How a regional chain specializing in square-shaped pies came to define pizza in the Mid-Atlantic.
Maryland has plenty of culinary specialties—blue crabs, Old Bay—but one of the most overlooked is their pizza. Much like New York and Chicago, Maryland has a pizza style all their own, and that's thanks to a pizzeria that emerged in the Mid-Atlantic region over 60 years ago. Any guesses?
Any Marylander worth their weight in Old Bay seasoning has gone to, you guessed it, Ledo Pizza! Ledo Pizza is famous for its rectangular pies, an oddity in the pizza world. The buttery crust has a biscuit-like consistency, the sauce is sweet, and the smoked provolone cheese adds a savory touch. Copy-cats have flooded the market, but none have matched the home-run of flavor and texture that Ledo perfected. Plus, those square slices make the best party food!
Courtesy of Ledo Pizza's Facebook
Ledo Pizza was founded in 1955 by Robert Beall and Thomas Marcos, who opened their first shop in Adelphi, Maryland. They crafted their pies using rectangular dishes. The reason? That's what was available at the time. Contrary to popular belief, pizza wasn't always circular in shape; the pans available in the 1950s were mainly rectangular. Despite the eventual shift to circular pans (which gives the impression of more food), the restaurant stuck to the square-edged pans they used from the beginning. Which makes total sense—why fix something that isn't broken? It's even baked into their tagline: "Ledo Pizza is square, because we don't cut corners."
Beall family, courtesy of Ledo Pizza
Today, the chain has expanded to over 100 locations across the DMV and Southeast United States, and their square-shaped pizzas continue to delight foodies from all over. Its influence can be found in the crop of rectangular pies from eateries like Stained Glass Pub and Continental. In addition to pizza, their menu features chicken wings, side salads, and Italian-style subs. Don't forget to try their exclusive beer, Ledo Lager!
Fun fact: the Bowie Rt. 197 location in Bowie, Maryland, makes their pizzas using the original family recipe that made them famous! Carryout, anyone?
Do you enjoy Ledo Pizza? What are some other Maryland pizzerias you like? Let us know in the comments!