For the record, and to avoid any future confusion : I make Salem, VA style pizza. I also consider my pizza to be the benchmark for pizza in Salem, Va. Its history began about six years ago (I will have to check the books on the exact date.) None of the currently available, retail level, pizza in Salem, Va is on par with what I produce, at home. I can say this from experience. I have tried them. Sadly, most are from the chains. Some are local joints. Mine is still better (not just my opinion, this is backed up by most who have eaten my pizza.). Am I just bragging about my pizza? On some level, yes.
. However, I will be the first to admit, I have had better pizza than my own. Sadly, it has been quite some time, and not in Salem, Va. I make my pizza in a simple, home oven. It is a 27 year old electric oven, no Coal fired, Wood fired, Commercial Deck, Blackstone, etc. My pizza has evolved a bit since its conception. Changes to formula, dough handling, and baking procedures. My first pies were really good. My current pies are really good. I hope to make better pies, as I continue to make Salem, Va style pies.
Now, that being said, I am comparing Apples to Oranges. The other pizzas available in Salem, Va are not Salem, Va style pizzas. They are either chain pizzas that fall more into the "American style", or some approximation of "New York style". Some are okay, most are not.
My point, you may ask? The Salem, Va style pizza does not have a strict set of formulas or procedures. It only has to meet a few, general rules:
1. It must have originated in Salem, Va.
2. It must be really good.
3. See rules 1 and 2.
There, the criteria have been documented for historical reference. I am proud to say, that I make the best damn Salem, Va style pizza available at this time. I sure do wish others would try to improve on the style. I certainly think there is room for improvement.
PLEASE TAKE THIS POST AS A HUMOROUS ONE! It is more of a comment on the sad state of pizza in my area than anything else.