There was also Shakey's, which actually started in California in 1954, but had a very Midwestern style of crust to it.
I think pizza in the East typically was started by Italian Americans in their restaurants. In the Midwest, I think it started more in bars as something to offer patrons that was salty (particularly the toppings), cheap, and an alternative to pretzels and peanuts that went great with beer.
The reason for the difference in styles was the availability of ingredients. Midwesterners translated "pizza pie" into a more literal form of a crispier, pie-like dough that was rolled out or flattened with a sheeter, because that was what they were familiar with and what they had available in terms of ingredients. They did not have as much access to the variety of tomatoes, herbs, and flours that others had on the coast, not to mention the family knowledge and tradition.
post edited by collinf - 2012/10/02 17:07:47