Americans purchase on average three billion pizzas every year. Before the 1940s, pizza consumption in the U.S. was limited mostly to Italian immigrants and their descendants. The international breakthrough came after World War II. Allied troops occupying Italy were constantly on the lookout for good food. They discovered that pizzerias and local bakers were hard-pressed to satisfy the demand from the soldiers. The American troops involved in the Italian campaign took their appreciation for the dish back home.
In the almost 80 years since, Americans have capitalized on pizza’s versatility and convenience. I cannot think of any other food that has the versatility of pizza. It can be served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, eaten hot or cold. With an almost endless amount of available toppings, sauces, crusts, and styles it can easily be customized to meet almost any palate.
In 2014, Willy East started selling made-to-order pizzas out of its new hearth oven. Willy East’s pizza and hearth oven menu offers a wide selection of pizza pies: three vegan pies, seven vegetarian pies, and meaty pies for a total of 11! Pizzas are available in cute 8” pies to feed just you or 12” pies to feed you and one or two others. All of the pizzas boast organic wheat flour crusts, organic tomatoes, rBGH-free Wisconsin cheeses, and toppings from excellent local producers like Underground Meats, and Quince and Apple. You can also request an 8” Udi’s gluten-free crust, although the surface and oven it is prepared on and in are not gluten-free!
Additionally, during peak lunch and dinner hours, you can come into the Deli and choose from par-baked 8” pies that can be in your hand (but not your mouth, let it cool a second) in 3-4 minutes. The Deli team bakes these off fresh throughout the day. If you don’t feel like waiting at all, the Deli now sells slices out of the new hot food merchandiser near the hot bar as well. They come in packages of two slices or the equivalent of a half of an 8-inch pie. Pricing varies by toppings but all slices remain under five dollars. Initially, slices will only be available during lunch and dinner hours but may expand based on demand. Selection vary from day to day.