How Italy’s Favorite Street Food Became Comfort Food In The United States


With its simple ingredients, tasty flavors, and affordable prices, Italian street food has been a favorite among Italians for centuries. But how did it make its way to the United States, and why has it become such a popular comfort food, especially pizza? Today, pizza is one of the most beloved foods in the United States, with over 75,000 pizzerias across the country, especially pizza Las Vegas. If you are looking for the best pizza options in Vegas, you can check out this pizza place in Las Vegas. In this blog post, we’ll explore the history and journey of Italian street food in the US and examine why it has become such a beloved comfort food.

Table of Contents

The Beginning

Italian street food has been a part of Italian culture for centuries, with vendors selling food from carts and stands on the streets of cities and towns throughout the country. Street food is often cheap, quick, and easy to eat on the go, making it a popular option for busy Italians. Some of the most popular Italian street foods include pizza al taglio (literally, “pizza by the cut”), panini, arancini (fried rice balls), and gelato.

When Italians emigrated to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they brought their love of street food. In cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, Italian immigrants set up small businesses selling pizza, sandwiches, and other classic Italian dishes from street carts and stands. These street vendors helped bring Italian cuisine to a wider audience in the US and paved the way for the Italian restaurants and pizzerias that are such a staple today.

Over time, Italian street food began to evolve in the US. While some traditional dishes like pizza and panini remained popular, new types of street food emerged that fused Italian flavors with other cuisines. One example is the Philly cheesesteak, a sandwich made with thinly sliced beef and melted cheese that originated in Philadelphia but has become a beloved comfort food across the US. Another example is the meatball sub, a sandwich made with meatballs and sauce, often served on a long roll.

Italian street food has become such a popular comfort food in the United States because of its simplicity. Many Italian dishes are made with just a few key ingredients, such as tomato sauce, olive oil, garlic, and cheese, making them easy to prepare and comforting. Additionally, Italian street food is often associated with a sense of community and tradition, as many US families have their own recipes and traditions for making dishes like pizza and meatballs.

Another reason Italian street food has become so popular in the US is its affordability. Many street vendors and pizzerias offer their food relatively cheaply, making it accessible to people of all income levels. This has helped Italian street food become a go-to option for people looking for a quick, tasty meal that won’t break the bank.


Pizza began gaining popularity in the United States in the early 20th century, thanks to Italian immigrants who brought their recipes and traditions. However, it wasn’t until after World War II that pizza became a mainstream food in America. Soldiers stationed in Italy during the war developed a taste for pizza and brought it back to the US. The first pizzeria in the United States was opened in New York City in 1905, and pizza quickly became a hit among Americans.

But why did pizza become such a beloved comfort food in America? There are a few reasons. Firstly, pizza is a food that can be shared with friends and family, making it a perfect food for social gatherings. Everyone can enjoy their favorite toppings, and ordering a large pizza to feed a crowd is easy. Secondly, pizza is a food that can be eaten at any time of the day. Pizza is always a satisfying choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Lastly, pizza is a comfort food because it’s customizable. You can add toppings, making it the perfect food for picky eaters.


From its humble origins on the streets of Italy to its current status as a beloved comfort food in the United States, Italian street food has come a long way. While it has evolved over time, with new dishes and flavors being introduced, Italian street food remains rooted in tradition and simplicity. Whether grabbing a slice of pizza in Vegas from a street vendor or making your own homemade meatballs, Italian street food has become an important part of American culinary culture, and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.


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