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New York vs. Chicago pizza: Supreme Court justice makes ruling

Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images

One thing can be said about Supreme Court justices – they have strong opinions and they stand by them. 

Even about pizza. In January, Justice Antonin Scalia praised New York pizza as “infinitely better” than Chicago pizza, and on Tuesday he reinforced that fact, stating that although he likes Chicago style deep-dish pizza, “It should not be called ‘pizza.’ It should be called ‘a tomato pie.’ Real pizza is Neapolitan [from Naples, Italy]. It is thin. It is chewy and crispy, OK?”

There are those who agree with him, those who disagree, and those who fall somewhere in the middle.

In Justice Scalia’s corner, you have people who think pizza should have a thin crust that, according to Serious Eats, is “at once crisp and chewy … best with only one or two toppings applied (so crust remains crisp).” The tomato sauce is applied underneath the cheese and toppings. Fans of this style of pizza include Anthony Bourdain, who, as a proud New Yorker, says, “"I think even our ordinary, 'utility' pizza is better than anybody else's." NYC pizza is so popular, it is even favored by First Lady Michelle Obama, who proclaimed her pizza lunch at famous pizzeria Grimaldi’s “better than Chicago pizza.” Now THAT’S some serious love! New York's most famous classic pizzerias include the aforementioned Grimaldi's, John’s of Bleecker Street and Lombardi’s.

Those who love Chicago pizza shouldn't get their feathers ruffled, though – there are plenty in that camp. Chicago pizza lovers enjoy a crust that has been, according to Serious Eats, “cooked in a deep pan, with a deep, thick, buttery crust, and a chunky tomato sauce. Lots of cheese, lots of (and/or copious amounts of) toppings.” Some restaurants assemble the pizza like it is made in NYC (but on a thicker crust and with more toppings), while some put the cheese and toppings on the bottom of the crust, topping off the whole thing with tomato sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

This is the case at the Original Gino’s East, of which Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman is a devotee: “Gino's has the giant disk of sausage that they put inside the pizza. It's genius. Every bite has the same amount of sausage. You don't get one bite with more sausage and one bite without any." He loves it so much that he named it the best pizza he ever ate. Travel+Leisure Magazine readers evidently agree with him, because in 2011 they rated Chicago as the best pizza city in America in the mag’s America’s Favorite Cities Poll. New York didn’t even come in until number three on that poll, which just goes to prove that not everyone goes for the two pizza heavyweight cities.

Celebrity chef and restaurateur David Burke loves pizza from his home state of New Jersey, citing Fort Lee’s Baggio’s for its “different kind of sauce — it’s more caramelized, and has more flavor.” When "The Price is Right" wrapped production, host Drew Carey flew out 45 pizzas from Antonio’s in Parma, Ohio to celebrate with the cast and crew. And of course, New Haven, Conn.'s Sally’s and Pepe’s are still waging an ages-old battle.

Where do you stand on the pizza issue? Thin, foldable, and crunchy from New York? Fork-and-knife, cheesy, buttery Chicago deep dish? Or something else altogether? The only wrong opinion is not having one! New York vs. Chicago (or Ohio!) — who wins the pizza showdown?