Papa Who? What Makes Wiseguy Pizza the Best Pizza in Boise
There are few foods in the world more universally loved than pizza. Over the years, it’s become more than what’s for dinner; it’s a cultural phenomenon.
Pizza is so popular that the US government used it to spy on reporters and politicians during the 1960s red scare. They would fake pizza deliveries to see if they could catch spies. It’s been delivered to the International Space Station, inspired artists and musicians, and used as the inspiration for Saturday morning cartoon characters.
Here at Wiseguy, we strive to create the best pizza in Boise because we love pizza more than most people. Read on as we look at what made pizza the cultural phenomenon it is today and what makes us the best Boise pizza place.
When Did Pizza Become So Popular?
There’s not really a straightforward way to track down the history of pizza. Part of the problem is that everyone defines pizza differently. Does something need sauce to be a pizza? What about cheese? If you put pineapple on it, is it still considered a pizza? We’re not diving into that controversial topic. We’ll only say that we don’t judge.
Technically, the Greeks, ancient Egyptians, and Romans all ate flatbreads with toppings, but that doesn’t seem like a high enough standard to us. After all, if you believe that any type of bread with a topping counts, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is really just a stuffed pizza.
What most people traditionally consider modern pizza started in the Italian region of Campania, the home of Naples. Naples had a large working class and poor population that needed cheap food options, so they would put tomatoes, cheese, oil, anchovies and garlic on flatbreads. That style of pizza, named after the people of Naples (Neapolitans), is still sold and beloved today.
The Margherita pizza, which is a combination of green pesto, mozzarella, and red tomatoes, began soon after. After the unification of Italy, Queen Margherita visited the Naples area in 1889. After becoming bored with her traditional French cuisine, the queen began eating the local pizza, and this combination was her favorite.
It probably seems like Italy was the epicenter of pizza, but in reality the rest of Italy didn’t get in on the pizza craze until the 1900s.
Pizza Comes To America
Across the ocean, immigrants were flooding into the United States through Ellis Island from Naples. Many of these people brought their culture and love of traditional pizza with them. The first American pizza shop opened in Manhattan in 1905. Lombardi’s still exists and uses the same pizza oven from 1905, although it’s in a new location.
Pizza shops opened around the Northeast for the next two decades, in places like New Haven, Boston, New Jersey, and of course New York City. As immigrants moved west after world war 2, they took their love of pizza with them.
This, combined with a surge of veterans coming home from Italy after the war, led to the quick explosion of the food as a national meal instead of being viewed as a cultural dish.
Interestingly, the rest of Italy didn’t join the pizza party until later. Europe began to emulate American culture after World War 2, and that included an obsession for pizza. Now, you can find a pizza restaurant in almost every city in North America and Europe.
Different Variations Sprout Up
As the popularity of pizza rose, different areas of the United States put their own spin on the Italian classic.
Most people connect Chicago to their sports teams, but the windy city has its own special place in pizza lore.
One of the most popular pizza variations is also one of the most controversial. Chicago decided to take a pizza, make it thicker, throw a bunch of sauce on top of it, and put it into a pan. This type of pizza, much like the traditional New York slice, has become part of the identity of its city. Is it pizza? Is it lasagna? It all depends on your opinion, but there’s no denying that it’s delicious.
This pizza starts with the crust, followed by the cheese and then the ingredients afterwards. The most popular ingredients include sausage, pepperoni, ground beef, bell peppers, and mushrooms. A thick marinara sauce then goes on top, giving the pizza a pie like appearance.
St Louis also put their own spin on the traditional pizza. One part of their style of pizza has become a popular choice among people who love thin crust: the square cut. This style originated in St Louis because it’s easier to cut their special dough this way.
In the Lou, they make a cracker style crust without yeast, giving it a unique flavor and crunch. They also use a special type of cheese called Provel. This is a mix of cheddar, swiss, and provolone that has a low melting point, giving it a gooey texture and buttery flavor. To some, this type of pizza doesn’t sound great, but trust us: if you’re ever in St. Louis, try it. It’s much better than it sounds.
Back in the motor city’s glory days, automakers wanted a pizza that they could eat easily on break from the lines and that they could cook while at work. They did this by taking pizza dough, pressing it out into a square automotive parts pan, adding block cheese all the way to the edge, some pepperoni, and cutting it into large squares.
The key to this pizza’s flavor is the caramelized cheese. Because the cheese goes all the way to the crust and the pan has high edges, it creates a fusion between the cheese and the crust. It looks burnt to some, but it tastes delicious.
In the Northeast, a large number of Greek immigrants wanted to create their own version of pizza. While they liked the Italian version, they wanted something that reminded them of their home and favorite ingredients.
Greek pizza has a thick chewy crust that’s cooked in a shallow pan filled with oil, giving the outer layer a crispy fried taste. The crust is somewhere between a thin crust and a deep dish. What really stands out are the ingredients.
The sauce of a Greek style pizza includes a heavy dose of oregano for an added kick. These pizzas also typically include Greek ingredients, such as feta, red onions, and olives. There’s normally more sauce on the pizza than cheese as well.
Of course, California had to make their own style of pizza. Much like the state itself, this style of pizza is all about decadence and overindulgence.
California took traditional pizza and decided that they wanted to make it as fancy as possible. This produces some amazing results, but also can create things that make you wonder if the state is attempting to become a meme of itself.
We would talk about the typical toppings of a California pizza here, but truth be told, there are no typical toppings. That’s the hallmark of this style. You may find a pizza with lobster tail and shrimp on it. You could also find a pizza with kale, avocado, spinach, and vegan cheese.On the weirder side of things, California (and New York, of course) have decided that putting gold on a pizza and charging $1000 for it is a good idea. This works if you make 20 million a film, but if you’re a normal person, don’t worry: we don’t have any plans of putting precious metals on our pizza anytime soon.
Pizza Makes Its Way to the Freezer Aisle
As with every other type of food, pizza eventually made its way into mass distribution and the frozen food aisle.
Some people like to laugh about eating frozen foods or bemoan them, but these items have helped millions of people. It allowed working-class families across the country to have access to foods they normally wouldn’t without worrying about spoilage.
The idea to flash freeze food first occurred to Clarence Birdseye. He spent $7 in 1923 for brine, ice, and an electric fan, and eventually figured out how he could flash freeze veggies. He then started selling them, creating an entire industry in the process.
Fast forward to today, and you can get almost anything, including pizza, in the frozen food aisle. We’re not sure who actually invented the frozen pizza, but the first nationwide brand was Celentano Brothers. Rose and Jim Totino, who owned the first pizza restaurant in Minneapolis, also sold frozen pizzas, and they were the most popular brand by the end of the ‘60s.
Thanks to companies refining the process, frozen pizza is now a 5 billion dollar a year industry. While these pizzas feed millions of people every year, nothing replaces a hot and freshly made pizza straight out of the oven, and nobody makes those pizzas better than Wiseguy Pizzas.
What Makes Wiseguy Pizza the Best Pizza in Boise?
There are plenty of pizza places in Boise, from local mom and pop stores to the national chains. You’ve probably heard all of them (us included!) claim to have the best pizza, but what does that mean?
Being the best is about more than selling the most pizza or creating a wonky ‘pizza of the month’. It’s about being passionate about what you do. To be the best, you have to rededicate yourself to a commitment of quality every day.
Ric Flair famously said that to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man. Well, we’re not limo ridin, jet flyin, wheelin dealin, kiss stealin sons of guns, but our pizzas will have you riding space mountain. Here’s why we’ve got the best fresh pizza in Boise.
We Only Use The Best Ingredients
If there’s one thing we can’t stand, it’s biting into a pizza and realizing that we’re getting yesterday’s dough or sauce.
What the big three pizza companies won’t tell you is that when you become a manager there, 50% of your job is to control food costs. That doesn’t seem too bad on the surface, right? After all, every pizza place needs to save money, us included.
Where we disagree with other stores is that we don’t believe in saving money by giving our customers substandard ingredients.
Have you ever eaten a pizza and had a sour taste in your mouth? That’s because you’re getting old sauce. With the big three, your pizza sauce gets made by mixing a pouch of sauce with water into a giant plastic tub. They don’t just make one of these a day, either. Often, they’ll make three or four tubs on a Monday and use it until it runs out.
That pizza sauce you got on Thursday could have been made on Monday. The problem is that by the second day, the sauce starts to turn sour. Imagine what happens after three or more days.
If you’ve ever gotten a pizza that has flat looking dough and a sour taste, then you’re getting dough that wasn’t made that day. The fermentation process for yeast is like the process for alcohol. The longer dough sits, the longer yeast ferments, so your pizza dough will taste sour and have a slight alcohol smell.
The same thing happens with dough that happens with sauce. They make the dough, and if they don’t sell it, they keep it. Food cost goes down, but so does quality.
We Make Our Sauce and Dough Daily
Unlike those bigger companies, we don’t want to save on costs by cheating our customers. We come into the store early every day to make dough and sauce, and if we have any left over, we toss it that night.
We don’t stop with the dough and sauce, though. We use the best vendors possible to get the highest quality meats, veggies, and other ingredients. We also use Pendleton Flour, milled straight out of Blackfoot, Idaho.
We get every ingredient we can from local sources to both maintain our high level of quality and to keep more money into the local economy.
Even our beers are local! Local ingredients arrive fresh to our shop, giving our pizzas, sandwiches, and salads more flavor and consistency. You shouldn’t have to spend your money on food and wonder when it was made.
Ties To The Community
One thing that makes Boise great is the number of local businesses. While other cities have turned into cookie cutter models of each other by pushing for national brands and big box stores, the people of Boise support small businesses.
We think that Boise’s dedication to local restaurants and small businesses is one of the main reasons the city is seeing rapid growth.
When you shop local, you support the local economy. It’s always been hard for local farmers and suppliers to keep their businesses open, but the pandemic has taken an especially large toll on them.
These small local businesses provide the people of Boise with good jobs. They provide the city with tax revenue, which helps keep the roads, schools, and utilities running. Because of the support from the community, Boise is able to have world class amenities while maintaining a small town feel.
We’re a locally owned and operated business that sources whatever we can from Idaho. We want to help maintain what keeps Boise great. When you buy from one of the big three chains, your money gets spread out. Only a fraction of that money stays here, while the rest goes towards padding the wallets of executives in Dallas, Louisville, and Michigan.
Those cities benefit from the money spent here in Boise. Why not keep that money local? You get a better pizza and your money stays right here in the local economy. It’s a win-win!
Options for any Diet
We know that there are a lot of people who have different dietary needs, whether they’re vegetarians, vegans, or need a gluten-free diet. That’s why we’ve diversified our menu to make sure that everyone can enjoy our food.
For The Carnivores
Of course, we’ve got plenty of meat on our menu. We’ve got the standard stuff, like pepperoni, ham, bacon, and sausage. We also offer meatballs, anchovies, salami, and chicken, which you can get grilled, spicy, or with bbq sauce.
One of our most popular pizzas is the fat guy, which has salami, pepperoni, sausage, ham and bacon. You can also always create your own pie with any amount of toppings, although we wouldn’t recommend more than eight per pie. More toppings than that can make a pie soggy and weigh it down. Nobody likes a droopy new york crust.
More Veggies Than a Whole Foods
If you’re a vegetarian, we’ve got a great pie for you. Our Vegetablarian table comes loaded with our favorite veggies: roma tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, red onions, green peppers and garlic. Just like the meat pizza, you can make your own pizza as well from one of many veggie toppings.
We have several options, including artichokes, basil, feta, black olives, caramelized onions, green peppers, arugula, scallions, and more!
These pizzas are both delicious and healthy! If you’re looking for a delicious vegetarian pizza, we have the freshest ingredients in Boise. We even offer gluten free crusts if you have a special dietary need like Celiac disease.
More Than Just Pizza
We’re proud of our pizzas, but we’re more than one trick ponies. We’ve got a whole range of products that can fill any appetite.
Sure, we’re a pizza place, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t serve up some awesome salads. One of the problems that we’ve noticed from other pizza places in Boise, Idaho is that salads are a mixed bag. Sometimes you get a great one, and sometimes your lettuce looks like something floating in the middle of Lake Lowell.
We only use fresh lettuce and the finest ingredients in our salads, so whether you like a traditional cobb salad or want a Greek antipasto, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve also got amazing sandwiches if you’re looking for something different. One of our most popular options is the traditional calzone, which comes with ricotta, whole milk mozzarella, and two toppings of your choice.
Another popular choice is the Wiseguy cheesesteak, which comes with Shaved ribeye, sautéed onions, and Provolone cheese on a hoagie roll. For an extra .50, you can add peppers, mushrooms, jalapenos, or extra cheese to make your friends in Philadelphia jealous.
Maybe you’re not hungry but you want some liquid bread? We’ve got you covered there too. We offer Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Coors Light, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. If you’re feeling a little fancy, we’ve got red and white wines as well. As we’ve learned from personal experience, nothing impresses a date more than having pizza and wine.
Visit Wiseguy for the Best Pizza in Boise Today!
Whether you’re looking for a place to grab some pizza and beer on your lunch break or trying to figure out what’s for dinner, come see for yourself what makes us the best pizza in Boise. Our main shop is in downtown Boise at 570 Main Street on the corner of S. 6th, and we’ve got two more locations, one in Hailey and another in Ketchum.
We’ve got slice specials for lunch, cold beer, fresh pizzas, and we’re open late on the weekends. Come check us out in Old Boise or order your pie online for pickup or delivery today!