Matzah Pizza
Matzo Pizza (iStock)

Jewish neighborhoods were considered the best locations for pizza places.

According to the Italian American Historical Society, the pizza is of Jewish origin and its true ancestor is the matzah … unleavened bread eaten at Passover, this year March 27-April 4 … Roman soldiers in about 200 B.C. decided to chop up the matzah with a dab of olive oil and some cheese … Lo the pizza was born.

The pizza went into decline when Rome fell, but the custom of having public ovens in the town square kept it alive in Naples and Sicily.

Children always hovered about when the good wives came to bake their daily bread and were rewarded with a slab of pizza made from leftover dough.

Two different styles emerged … The Sicilians made a crust several inches thick … The Neapolitans likes it wafer thin.

The pizza fad got started in 1936 when a saloon owner asked a restaurant supply man to develop a small oven capable of generating the 600 degrees needed for pizza … The first pizza sold like hot cakes in New York’s German neighborhood because, he said, “the Italians don’t go much for eating out.”

The pizza still jumps ethnic and geographic barriers … New York and Chicago are said to lead the field, but Boston, Miami and Los Angeles were breathing hot mozzarella fumes down their necks … with Philadelphia and Detroit close behind.

Jewish neighborhoods were considered the best locations for pizza places, Irish and German came next, with the Italians far in the rear.

WES PIKULA who started as a dishwasher 46 years ago when Buddy’s Pizza was on 6 Mile, is today its chief brand officer … and also has a small interest in Buddy’s Pizza, now owned by CapitalSpring.

MAIL DEPT. … “Do you know what it was before becoming the London Chop House? My grandfather in California, Hiram Ackerman, used to tell me that he went to the London Chop House when it first opened and had great perch.” … Henry Ackerman.

(It was called Heed’s Chop House that Les Gruber bought around 1939 and opened as the London Chop House in the Murphy Building on Congress … His chef then was Eddie Dobler, the onetime “Perch King of America” who used to be at Breitmeyer’s Larned Grill.)

NO, THAT wasn’t Orson Welles at the Mayfield Chophouse on Griswold … He was Joe Luft, its look-alike owner.

OLDIE BUT GOODIE … A Jewish man took his Passover lunch to eat outside in the park … He sat down on a bench and began eating … Since he did not eat leavened bread during the eight-day holiday, he was eating matzah, flat unleavened bread that has dozens of perforations.

A little while later, a blind man came by and sat next to him … Feeling neighborly, the Jewish man passed a sheet of matzah to the blind man… The blind man handled the matzah for a few minutes, looked puzzled, and finally exclaimed, “Who wrote this junk?”

CONGRATS … To Dr. Scott Sircus on his birthday … To Sid Neuman on his birthday …To Robert Seffinger on his birthday … To Marilyn and Al Frommer on their anniversary.

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