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What Makes a Food “New York Style”?

October 21, 2013

What Makes a Food “New York Style”?

What Makes a Food “New York Style”?

There’s New York style cheesecake, New York style pizza, and, of course, New York style bagels. There is also New York style hot dogs, pastrami and even non-food items that are considered New York style.


So what makes an item “New York style”? Let’s look at three examples.


New York Style Cheesecake
Cheesecake has been around since the very first century, originating in Greece. Beginning as more of a cheese tart, it eventually evolved into the cheesecake of today.


In the 1900s, cheesecake became very popular in New York thanks to a new soft cheese developed in the late 1800s in Orange County, New York. That cheese, which is now called cream cheese, is what makes a cheesecake New York style. Differing from the lighter ricotta-based cheesecake, New York style is rich and heavy.


New York Style Pizza
The first pizzeria in the United States was founded in Little Italy, Manhattan. The pizza made back then is what has become known today as “New York style” pizza. The crust is hand tossed and thin, made from a high-gluten bread flour.


New York style pizza is usually light on sauce with a puffed-up, bread-like outer crust surrounding the thin, crisp middle. The end product is a wide pie that can be easily folded in half to be eaten. In fact, the slices are so large, they almost have to be folded in half to be eaten.


New York Style Bagels
Ask people where you can get a good bagel, and they usually answer “New York.” Some say that the water in New York is what makes the bagels (and pizza crusts) better, but New York style bagels are actually made differently than other bagels made “Montreal style.”


New York style bagels are made with malt and salt. They are first boiled in water and then baked in a standard oven. These bagels end up puffy and moist, with a relatively small hole in the middle.


Montreal style bagels are made with malt and sugar, no salt. They are boiled in honey-sweetened water and then baked in a wood-fired oven. The end result is smaller than New York bagels. They are crunchy and sweet, and have a large hole in the middle.


New Yorkers have a reputation for thinking that things are generally better if they come from New York, and in these three cases, they might be right. After all, the label “New York style” has stuck, and each of these three items is known to be delicious. Are there any other New York style items that you love?