Depending on who you ask, Chicago pizza may or may not be pizza. Sad New York Mets fan Jon Stewart once called it "tomato soup in a bread bowl," saying, "When I look at your deep dish fuckin' pizza, I don't know whether to eat it or throw a coin in it and make a wish." That wish, he says, would be for real pizza.
Well, (pizza pie) in your face, Stewart! Chicago is soon to be the home of the US Pizza Museum (for a day), which, taking the higher road, celebrates all things pizza—deep-dish, thin-crust, and everything in between.
The US Pizza Museum started as an online endeavor by Kendall Burns, a big-time pizza fan in Chicago who collects pizza-related art and ephemera. The museum will come to life on April 3, when it will exhibit vintage pizza advertisements, buttons, toys, pizza boxes, and menus at Chop Shop, a restaurant and store with an attached event space in Chicago's Wicker Park.
The US Pizza Museum exhibit is part of Chicago's first annual Pizza Summit, a meeting of the minds and pizza power players that caps off a month-long 30 Days of Pizza featuring pizza events throughout the city. Andrew W.K., a pizza aficionado who even owns a pizza-shaped guitar, is the keynote speaker at the summit, which features all-you-can-eat pizza.
But unfortunately for pizza pros the world over, the Pizza Summit is sold out. The only way to catch a piece of pizza history is to win tickets by entering a drawing or RSVPing to the remaining 30 Days of Pizza parties. Chicagoist suggests signing up for the event organizer's mailing list in the hopes they release more tickets.
While Chicago's US Pizza Museum has got the snazzy official-sounding name, it actually isn't the first pizza museum in the States. Philadelphia's Pizza Brain, which features the world's largest collection of pizza memorabilia as well as an attached artisan pizzeria, takes that title.
As for Andrew W.K., he's a bit of a pizza diplomat about the New York-Chicago debate. "The joy in life is that we get to have so many types of pizza," he told First We Feast. "I want to broaden my mind so that I can like every single pizza that exists."
In a big shocker, though, he's got a very unconventional personal opinion as to where to find supreme pizza. "As far as the best consistent pizza I've had anywhere—in a large region—has been Canada," he said. A New Yorker like W.K. saying Canada has the best 'za takes some serious meatballs.