Have you ever wondered how pizza came to the United States? Learn how the Italian tradition became America’s favorite food!

So many of our favorite foods come to us from different parts of the world. For example, we wouldn’t have hot dogs, hamburgers, or doughnuts if America wasn’t the amazing melting pot of cultures that it is.

But most importantly, there wouldn’t be any pizza in Bend, OR, or any part of the country for that matter, if Italian immigrants hadn’t come to the United States from Naples more than one hundred years ago. They certainly didn’t come here with the intention of turning pizza into the immensely popular dish that it is today. So how exactly did this Italian tradition become the American favorite we know and love?

From Italy to Pizza in Bend, Oregon

Pizza’s history is a humble one. Its introduction to the US began in the late 19th century with the arrival of Italian immigrants from in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and other cities in the east. Using the same recipes that their families used back home in Naples, they sometimes sold their homemade pies on the streets in local markets and in small cafes.

It may be hard to believe now, but the cheese pie hasn’t always had such a stellar reputation. For many years, pizza in Bend, Oregon was actually considered a “peasant dish” because it was so inexpensive to make and was most popular in poor communities.

The first pizzerias didn’t appear until the early 20th century when Lombardi’s Pizza opened in Manhattan in 1905. In 1912, Joe’s Tomato Pies opened in New Jersey, and in 1933, the slice came to Boston with the opening of Santarpio’s. Throughout the first half of the century, pizzerias would continue to shift slowly westward. Many of these original pizzerias are still run by the same families today, keeping the Italian spirit of tradition alive and well.

But pizza in Bend, Oregon, was still a long way away. In fact, it didn’t even make its way to the West Coast until decades later in 1939 when the D’Amore family opened a pizzeria in Los Angeles, California.

The Great Boom

By the 1940s, pizza had been in America for nearly half a century, with pizzerias on both the East and West coast. Still, the Italian dish wasn’t very popular with non-Italians, and it remained something of a cultural exclusive. The savory pies didn’t actually start to become popular until after World War II. The story goes that American troops stationed overseas in Italy developed an appreciation for the native dish, and brought their newfound love back home with them.

And so the boom began – between the 1950s and 60s, chains started popping up left and right to satisfy America’s new craving for the cheesy, saucy dough. With the help of famous Italian celebrities like Frank Sinatra and songs like Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore”, pizza gained rapid popularity.

Suddenly, it wasn’t just an Italian favorite anymore – everyone was enjoying this new tasty and affordable eat. But while the new chain restaurants and frozen pies available in grocery stores made pizza more accessible, it also lessened its quality. Over the next several decades, fresh ingredients were replaced with processed ones as the chains became more and more popular.

The Best Local Pizza and Brew in Bend, Oregon  

While pizzeria chains are more widespread than ever before, the local pizzeria is making a comeback with pizza and brew in Bend, Oregon. People are starting to seek out quality ingredients over convenience and atmosphere over price.

You don’t have to travel all the way to Italy to taste some amazing cheese pies – you don’t even have to go to New York City or Chicago to have a slice of some of the best homemade pies in America. At Pacific Pizza and Brew in Bend, Oregon, we offer our own unique, Northwestern spin on an old favorite. Add a pint of local craft beer, and you’ve got a combo that can’t be beat.