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Please define "Maryland-Style Pizza"

I've seen mentioned on these boards "Maryland-Style Pizza." Could someone please enlighten me as to what constitutes a pizza from Maryland? I'm from California, thus a virgin to these nuances. Thanks for the education!

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  1. Search for Ledo's Pizza. That is the only pizza that I think is native to Maryland. There are long threads on what it is like.

      1. Search for Joe H and Ledo's for the full story (told a few times).

        In a nutshell, the original Ledo's is the only one to go to, near College Park. They franchised in an odd way that doesn't keep franchisees in line enough in terms of quality or method. So - what you end up with are a lot of mediocre to bad Ledo's, and maybe a couple that are decent enough, but none that approach the original location.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Dennis S

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5996...

          I had worse luck than i thought I would've in searching for Joe's telling of Ledo's history. At one point he tells the details of the franchise deal.

          Joe - if you're reading, you need to add to this:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ledo_Pizza

          1. re: Dennis S

            Thank you, Dennis!!! This is from a post of mine in November of '07:

            There are several "original" D. C. pizzas: Luigi's on 19th street was this city's absolute best in the '60's along with Gusti's and Anna Maria's sharing a distant second. I grew up eating Ledo's on University Blvd. in Adelphi and long believed that it was better than either Luigi's or Jimmy Comber's who had vaguely similar pies. In high school a date on Friday or Saturday night would often entail a visit to Ledo's (from Silver Spring) or Pop's on Henderson in Wheaton. If it was a REALLY big deal we would go downtown to Luigi's. If it was late at night there was Anna Maria's which was open to the middle of the night. I was never fortunate enough in 11th grade to have a date where I was able to keep her out that late...

            If you grew up in Arlington the late night pizza was at Mario's; it was actually good then-well, it was good for one in the morning. Today it wouldn't survive four AM...

            Still, in the '50's there was a salesman who travelled around the area making what really became THE definitive D. C. pizza: fresh dough pressed between rollers, fresh out of the can sauce, cheap mozz and pepperoni sliced from a cheap stick along with canned mushrooms and "Italian sausage" broke off from a defrosted cube. He was a good salesman. Places like the Pizza Kitchen, Pizza Oven, Pizza Square and countless others sprung up everywhere around the D. C. area. Overtime most were killed off by Shakey's and later Pizza Hut and Domino's.

            Still, there are some that survive and nobody ever talks about them on here. Please note that I have not been to the three that I am going to mention in at least two years. But all three were operating as recently as the winter of '05: Pizza Pantry on Walter Reed Drive off of Columbia Pike in Arlington, Pizza Oven on Riverdale road just off the B/W parkway and the Pizza Oven at 355 & Hungerford in Rockville.

            This is CHEAP, thin crust pizza. But it is identical to what was ubiquitous for the D. C. area starting 50 or so years ago. (Yes, I am old but I started obsessing on food very young!) This is the real D. C. pizza. My wife, who is much more modest about her food obsessions than I am, grew up only a few blocks from the Pizza Pantry. For years she and our daughter would make pilgrimages to the Pizza Pantry for its unique "taste." The pilgrimage for our daughter today is not insignificant: she lives in Newport News.

            By the way, I still drive from Reston to Adelphi for pizza from the original Ledo. It is the ONLY one that is really good and yes, it is worth the drive.

            I don't know about Newport News to Walter Reed Drive, though.

            1. re: Joe H

              You're welcome, Joe. It's funny that this post mentions Shakey's and PIzza Pantry. The former I saw briefly while trolling today for those older posts, and the latter my (now) wife found while we were dating while I lived in the one and only house across from Bob & Edith's (1) on Columbia Pike. Pizza Pantry became a fave of ours quickly.

              I know you gave a good description of the franchising deal for Ledo's (or maybe I dreamt it up) and it was surprising not to have found it. I think that's key to many folks about the whole "Ledo's in CP, but rarely Ledo's anywhere else" deal.

              1. re: Joe H

                Luigi's downtown doesn't serve a Maryland-style pie anymore. It's a standard NY thin crust.

                Italian Inn still does the Ledo's-style pie, better than the chain Ledo's but not as good as the original Adelphi location.

                I drive by Pizza Oven in Riverdale all the time. You can see it from the BW Parkway. I might have to give them a try.

                http://italianinnonline.com/Joomla/in...

                1. re: monkeyrotica

                  I haven't been to Pizza Oven in a while, but it's good. Similar to Ledo's.

                  There's also Pal Jack's in Laurel. I think the original owner was involved with the Irish Pizza Pub (also in Laurel, until it was burned down by its last owners a few years ago.) The pub was a very unique place. Check out the Irish Pizza Pub group on Facebook for some pictures.

          2. Forget it. It's an invention of The Chowhounds to describe a pizza served by a pretty well known place around here, Lido's, that;s neither New York style, nor Chicago style, nor cracker-crust-thin pizza. It's restaurant pizza. For those of us around in the late 50s and early 60s, it was one of the few "better" pizzas around so there's more nostalgia here than great pizza.

            Understand that pizza is regional like chili and barbecue. Everybody has his favorite and anything else isn't fit to be the first step toward sausage.

            1. Not many places left to try this 'delicacy.' Sauce tends to the sweet and crust is biscuit-like. Gentleman Jim's was one place in Rockville, now I imagine long gone.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Steve

                Gentleman Jim's moved out of the Rockville neighborhood of Twinbrook several decades ago and set up shop in Gaithersburg, out near the airpark. They still make a similar pizza to the pie they made in NW DC when they were The Cavalier and in Twinbrook as Gentleman Jim's. If you go there to try their pizza, do it during the day or early evening because they are known for having a pretty rough crowd in their "Upper Deck" at night.

                1. re: treetop tom

                  Wow, thanks for the info. I guess eating that pizza would really be a trip down memory lane. I wonder if it could still taste the same...... or maybe I have changed too much.

              2. I addition to Ledo's, I sometimes use the term to describe what appears to be the "generic" pizza in this area - somewhat doughy, yeasty crust that's thicker than what a NYC, Chicago, New Haven or other pizza fan might refer to as "thin" crust, rather heavy on the cheese (at least compared to similar pizzas in other areas), fairly generic tomato sauce, and reasonable quality toppings. In other words, if you are driving around Maryland, and you see a typical non-chain strip mall pizza place, odds are that you'll get this style of pizza. In some instances, you may find someplace aiming for NYC-style, or Neapolitan, or something, but if not, the pizza I'm attempting to describe seems to be the generic default.

                All of which is not to say it's bad - just different from what pizza fans from elsewhere may be used to. For a pizza that to me fits the style, but rises above the generic, I'd suggest Zella's in Baltimore. They put good sauce and cheese on the yeasty crust and make a pizza that is pretty good.

                Also, while I've never heard it called "Maryland style", Matthew's Pizza on Eastern Avenue is a sort of style of one. I've never had anything like it anywhere else, and I've eaten a lot of pizza in a lot of places.

                So, there's all the possible meanings I can think of for "Maryland Style" pizza - Ledo's (the original and the franchises), Matthews, and the generic yeasty-crust "semi-thin".