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The ‘Square’ doesn’t compare

Imo's is no match for true Italian pizza

Pizza+from+Visuvio%27s+in+Terralba%2C+Italy+%28left%29.+Pizza+from+Imo%27s+%28right%29.
Pizza from Visuvio's in Terralba, Italy (left). Pizza from Imo's (right).

Pizza from Visuvio's in Terralba, Italy (left). Pizza from Imo's (right).

Pizza from Visuvio's in Terralba, Italy (left). Pizza from Imo's (right).

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Ever since I arrived in St. Louis in August, all I have heard from my American friends is how great St. Louis-style pizza is. “Imo’s, Imo’s, Imo’s” is all they tell me. Well, I finally got a chance to try your beloved pizza, and compare it to the pizza we have back home in Italy.

Even though I’m not an expert, I do come from the birthplace of pizza, so I definitely have a particular taste when it comes to pizza.

There are many aspects that make American pizza different from Italian pizza. The biggest ones are the dough and the sauce. The dough in American pizza is thicker than Italian, which is really thin. American pizza tends to have a soft layer like bread, while Italian pizza has a crispy texture. In my opinion, “a soft pizza,” cannot be called true pizza. While I thought Imo’s had a thinner dough than other American pizzas, it was not crispy like the pizza I get at home.

Another thing that makes St. Louis-style pizza different from pizza in Italy is the cheese used. St. Louis is known for putting a combination of cheddar, Swiss, and provolone cheeses on pizza. You call this cheese concoction “Provel.” When I first bit into Provel cheese it felt like I was eating plastic. In Italy, every pizza restaurant uses the same cheese–mozzarella. Whereas Provel sticks to your mouth like burnt plastic, mozzarella is much lighter.

However, despite the soft dough and plastic cheese, I think the weirdest thing about your pizza is the ridiculous toppings you add. Pineapple? Who ever heard of topping a pizza with pineapple? You would never see this in Italy. If you ordered a pizza with pineapple you would be called ignorante, idiot in Italian. And you don’t stop with pineapple. I also see people in America using chicken and hamburger as toppings and even barbeque sauce! Believe it or not, in Italy the most common topping for teenagers on pizza is french fries! But for the adults, the common toppings include mushrooms and seafood.

If I were to ask many South students about their favorite pizza place, many would say Imo’s. My family lives in Terralba, Italy which is on an island 323 miles off the coast of mainland Italy. When my friends and I are hungry, my favorite place is Vesuvio–only a 10-minute walk from my house. Since my town is very small, restaurants and stores are not far away. Vesuvio is a pizzeria, but they serve other food as well. I usually order a pizza with french fries. The restaurant also has live music and shows on special occasions to attract customers.

You’re probably reading this and thinking that I hate St. Louis-style pizza. That’s not true. I appreciate that your pizza is different. It is a kind of pizza that I may not ever have again.

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