Thursday, August 30, 2018

Small Town Discoveries: Ike Sewell, Pizzeria Uno, and Wills Point, Texas

Jamie and I got to talking the other night about foods that we loved and wanted to have again.  And Jamie brought up Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.

If you haven't had it, Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is a treat; a pizza with a deep, deep crust, creating a very thick pizza more resembling a pie than a flatbread.  A true pizza pie.  Because of the thickness and the cooking time (30-40 minutes), the toppings are often assembled backwards with crust, cheese, toppings, and then sauce on top.  When sausage is one of the toppings, it can often be present as a large single patty that covers the pizza, such that each bite has crust, cheese, sausage, and sauce.  It's a very filling, heavy meal, with often one slice per person being enough to satisfy hunger.

I know there is much debate regarding styles of pizza, but I'm not one who gets into pizza wars.  I'm not going to pick a side between New York-style and Chicago-style (or Detroit-style, etc. etc.).  I love all kinds of pizza and will gladly eat it in all its different forms.

My first trip to Chicago, I had one of the classic deep-dish pizzas at Giordano's, a Chicago mainstay.  This last trip to Chicago, Jamie and I tried Lou Malnati's.  And of the two, Lou Malnati's was a definite favorite.

While Jamie and I were discussing the pizza, I told her a little trivia fact that I knew about deep-dish pizza:  the first deep-dish  was invented at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago with a Texan instrumental in its development.  Jamie wanted to know more, so I pulled up research on Pizzeria Uno.  Sure enough, deep-dish pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago in 1943, by Uno's founder Ike Sewell, though later claims suggest that the pizza chef Rudy Malnati (Lou's father) truly developed the recipe.  I then looked up Ike Sewell and discovered he was a graduate of the University of Texas and a football player from 1926 to 1929, who worked for American Airlines, but moved to Chicago in 1933.  Through this research I then stumbled on to a little factoid that amazed me.

Ike Sewell was born in Wills Point, Texas.

The godfather of deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza was born in Wills Point, Texas!!

Why do we not have a deep-dish pizza restaurant in town in his honor and why is this fact not publicized and celebrated? His birthday of September 9 should at least be celebrated in town with pizza.

Jamie was so excited she shared the information at school the next day.  I was just excited to learn of such a connection and wanted to share it here.

I've lived in Wills Point now almost ten years and am still discovering such interesting little bits of information.  And I'm sure each town has their own little interesting bits of history.  Like the connection Ginger Rogers had to Bessmay, Texas.

What interesting facts and connections about your town do you know?

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