We’ve all heard of New York and Chicago style pizza, but we have our own style of pizza here in Maryland. Maryland style Pizza is rectangular in shape, has a biscuity crust, a sweet tomato sauce, and uses smoked provolone cheese.
This all began when Ledo Pizza, called Ledo Restaurant, opened its first restaurant in 1955 in Adelphi, Maryland (Prince George’s County, pictured below). The circular pizza pans were relatively new when the first restaurant opened…so they went with the rectangular pans and ended up sticking with what was working.
Many of the best pizza spots in the area (Stained Glass Pub, Continental, Gentleman Jim’s, 4 Corners Pub, etc.) have carried on the rectangular pizza tradition that was inspired by Ledo Pizza and the first form of Gentleman Jim’s– the Cavalier Restaurant in D.C, which was owned by “Gentleman” Jim Hance after it moved to Twinbrook and became the first Gentleman Jim’s (Gentleman Jim’s traditionally uses Swiss, but can make your pizza with provolone or mozzarella too).
The original Ledo Restaurant closed in July 2010, but relocated a month later to downtown College Park (Knox Road). It recently closed and reopened as a Ledo Pizza restaurant. The Ledo Pizza chain has expanded to include over 100 restaurants in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, and Florida.
“… and Florida.”
I just about lost it when I discovered that Ledo’s Pizza out on Dale Mabry in Tampa. HAD to stop and order one to go. It was like a mouthful of nostalgia from the first bite. YEAH! 😀
I’d love a recipe for this type of pizza crust! Anyone have any tips?
If it’s the dough you’re asking about I don’t have a recipe but I’m guessing Crisco (lard) is used in it.
For Ledo’s Crust? Sure…go to the UPStore and get a cardboard box. It’s about the same.
Haha! I agree. I moved to the area from upstate NY in 1979. When I heard all the locals raving about Ledo’s, I couldn’t wait to try it. Boy, was I disappointed, and flummoxed as to why people raved about it. The crust was paper thin and tasteless. I haven’t been to any Ledo’s since about 1982.
I totally agree with your comment about Ledo’s pizza. I have only tried it twice and both times it was like eating dog biscuits.
I worked at Ledos in high school and made pizzas.. about 17 years ago… I don’t remember the exact measurements or ratios but the dough was pretty simple: flour, water and fresh yeast if my memory serves correctly. I don’t remember putting salt in it but I could be mistaken. The one thing they do use is a notched rolling pin… if you look at the bottom of a Ledo’s slice you’ll see a bunch of little holes poked in it. I think we’d roll the dough out with a regular rolling pin, stretch it over the pan and finally go over it with the notched rolling pin.
I’m afraid the other Ledos outlets don’t make nearly as good pizza as the original Ledos, the one located in College Park. I obviously haven’t eaten at all 100 of the other Ledos – just 2, in fact. But the pizzas were more like standard pizzas. Different recipe.
you are so right! I am heartbroken that the original Ledo’s is being sold.
That’s right. I’ve eaten at Leo’s from Collage Park to Martinsburg and I’ve found the farther you get from College Park the less it taste like Ledo’s
Bethesda was out side Collage Park then Germantown after that down hill
By the way does any body remember The Zebra Room on Wisconsin Ave
yup. i live near the ledo’s in georgetown. disappointing.
I am not sure what Ledo’s serves qualifies as pizza…I have heard good things about the original location, but the others are like Domino’s, Pizza Hut, or Papa John’s…only good for kid’s parties when you are OK having cheap pizza.
Stained Glass Pub has the best “Maryland Style Pizza”!! Even during the pandemic they are offering their usual Monday and Tuesday half price pizza deal! Just buy either a drink or an appetizer to get the deal. Our family has been enjoying Stained Glass Pub pizza since it opened in 1973!! Our favorites are pepperoni and “everything”, crispy bacon, no fish. If you’ve never had their pizza I would highly recommend!
They got their facts a bit mixed up concerning Gentleman Jim’s. Jim Hance didn’t own Cavalier Restaurant in DC, He bought the Cavalier Restaurant when it located in Twinbrook and renamed it Gentleman Jim’s. Joe Hance still serves the original Cavalier recipe at GJ’s in Gaithersburg and does an excellent job.
Started in the 1940’s in DC there was Cavalier Restaurant, my parents frequented in their youth. It moved to Twinbrook MD and when Portners sold in 1970, became Gentleman Jim’s. New owners kept same cooks, same pizza. Ledo is fine pizza, but holds no candle to a Cavalier pizza. Cavalier now known as GJ was cutting corners long before Ledo existed
I had assumed Cavalier was around way before Ledo’s, thx for setting the record straight.
Not mentioning Continental in this article is criminal!
They’re in the article…
No mentioning Pizza Oven in Rockville is also criminal!!!!
And the late lamented Zebra Room at Wisconsin and MacomJb’ NW DC
I grew up eating Ledo Pizza at their Adelphi location. I was thrilled when they expanded to Gaithersburg in the 80’s, where we lived for 33 years, and soon became a regular at their Derwood store. Now that we’ve retired and moved south, I’m thrilled that Ledo’s has expanded again, as there’s one in North Myrtle Beach that we frequent. It was the first Ledo’s to have a full-size bar and, in addition to the best pizza ever, they serve terrific Maryland crabcakes on Sundays!!
agreed. i thought stained glass pub blew ledo’s away? ex-GF used to take me there in the early 90s….
Having moved to the region as an adult, one of the biggest checks in the con column for Montgomery County is that there’s no good pizza anywhere to be found.
There are several really good ones. Start with Inferno
I seem to remember that there was a falling out in the Ledo’s franchise system and there are actually two different groups that use different raw materials and recipes. For sure, it seems like every Ledo’s is a bit a different and some are pretty disappointing!
Love the pizza at the Four Corners Pub. Been going there for thirty years and it never disappoints.