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Dec 16, 2006 06:44 PM

Best thin-crust "midwest" style pizza in NY

OK...let's open this can o' crazy.

I was recently back in Milwaukee and had the pleasure of eating some of the pizza I grew up with and didn't fully appreciate until now.

A "midwest" pizza has these characteristics: round pie, thin cracker-like crust that's still chewy, a sweet sauce and (not always fresh) mozarella cheese. The big difference (which my fiancee who has never had "midwest" pizza before noticed) is that the sauce and cheese go right up to the edge so there's no doughy crust logs sitting on the plate when you're done with the sweet, chewy middle (I'm looking at you Totonno's Coney Island). Also, and this is a big also, a "midwest" pizza is cut into squares not triangles. Here's a photo from Zaffiro's pizza in Milwaukee for visual reference:

Now, after reading the Time Out NY article on pizza and various posts here I've read this is called a "grandma" pizza. Is that correct?

Before I ask where I can find something like this in NYC let me say I'm not a giant NY pizza hating snob. I love Di Fara's, Franny's, Grimaldi's, Patsy's, Lombardi's, and Totonno's...I just really was taken aback by how freakin' delcious the pies I had in Milwaukee were (I also went to Chicago and had deep dish at Lou Malnati's--it was good but not amazing). My fellow midwesterners all agree with me on this and it's not 'cause we miss home and our mommies.

So, anyone know what I'm talking about? Where to find some here? Anyone know the history of why the NYC and Midwest pizzas are so different?

Thanks--and don't be hatin' unless you've tried both kinds.

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  1. I spent 2 years (about 25 years ago) in downstate Illinois, so I've tried both. I definitely did NOT like the thin crust pizza there. I wouldn't call it cracker-thin, the consistency more reminded me of a pop-tart pastry. And I found the cutting technique irritating. Too many pieces where there was no dry edge to grab. And not enough crust underneath to use to hold it (as in an inside sicilian slice).

    While I miss really good Chicago deep dish pizza, if I never have the thin crust midwest variety again, I'll be fine.

    That said, I haven't seen any places in the NY area offering that variety. I don't think they would fly (less get off of the ground) here.