This week’s question comes to us from me, Emily Burnham, a lifelong Mainer and a person with strong feelings about pizza.
How did Pat’s Pizza End Up Creating Its Own Unique Pizza Style?
Last week I watched a YouTube video explaining a few of the different and varied regional pizza styles in the country.
Everybody knows New York-style pizza. Detroit-style pizza has recently been making its way to Bangor, and people are still debating whether Chicago deep dish truly is a foodstuff or a casserole.
Other super specific pizza styles listed just as mind-boggling as Ohio Valley pizza, such as that it originated from Steubenville, in eastern Ohio. It is a square pie with lots of tomato sauce, followed by melted cheese, then other toppings.
Altoona-style pizza, originally created by the Altoona Hotel in the Pennsylvania town of Altoona, includes salami, green pepper, and American or Velveeta cheese as toppings on a soft crust irregular, but tasty. You do you, Altoona.
After examining all different kinds of pizza in America, however, one thing became clear to me, Pat’s Pizza is my favorite, beloved chain of Maine pizzerias with 16 retail facilities located in Maine’s or the pinpoint location near them.
We know Bangor Daily News fans like you, Bangor Daily News readers, love Pat s, noting your first-place vote for it in the Bangor-area pizza bracket competition last year.
But the rest of the country should appreciate Maine s unique pizza style, with its own unique history.
Pats were not the region’s very first restaurant to provide pizzas. For that honor, it will go to either Lou’s Guest, a restaurant on Main Street in Winterport; Baltimore, the Baldacci family restaurant in Bangor; or Pizza House, also in Orono.
It couldn’t determine whether John Chronopoulos was the first to serve pizza, but all three had it as a menu item between 1949 and 1951.
According to BDN archives, Pat s didn’t serve pizza at first. Founded by C.D. Pat Farnsworth in Orono in 1931, it sold hot dogs, hamburgers, and ice cream for its first 20 years.
In 1953, they see the success of the newly decorated restaurant’s new pizza pie and Farnsworth and his colleague, Fran, begin developing their own new pizza recipe.
Fran made the smooth tomato sauce, adding just a touch of sweetness. And Pat made the dough chewy and sweet, with a buttery mouthfeel, unlike any other pizza dough I have ever had. I believe this s the crust that makes Pat s unique.
The crust of a good pizza is what pulls people toward it, so Pat’s is such an excellent point, to begin with. Find me one and I will buy you a pizza.
Friends became fans of Farnsworth’s pizza soon after that, and Farnsworth changed the name of his company to Pat’s.
The rest is history, as over the next seven decades it would be one of the best-known restaurants based out of Maine, loved by consumers in Sanford and Presque Isle alike.
The first Orono outpost is still operating today, without the absence of one or more substitutes at the University of Maine.
You could argue that the idea of pizza should be designed specifically for people of the Italian ethnicity, which Farnsworth is not.
Then again, Cuban-style pizza is popular in Miami, Florida, due to Cuban immigrants. Italian-style pizza was popularized by Austrian-American chef Wolfgang Puck around southern California.
And furthermore, Altoona-style pizza puts Velveeta cheese on top. Velveeta! It doesn’t sound appealing to me personally, but who am I to judge the fine folks of Altoona?
Short of purists who exist in a fantasyland where pizza can only be one thing, I believe all the pizzas of the world can get along in peace and harmony.
To those who like pineapple as a topping, to New Yorkers wolfing down sliced pepperoni pizza on the street, to a buttery, cheesy slice of Pat’s Pizza with extra pepperoni, washed down with an ice cold beer, Altoona may have a world-renowned cuisine of its own. Read more articles on dollarnex.