Romano’s Italian Cuisine, the best restaurant in Salisbury North Carolina, our goal has always been to create and serve a menu that is quite unlike any other in the Piedmont Region. We’ve structured our menu to reflect everything from classic Italian favorites to Americanized versions of the cuisine. As a result, we’re serving up a unique mixture of Italian and Italian American dishes with interesting origins that stem from Italy to many corners of the United States.
While eating certain cuisines, especially those considered foreign, have you ever thought to yourself, “Where does this dish originate from?” or maybe “How has this dish changed over time?” In this blog post, we break down several of the dishes from our menu, popular dishes across the United States and Italy, and talk about their origins. In many ways, food is like a work of art. The fact that a dish can originate from Naples, Italy, and end up on a menu at Romanos Salisbury NC, is fascinating in its own right. Food is indicative of culture, it’s indicative of cultural norms and traditions. Because of that, food tends to tell its own story, oftentimes with fascinating details.
As we break down these details and highlight some of our popular menu items, get to thinking about the foods in your life. What did you grow up eating? Is there a reason you gravitate toward certain foods more than others? Does the state or country you live in play a role in what you eat? How do certain foods reinvent themselves based on location and time? These are all questions that can get you to start examining your own food culture.
The Great Debate Stromboli versus Calzone
Here at Romano’s, you will find we offer both calzones and stromboli in places to eat Salisbury. It is not uncommon for these two dishes to show up on a pizza menu at your local establishment. It’s also not uncommon for people unfamiliar with the two dishes to question what they are, and more importantly, how they’re different. First of all, where do they come from? Are they both Italian dishes or did they originate in the United States or elsewhere? Here’s a fun fact. Despite the very similar nature of these dishes, they do, in fact, stem from two different places. Can you guess where?
Let’s start with the stromboli. Many people believe that stromboli comes from Italy. In actuality, this dish is 100% American. Your first inclination might be to think that it originated in New York, seeing as NYC was the gateway for pizza when it first came to the United States. As much as we’d like to take credit, it didn’t start here at Romano’s, the best restaurant in Salisbury. Out of guesses? Stromboli was born in South Philadelphia in the 1950s. Strombolis are very similar to calzones, which is why they often appear in pizza places across the country, however, they differ in terms of how they’re cut, served, and presented. They typically feature all of the same, if not similar ingredients, however, stromboli’s take their sauce on the side.
Now, you might think that the calzone is an American invention too, seeing as it’s similar to stromboli. However, you’d be wrong! The calzone, while a very close relative of stromboli is strictly Italian. Calzones were crafted originally in Naples, Italy (also known as the birthplace of modern pizza) and made a splash in New York Italian takeout places.
While both of these portable, delectable, and hearty favorites might show up on your local restaurants Salisbury pizza menu, only one has true American roots. The invention of stromboli shows how strong influence can run, and further demonstrates how countries often make their own renditions of foreign food they appreciate.
The Greek Gyro
At Romano’s Italian Cuisine, our menu has plates that derive from other areas in the Mediterranean including Greece! As a result, you will often find certain similarities that occur in the region’s cuisine. The gyro is particularly interesting because it has roots ranging all the way back to the Ottoman Empire. For those unfamiliar with the way gyro meat is cooked, it’s a practice stemming back to 19th century Bursa. The meat is cooked on a vertical spit, and then shaved off and made into a food called the doner kebab. It’s hard to believe this old-school classic would one day be on our Romanos Salisbury NC menu.
By 1970, gyros were a solid part of Athens’s fast-food culture. However, this is when they started to gain traction in New York City and Chicago. In fact, many in the United States claimed they revolutionized the gyro by creating its mass production. Either way, the gyro is still a hallmark of Greek fast food around the world.
All About Hawaiian Pizza
Who knew that one pizza could spark such controversy? When it comes to Hawaiian pizza, people usually fall into one of two categories. They either wholeheartedly love the creation or find it blasphemous. So, where did this creation come from? Is it actually Hawaiian in origin? You might be surprised to find out that Hawaiian pizza wasn’t born in Hawaii. In fact, this pie you often find on your local American pizza menu isn’t even technically an American creation. Hawaiian Pizza was founded in Canada by a Greek-born Canadian named Sam Panopoulos in 1962. Interestingly enough, the flavor profile Panopoulos was trying to emulate was sweet and salty, having worked preparing Chinese dishes. The name Hawaiian was drawn from the brand of pineapples he was using on the pizza. Today, the pie is a global phenomenon, still defying backlash from pizza purists.
Any Italian food veteran has likely crossed paths with chicken and/or eggplant parmesan. The dish, while heavily rooted in Italian culture came as a result of Italian immigration to the United States. Dating back to the early 20th century, this dish and its variants (eggplant parmigiana) are nationwide hits. Its frequent appearance on the average American pizza menu proves just how influential those who immigrate to the States can be with their culture.