New Yorkers are a pretty unshakable bunch, but there is one subject that can always get under their skin: pizza. Every resident here pledges allegiances to their favorite slice spot, considering it the best pizza on the planet. The bond between New Yorkers and their pizza is stronger than the one between most Americans and their parents. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press secretary Eric Phillips got a taste of this devotion when he tweeted out a photo of a pie from a Chicago pizzeria, calling it the best pizza in the United States.
This is the best pizza in the United States and it’s not close. pic.twitter.com/wnKBUjuHkl— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) November 12, 2017
The pizza in photo is from Pequod’s, a spot that tops Time Out’s list of the best pizza in Chicago and is by any objective measure a glorious combination of dough, cheese and sauce. It’s not a deep dish pie, but rather a pan. Each steamy creation from the restaurant has a ring of caramelized cheese on its edge, providing one of the most unique pizza experiences in the whole country.
But even so, the Twitterati unleashed a hell storm onto Phillips’ account, with dozens of New Yorkers discrediting the Midwestern city’s pizza options and noting that the mayor once famously consumed a slice with a fork. Phillips doubled down, saying that NYC pizza is to Chicago pizza as salisbury steak is to actual steak. The chain lit a spark in the bottomless powder keg between the two cites’ pizzas—even David Axelrod chimed in.
Despite all the back-and-forth, Phillips is wrong on more than one level. He suggests that Pequod’s is emblematic of all of Chicago’s pizza, adding that he prefers “Chicago–style” and that he doesn’t “think anyone cares what type of pizza the mayor’s press secretary likes.” He fails to mention that the style of pan pizzas that Pequod’s pumps out is unique to just a few locations in the entire Chicago area. He also fails to mention that a small fraction of Chicagoans actually eat deep dish (because it is a casserole), and instead opt for square-cut, flaky thin crust pies.
So what is the major takeaway from this whole Twitter spat? Perhaps it’s that pizza allegiances reflect a sense of civic pride—that we can all love the cities we live in a little bit more passionately if we take to the internet and defend their pizza cred. Or maybe it’s that residents of Chicago and New York will continuously engage in an endless, unresolvable debate over petty arguments. But no matter which side of the debate you stand with, it’s clear that Phillips is in the wrong here, and he should apologize to both cities for his mistake.