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Jul 25, 2009 12:13 PM

Is it a sicilian or is it a square?

I got a question and haven't seen any discussion of it. Where I grew up in Corona, Queens, when it was still predominantly Italian, there was no question that when you walked into the pizzeria and asked for a slice, it was by default a regular (triangular) slice. If you wanted a sicilian slice, you just asked for a "sicilian". But now I see people calling slices by various names, like: "round", "square slice", "regular slice" etc. You see, to me, that just complicates things unnecessarily. Why use 2 words when you can use just 1? But I can see the geometrical simplicity of it. You got Round and you got Square. But then I would argue "square" is a misnomer. It's actually rectangular. But I can see, if I asked for a rectangular slice in Brooklyn, I'd get my butt kicked back to Corona. Clearly, this practice varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. I'm just wondering...can we find any patterns here? Would it depend on whether you were from Queens or from Brooklyn, etc.? What did your old neighborhood call it?

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  1. Pre 1990, or thereabout,it was known as Sicilian everywhere. I don't know why it changed to square.

    1 Reply
    1. re: son of a butcher

      I can top that by twenty years. To me, "sicilian" and "square" were synonymous -- the exact same thing --- since the 1970's! Walk into any pizzeria in NY and ask for either a sicilian or a square, and the proprietor knows exactly what you want. And no one ever made a big deal about the vernacular. What's the big deal here, by the way?

    2. nooyawka
      I think someone has too much time on his hands, lol! j/k

      1. Sicilian! I think the "square" is the "not a native new yorker" vernacular.

        17 Replies
        1. re: irishnyc

          Let's not forget the * Grandma * pizza slice/square.

          1. re: fourunder

            At least the term "Grandma" denotes that it's something different than a Sicilian slice... and it's closer to what my Italian grandma did make.

            1. re: irishnyc

              Now I'm more confused--if "Sicilian" equals "square", what's "Grandma"?

              1. re: planetjess

                According to:


                grandma pizza: Essentially a thin-crust Sicilian pie.

                1. re: fourunder

                  So I guess that's what I like most, as Adrienne's in the FiDi is my favorite pizza in the city, and it's a square, thin-crust pie. Haven't been able to find anything like it (of any quality) in PS... :(

                  1. re: planetjess

                    If you ever make it out to New Hyde Park, Umberto's version is pretty good. I went there on another friend's rec.
                    Here's a link to a Newsday article:
                    Recently, I saw my friend ask my local pizzeria to make her a personal-sized grandma pie, and it was pretty good. I've ordered it twice since. You may want to try asking your local guy.

                    1. re: planetjess

                      FiDi, eh? You must not be a native! ;)

                      1. re: irishnyc

                        Nope, but I've been in NYC for almost fifteen years--"FiDi" is actually just a nickname that I've picked up on this board. I wouldn't even know how to pronounce it out loud--would it be "Fiddy", like "Fiddy Cent"? :)

                        1. re: planetjess

                          planetjess - I think it's Fie-Die. But, I would never utter it out loud!

                    2. re: fourunder

                      a grandma is a sauceless square, or, the cheese is under the sauce and little of it.

                      more dissenting-ish definitions here:


              2. re: irishnyc

                I always called it Sicilian and it was always cut into a square even though it was baked in a rectangular pan, but never heard it referred to as a "square".

                1. re: irishnyc

                  Sicilian is the proper term, and "corner slice" is the way to order it. However eating it is regrettable 99% of the time. Grandma slice is sicilian 2.0 and is better in every way imaginable. "Corner grandma", keep it brief.

                  1. re: 2slices

                    with you on the corner! although I know some people who want the center. huh??

                    1. re: bigjeff

                      I don't trust those people. Communists probably.

                      1. re: 2slices

                        I'm a non-communist centrist and you'll have to pry that slice out of my cold, dead, greasy fingers.

                        1. re: Silverjay

                          Ditto on what you said Silverjay.

                  2. re: irishnyc

                    I don't think the term "Sicilian" has much to do with native NY'ers. Unless they migrated from the city into NJ, PA, etc. like my family did. I'm from PA and we always referred to it as "Sicilian". It was the standard term at local pizza joints.

                  3. never heard of a round either; it's just a slice or a sicilian and I don't think it ever really changed. maybe when the grandma stepped on the scene you might ask for a grandma. or, you just point.

                    1. Sicilian when I was a kid too. But when I was in Sicily, sit-down pizzerias all seemed to make round pizzas--the only places you'd find squares are those little stand-up places you also find elsewhere in Italy that serve pizza al taglio--pizza by the slice--which is basically square pizza in a pan on a foccaccia-type crust. Interestingly, for some reason Verona has a bunch of NY-style pizza places--quick stand-up places serving slices from 18" round pies.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Peter Cherches

                        I never find what we call 'Sicilian' pizza in Sicily, meaning New York 'square' pizza. The Sicilian immigrants who invented it did it over here, I guess, as an adaptation and modification of what they remembered from home.