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London Pizza Named Most Delicious Food, Beating Italian

Lee Hollingworth and Jeffrey Merrihue
Lee Hollingworth of Story Deli and Jeffrey Merrihue, founder of Chowzter. Hollingworth's pizza took the top prize. Photographer: Richard Vines/Bloomberg

A temporary venue in a former Scout hut in east London serves a pizza that is the most delicious food item in the world, beating dishes from Italy, according to voters on the Chowzter Fast Feast awards.

Story Deli took the top prize last night as well as the pizza award for its Margherita, made with type 1 Molina Grassi SpA organic flour, rolled thin and baked for 30 seconds.

It’s like a crunchy wafer, more brittle than a traditional base and closer to a Roman pizza than the Naples style that is popular in the U.K.

“Nobody can beat the Italians for making amazing pizzas that build on, and respect, centuries of tradition,” Chowzter founder Jeffrey Merrihue said in an interview. “Story has taken that tradition and turned it on its head, creating a Margherita that combines great flavors with an unusual texture.”

Chowzter’s rankings are based on the nominations of a team of more than 50 bloggers from around the world.

Other winners included Louis’ Lunch, of New Haven, Connecticut, for best burger. This restaurant, established in 1895, bills itself as the birthplace of the hamburger sandwich.

A customer entered one day in 1900, saying he was in a hurry and wanted something he could eat on the run, according to the website. The owner, Louis Lassen, placed ground steak trimmings between slices of toast and sent him on his way.

Burger Garnish

Louis’s great grandson, Jeff, carries on the tradition. The burgers are hand-rolled from a blend of five meat varieties and cooked in cast-iron grills dating back to 1898. Just don’t ask for ketchup: Cheese, tomato, and onion are the only acceptable garnish, the website says. The burger costs $5.25.

Hanoi, Vietnam, was named “Foodiest City” because of “the cornucopia of exotic locally sourced, freshly produced delights being available 24/7 and where the food stalls will even wheel over to you,” according to a Chowzter release.

The winners were announced at a ceremony in Shoreditch, London. Chef Angela Hartnett and the restaurateur Russell Norman of Polpo were among those who agreed to hand out the awards.

Story’s Margherita is the creation of Lee Hollingworth, 56, who uses La Macina Ligure, a creamy Genovese basil pesto.

“We’ve had Jamie Oliver’s people in and Gordon Ramsay’s, asking how we make our pizzas,” he said in an interview at Story, an unfussy venue in Bethnal Green with bare tables and walls. All his pizzas cost 16 pounds ($24.71). Other options include the Shoreditch Tart, which is hot and spicy.

The best pizza beat the lightly fried Montanara at Pizzeria Starita, in Naples, Italy. This was a location in the 1954 Sophia Loren comedy “L’Oro di Napoli” (“The Gold of Naples”).

Other finalists included, El Cuartito, Buenos Aires; Zuppardi’s, West Haven, Connecticut; and Seirinkan, Tokyo.

Chowzter comes on the eve of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, which are being held in London tonight.

The winners:
Pizza: Margherita -- Story Deli, London.
Chicken: Fried Chicken Wings -- HanChu, Seoul.
Taco: BBQ Goat Taco -- Barbacoa Santiago, Queretaro, Mexico.
Burger: Cheeseburger -- Louis’ Lunch, New Haven, Connecticut.
Curry: Mutton Vindaloo -- Ritz Classic, Goa, India.
Sandwich: Banh Mi Thit -- Banh Mi Thit: Ho Chi Minh City,
Sausage: Kielbasa -- Kielbasa Truck: Krakow, Poland.

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include John Mariani on drink and Craig Seligman on books.

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