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FOOD 101: Pizza In America – Pizza Holidays

[1] The classic, a Margherita pizza is a cheese pizza topped with fresh basil (photo © Nadezhda Filatova | Unsplash).

[2] Slices topped with fresh arugula (photo © Sahand Hoseini | Unsplash).

[3] Pile it on! This pepperoni pizza has veggie companions: black olives, fresh basil and tomatoes (photo © Like Meat | Unsplash).

[4] Eat your veggies! This pizza sports Brussels sprouts and broccolini, with pesto. Here’s the recipe from DeLallo (photo © DeLallo).

[5] America’s favorite topping: pepperoni (photo © Tablespoon | TBSP).

[6] Breakfast pizza, with eggs and pancetta. Here’s the recipe from DeLallo (photo © DeLallo)


National Pizza Week kicks off on the second Sunday in January. That’s tomorrow. Plus, we have a year of pizza holidays.

National Pizza Week is just one of 11 “pizza holidays” in the U.S. alone. We’ve listed them all, below.

You have an entire week to celebrate one of America’s all-time favorite foods: comforting, affordable, ubiquitous…and delicious!

Head to the pizza holidays.

How much do Americans like pizza?

We Americans love our pizza. Depending on the survey, it’s America’s favorite food (vying with the burger).

Global data specialist BoldData determined that the number of pizza restaurants in the U.S. increased by a whopping 39.2% over the last five years.

(Note that the definition of “restaurant” can range from a large venue with table service to a take-out counter that delivers.)

Alas, thanks to the pandemic, the growth spurt abruptly stopped in 2020…with bright hopes for the post-pandemic future.

But because so much pizza is takeout and delivery rather than eat-in, the pizza party didn’t end in 2020.

Take a look at the growth curve: In 2016 there were 65,213 pizza places. In 2020, there were 90,817 pizza restaurants or counters.

Based on the trajectory, the beginning of 2021 should have reached the magical number of 100,000 pizza restaurants.

But thanks to COVID-19, the increase in 2020 was just 581 new outlets.

  • California. When it comes to pizza, California is the place to be. The state has 8,271 pizza places, of which 2,044 are based in the Los Angeles area.
  • New York. The Big Apple comes in second with 7,190 restaurants, a growth of 48% compared to 2016.
  • Hawaii. The biggest growth in pizza outlets took place in Hawaii: a whopping 69%.
  • Wyoming-Not. Pizza lovers had better stay away from Wyoming, the state with the lowest number of pizza joints—just 133. To be fair, Wyoming is the least populous and least-densely-populated state in the contiguous United States.

    There are 245,244 pizza restaurants worldwide.

    The U.S. takes the biggest slice of the worldwide pie. It’s home to the largest number of pizza restaurants: 90,817 restaurants for a population of 328.2 million population (in 2019).

    The U.S. has more pizzerias than the next four countries combined (which total 88,100). That’s 36% of all pizza restaurants worldwide

    Italy, where the modern pizza originated, comes in second with 42,288 pizzerias for a population of 60.36 million (2019). That’s 17% of the world’s total.

    Brazil takes third place, with 32,283 pizzerias (population 209.5 million in 2018).

    The top three countries combined are home to 67% of the world’s total amount of pizza restaurants.

    Australia is number 8 on the list. With 5,598 pizza restaurants, they have one of the highest numbers of pizza places per capita.

    The Huffington Post gathered favorite pizza toppings from a 2018 survey of the online food delivery service, Caviar.

    While Caviar doesn’t represent a representative sampling of the entire country (it covers 20 major cities), here are its data on the most popular pizza toppings:

  • Pepperoni
  • Sausage
  • Garlic
  • Olives
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Chicken
  • Oregano
    Their toppings data doesn’t include a slot for people who just ordered a plain cheese pizza (the Margherita*).

    > Check out the 50 largest pizza chains worldwide.

    Canada’s Panago Pizza beat out America’s Domino’s Pizza for first place.


    Whether you get takeout pizza or make your own, mark your calendars for:

  • JANUARY: National Pizza Week, beginning the second Sunday in January
  • FEBRUARY: Great American Pizza Bake, beginning the second week in February, a week where you’re encouraged to not only consume pizza but to try your hand at making it
  • FEBRUARY: National Pizza Day (a.k.a. National Pizza Pie Day), February 9th
  • APRIL: National Deep Dish Pizza Day, April 5th
  • MAY: National Pizza Party Day, third Friday
  • JUNE: Pizza Margherita Day, June 11th
  • SEPTEMBER: National Cheese Pizza Day, September 5th
  • SEPTEMBER: National Pepperoni Pizza Day, September 20th
  • OCTOBER: National Pizza Month
  • OCTOBER: International Beer and Pizza Day, October 9th
  • OCTOBER National Sausage Pizza Day, October 11th
  • NOVEMBER: National Pizza With Everything Except Anchovies Day, November 12th

    *The Margherita is the original modern pizza. It was named after Queen Margherita, consort to Umberto I, King of Italy from 1878 to 1900. As the story goes, during a visit to Naples, she asked the best pizza maker in town, Don Raffaele, to make her a pie. He made it in the colors of the Italian flag (red, white, and green). The result: a simple but delicious pie of basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes.


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