Quad Cities Style Pizza Wasn’t Invented in the QC, But One Style Was
The Quad Cities are known for many things:
- It's a great sports area.
- It's an incredibly musical community.
- It's known for it's exceptional art culture.
- Cary Grant did something here once.
But nothing can tie a community together or tear it apart like the conversation about Quad Cities Style Pizza. Is it the most famous thing about the Quad Cities? It just may be. However there is something to take into account before we hang our hat too proudly.
Quad Cities Style Pizza was not invented "IN THE QUAD CITIES"
According to an article on QCTimes.com the original "Quad Cities Style" pizza came out of Calumet City, Il thanks to Tony Maniscalco.
“I would like to put to rest any conjecture concerning who was first. My father, Anthony ‘Tony’ Maniscalco brought this delectable dish to the Quad-Cities from Calumet City, Ill., in 1952-53 when he leased the kitchen area of the famed old Paddock Club in Rock Island. This was the introduction of what was then called pizza pie. The recipes currently used in many local Quad-City pizza parlors are derived from Tony’s original formula.
Wundram, Bill "Dear Bill." QCTimes.com, Jan 9, 2007
Made famous in the QC? Yes. But invented here? Nope.
Have no fear. There is a style of pizza that was actually invented in the Quad Cities. That man went by the name of Lawrence Joseph Whitty. Yes, Happy Joe invented the Taco Pizza at his Bettendorf location which happens to be a part of the Quad Cities (unless we're going to have this argument too).
I was able to interview the great Happy Joe at his home a couple years before he passed. This is his story about how the Taco Pizza came to be:
Does this mean we need to disregard what everyone knows as "Quad Cities Style Pizza"? No. But we should start including the pizza that has chips & taco sauce on top.