History of Coal Fired Pizza

History of Coal Fired Pizza

History of Coal Fired Pizza

In the last five years, coal fired pizza has become increasingly popular. But we’ve been cooking up these delicious pizzas at our Providence location since 2012. In fact, PCFP was the very first coal fired pizza restaurant in Rhode Island.

Have you ever wondered where coal fired pizza came from and just how it’s different than other styles of pizza? If so, we’ve got a quick history lesson for you. (Don’t worry – there won’t be a test!)

History of Coal Fired Pizza

The history of coal fired pizza starts with coal fired ovens, which had their early beginnings in the 1880s.

Newly arrived to the Northeast, Neapolitan immigrants cooked with coal fired ovens. Why coal? For one, easy proximity. Anthracite mines, which produce the coal needed for these ovens, are located in Eastern Pennsylvania. Also, these ovens were more cost-effective than their wood fired counterparts as they burned more efficiently and took up less space.

In the 1880s, coal fired ovens were originally used to bake bread. But years later, as Southern Italians immigrated to the Northeast, pizza became the main dish fired up in these massive ovens.

Coal fired pizza is truly at the heart of pizza’s history. In 1905, when the first pizzeria in America, Lombardi’s, opened its doors, it used coal fired ovens to cook its pizzas.

Now, in recent years, coal fired pizza is growing in popularity.

What Is Coal Fired Pizza, Exactly?

There’s a reason coal fired pizza is rising in popular demand. Cooking pizza in a coal fired oven produces the perfect crispy, but not-too-crispy texture that proves impossible to resist.

What is it that makes coal fired pizza so special? The heat and the crust.

Coal fired ovens can heat up to 900 degrees fahrenheit, or higher. This means that they can cook a pizza to perfection in only two or three minutes. Wood fired ovens just can’t deliver a pizza as quickly. While coal provides 13,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) per pound, wood only provides 6,500 BTUs per pound.

Put simply, a coal fired oven can cook a pizza faster and better.

A coal fired oven also delivers the trademark, slightly blackened crust so many pizza-eaters love. Without the overpowering “smokey” taste that comes from wood fired ovens, the coal fired ovens’ extreme heat lets the pizza’s toppings stay deliciously chewy while creating a browned, crispy crust.


If you haven’t tried coal fired yet, then you don’t know what you’re missing. It has been the true best in pizza for over 100 years – just look at the history of coal fired pizza.

Still not convinced from our history lesson? Judge the coal fired ovens yourself.

Visit Providence Coal Fired Pizza in Providence or North Kingstown and see why this style of pizza has withstood the test of time.

Providence Coal Fired Pizza

Providence Coal Fired Pizza