Des Moines is a proud pizza town. That’s probably because the city’s restaurant scene was dominated by southern Italians after World War II at a time when G.I.s returned home from southern Italy with a taste for the Neapolitan creation. Today, pizza are ubiquitous in central Iowa. You can find them in fine dining restaurants like Centro, Dish, Django, Chuck’s, Noah’s, Sam and Gabe’s, Cosi Cucina, etc. They’re also star attractions in brew pubs like Court Avenue Brewing Company and Raccoon River Brewing Company. They are a famous part of the service in bars like Fong’s Pizza and Orlondo’s on Park. Some places specialize in these pies, such as Big Tomato, Scornovacco’s, Angelo’s, Red Rossa, Gusto and Pagliai’s. To mix metaphors the way we pile toppings on pizza — that’s just the tip of the volcano.
No matter how you look at these flat-breaded wonders, pizza traditions are strong in central Iowa. In this issue of Relish, we cover the old-school pie makers and show how they have evolved as third and fourth generations of the same family make pizza. We cover the basic styles and some of the newcomers. We also look at favorite fine dining accompaniments for pizza — drinks, antipasti and desserts. We also visit Graziano’s, the century-old maker of the city’s preferred Italian sausage, and Linda Bisignano, who has been turning out the city’s favorite tavern-style pies since she was a little girl at Chuck’s in the 1950s.
And, of course, The Dish returns with its review of the news and gossip from the first quarter of 2013. RELISH