Rhode Island is known for two things: traffic and good food.

Italian cuisine is the state’s specialty, so when GoProvidence announced Pizza Week this week to celebrate its varied, delicious forms, the state flocked to participating restaurants to indulge.

All this talk of pizza over the last week got me wondering about a Rhode Island creation that baffles out-of-towners with its simplicity and surprisingly good taste.

Pizza strips, aka Party Pizza. When was it created and why did Rhode Island keep it alive for all of these years?

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What Are Rhode Island Pizza Strips?

Pizza strips, also known as party pizza, are made with Italian bread dough, topped with tomato sauce, and sometimes sprinkled with grated romano cheese. It’s either cut into long rectangles or square pieces and layered in a box with wax paper instead of a traditional pizza box.

It’s simple, but Rhode Islanders are crazy about it.

Who Invented the Rhode Island Pizza Strip?

Eric Palmieri is a fifth-generation Italian baker at Palmieri’s Bakery in Johnston, Rhode Island. It’s where Rhode Islanders go for top-notch comfort food, and he weighed in on the origins of the pizza strip.

“There are lots of theories and stories, (but) my understanding is that it was originally made in the home by Italian immigrants around the turn of the century, and then shortly after was sold in Italian bakeries, my great-great-grandfather, Domenico, being on the forefront of that,” he said. “One of my theories is that because of its simplicity, it was likely a very cheap and affordable food item during the depression, which may have led to its eventual popularity, which seemed to stick and become somewhat of a Rhode Island must-have at parties.”

Palmieri also believes that as the government began regulating food establishments more and more, party pizza was one of the few items that could be sold at room temperature, just like the other Rhode Island staple known as spinach pie.

Truthfully, I have yet to narrow down the exact origin of the pizza strip, but Palmieri believes that’s part of the allure.

“I think the mystery behind it is part of the appeal,” he said. “It’s so strange, nobody outside of Rhode Island knows what to make of it.”

The hunt continues for the Pizza strip’s origin, but one thing is certain; you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Rhode Islander that hasn’t indulged in this notorious strip.

Can't Make the Drive to RI? Here are 25 of the Best Pizza Shops on the SouthCoast

Not all pizza is created equal, but the SouthCoast has plenty of options for a high-quality slice. Choose from any of these 25 spots to fully take advantage of National Pizza Day.

But Wait, There's More: The Best of South Shore Bar Pizza

There's pizza, and then there's South Shore Bar Pizza. Birthed in Brockton (and to this writer, perfected in Randolph – Lynwood Café is the true G.O.A.T.), it must meet certain qualifications to be considered "SSBP," which include: it's a 10-inch pie; it has a thin, cracker-like crust with minimal "flop;" the cheese is a blend that features more cheddar than mozzarella; and bonus points if you take it home between two carboard-type plates wrapped in flat brown paper bag. They also usually come with "laced" or "burnt" edges (terminology depends on where you are ordering), which is when the sauce and cheese are extended all the way to the edge of the pan, creating a crispy, flavorful coating to the crust. We reached out to the hugely popular South Shore Bar Pizza Social Club Facebook group to ask the experts to share the best of the best (in no particular order).

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