Few things can incite a passionate, heated debate among friends in under 30 seconds, but pizza happens to be one of them. Specifically, square cut vs. triangle cut pizza. As with any battle, there are very strong opinions on both sides. Those who grew up in New York, New Jersey and along the East Coast will argue that pizza exclusively comes in slices except when ordering a rectangle pizza pie, like a Sicilian slice, a grandma pie or deep-dish pizza, while our friends in the Midwest, including those in Chicago and St. Louis, believe that square cut pizza is the only way. We aren’t here to choose sides, but do feel they both need a proper defense. So here we are, defending the square cut pizza. Read on to see why this pizza cut may be the greatest sleeper hit of them all.
What Is Square Cut Pizza?
Simply put, square cut pizza is pizza that is cut into squares instead of slices. Yes, it’s a standard round pizza. Yes, it is “usually” cut into pizza slices, at least on a global scale, just like your favorite pie. Perhaps a pecan pie, if you’re feeling specific. This take, however, favors enjoying pizza in bite-sized bits over a chat and a beer at the bar, hence it’s two nicknames. Square pizza is called the “tavern cut” and the “party cut.” These crispy, thin-crust pizza pies originated in the neighborhood taverns of the Midwest after World War II and were cut in square slices to be easily divvied and shared among the bar crowd. The pizza was less doughy and more salty, meaning patrons would get thirsty and order more beer.
Square Cuts vs Slices: What’s the Difference
In the Midwest, Chicagoans will tell you it’s an unspoken rule that if you’re ordering thin-crust pizza or bar-style pie, it’s going to come in square cuts. This differs elsewhere around the country and dare we say, the world, where pizza traditionally comes in slices i.e. one circle, eight slices. You know the drill. This Chicago-style square cut pizza is not to be confused with deep-dish, a heavy, dense pizza served in a high-sided pan. Deep-dish pizza is, in fact, served in slices because of its weight. There are many different types of pizza, though, and some of our favorite styles are actually cut into squares instead of pie slices.
Think about an Italian Grandma slice with fresh mozzarella and basil, for example, or a thick-crust Sicilian pizza with onions, anchovies and tomatoes. These crowd pleasers are almost always cut into square slices! This also includes regional American favorites like Detroit style pizza, which is rectangular, thick, chewy and topped with tomato sauce and Wisconsin brick cheese, and Old Forge style pizza, a staple in Northeastern Pennsylvania featuring a light, airy crust and crispy bottom made with a special cheese blend and served in square cuts on a metal tray.
Reasons People Like Square Cut Pizza
Square cut pizza may seem unconventional to some, but it’s actually a great way to share pizza with a group of friends, family, coworkers or even strangers. Square cut pizza is easy to eat, promotes community and social gatherings, helps manage portion control and is the only way to try multiple styles of pizza.
Easier to eat.
It may seem counterintuitive to opt for a square pizza cut rather than a pie cut because the triangle, and its crust, does make pizza easy to hold and fold and eat, BUT, that is not a problem when you have smaller, bite-sized pieces! When you cut pizza in squares, you get these easy, poppable square mini pizzas that are not only fun to eat but easy to scale and to share. These cracker-thin, tavern-style pizzas can be found at pizza places from Ohio to Louisville and beyond. Square cut pizza is a great takeout option to bring anywhere from picnics to baseball games.
A square cut pizza is a party pizza; it’s the perfect cut to share at happy hour with coworkers, over kid’s birthday parties, during family game nights and while watching movies with friends. It’s a social cut that maximizes pizza’s shareability so everyone can have a taste. One pie-cut slice is about three square-cut slices, meaning there is three times the pizza to share! Square cut pizza is also great for those who love AND those who loathe crust. Crust aficionados can grab an extra crunchy, crispy corner piece while those who prefer to skip the crust can relish in the cheesiest, crust-free slices at the center. Midwestern hospitality at its finest.
One of the best things about square cut is that it’s truly a guilt-free way to enjoy pizza. Gone are the days where a full slice feels like too much food! Square cut pizza is ideal for snacking and you can scale your eating based on how hungry you are. Due to the nature of square cut pizza, the pizza cuts tend to differ with some larger and some smaller pieces. If you just want a taste, grab a small square slice and see how you feel. Still hungry? Grab another! It’s super easy to control how much you are eating when you are enjoying a little at a time.
Makes it easier to try different pizza varieties.
Smaller size pieces of pizza mean you can try a little bit of everything without feeling too full. Normally, if you order a few pizza varieties, you can try 2-3 slices of different pizza topping combinations before calling it quits, but with square cut, you have the room to take little samples of everything! Having this option is great for large groups, parties, events and more where you can order a ton of different options and taste them all. We love trying new flavors like pepperoni and pineapple or ricotta and onion.
East Coasters, ask your local pizzeria to cut your pizza in squares next time and taste the difference! Let’s get this classic style trending.