Pizza evolves from a treat to a meal; celebrate National Pizza Day

Domino’s pizza chain pioneered patented insulating bags to keep pizzas oven-hot during normal delivery, photo location and date not specified | Photo provided by Domino's, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The popularity of pizza has been growing since Roman times, and some local outlets are celebrating National Pizza Day on Wednesday with special offers. 

A map showing every state’s favorite pizza chain cooked up by Delighted Cooking for 2022 | Photo provided by MV Digital PR, St. George News

A precursor of pizza was the focaccia, a flatbread known to the Romans with toppings added. Modern pizza evolved from similar flatbread dishes in Naples, Italy, in the late 18th or early 19th century. Emigrants mainly ate pizza in Italy.

Before the 1940s, Italian immigrants and their descendants in the United States were the main consumers of pizza. After World War II, when Allied troops were stationed in Italy, Americans enjoyed pizza and other Italian foods.

 After the war, veterans returning from the Italian Campaign provided a ready market for pizza, touted by veterans ranging from the lowliest private to Dwight D. Eisenhower. 

To celebrate National Pizza Day, Domino’s will be hosting giveaways on the @dominos Instagram and Twitter accounts. Followers will have a chance to enter to win free Domino’s Pizza for a year on either social media feed. The channels will share the entry method and rules at 8 a.m. MST each day on their social media, Jenny Fouracre-Petko, a company spokesperson, said.   

Domino’s, began as a single pizza restaurant in 1960 and is known today as one of the top pizza delivery companies worldwide. Besides pioneering efficient delivery of made-to-order pizza, Domino’s has created popular innovations in the pizza business that include the following:

  • Pioneered patented insulation bags that keep pizzas oven-hot during normal delivery.
  • Created the sturdy corrugated pizza box.
  • Invented the 3D car-top sign.

Another national chain, Little Caesars, is taking a different approach. Instead of offering special promotions on one particular day, they are touting the deals they offer year-round.

Students from Desert Hills High School sing to Little Caesars franchise owner Wes Swaney at grand opening celebration, St. George, Utah, Jan. 28, 2018 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

“We’ve been the best value in America for like 15 years straight, so we don’t discount or do anything,” Wes Swaney, Southern Utah Little Caesars franchise owner, said. “We feed a significant number of the population in Southern Utah.”

Pizza was considered a treat in the 1940s and began to take off in the late ’50s and ’60s, evolving into a favorite meal, he said.

“Pizza, in general, is a very popular food. People love to eat pizza for celebrations, events, and it’s a nutritious and delicious meal choice.”

Swaney said he appreciates the community for supporting their six locations. They often have second-generation employees.

“We came to town when there was one traffic signal in the St. George Valley,” he said. 

Swaney started working for Little Caesars in the Southern Utah area in 1989. He purchased the franchise five years ago. 

One of the most famous pizza places specific to Southern Utah is The Pizza Factory, with locations in Cedar City and the historic Ancestor Square of St. George. According to the St. George Pizza Factory website, in the 1970s, Bill Kringlen and some friends searched for a pizza parlor during their regular ski trips to Southern Utah. When they realized there weren’t any pizza parlors in the area, they decided to start their own.

Later, according to their website, they added Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, specialty pizzas and sandwiches, calzones, a fresh salad bar and deluxe desserts, including custom-built cookies, smoothies and more.

Regardless of your favorite pizza joint, go out and enjoy a slice of history. Happy National Pizza Day!

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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