizzeria on Spring Street in New York.

1940's Returning GI's start a craze for the pizza they'd discovered abroad. Pizza parlors take off on the East Coast.

1943 Pizzeria Uno in Chicago rocks the world with the introduction of deep-dish pizza. It thrills post-Depression America, in love with the one-dish meal.

1948-1956 Oregano sales increase by 5,200 percent as pizza finds its place in the pantheon of America's favorite foods.

1957 The first frozen pizza is marketed by Celentano Bros.

1958 Two brothers from Wichita State University start the Pizza Hut chain. Domino's joins the race in 1960.

1994 Total pizza sales in the United States exceed $20 billion. As O. J. Simpson flees in his Ford Bronco down L.A. freeways, Americans can't take their eyes off their TV sets. Pizza deliveries hit a record high.

2000 Americans eat about 11.5 million pizzas a day.

TOP THIS: DOMINO'S EXTRAS AROUND THE WORLD

Pepperoni may be number one in America, but tastes are more eclectic elsewhere. Domino's Pizza International, with 2,000 stores in 64 countries, has added the following to its menus: squid (Japan); tuna and corn (England); guava (Colombia); black-bean sauce (Guatemala); mussels and clams (Chile); barbecued chicken (the Bahamas); pickled ginger (India); chile pepper (Australia); crème fraîche (France).

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