Detroit-Style Pizza: Definitive Guide to Motor City’s Best Slices
Detroit-style pizza, that rich, cheesy slice is hot stuff right now (pun intended), and there is no place better to try it than Michigan!
Surely, you’ve heard the world cuisines debate raging about Chicago-style and New York-style pizza over who has best slice? Here in the Motor City, we know the answer to that question: neither.
That’s because we have Detroit Style Pizza, the best slice in the country. The Detroit style pan pizza, with slices big enough to be your daily meal, will easily win any taste test across the country.
Read on to learn everything you want to know about Detroit Style Pizza, a pure Michigan treat. You’ll want to set aside some time, because we’re including a short list of our favorite places for this special treat.
About the Detroit Style Pie
The Detroit style pizza is different from other pizza, and the square, or rectangular shape, is the first clue. It’s like a homemade pizza…elevated to perfection by a gourmet chef.
This is deep dish treat featuring the buttery flavor of Wisconsin brick cheese. It’s similar to a Sicilian pizza with it’s thick, bread flour base, cooked to perfection, when the crusts start to pull from the edges of the pan. It is truly a special treat.
It’s also one of the most unique pizza styles around.
The combination of the Neapolitan pizza’s rich fresh tomatoes and the caramelized cheese of the Sicilian pizza is almost an international pizza, Detroit-style.
The iconic square shape, sauce on top, crunchy crust, and crispy cheese along the edges leaves everyone competing for the corners.
What Is a Detroit-Style Pizza?
Many of the famed pizza chains worldwide have roots in Metro-Detroit, but Detroiters know that a Detroit-style pizza is more than its city or origin.
A true Detroit-style pizza is unlike any other pizza in both its construction and appearance. While the square shape is the most obvious difference, there are more subtle differences that set this type of pizza apart from the rest.
Is it the olive oil? Is it the tomato sauce or the pizza dough itself, with it’s thick crust?
Whatever the secret, these pan pizzas are some serious eats.
The Detroit Style Pizza Difference: The Square
The shape of a Detroit style pizza is no accident. While it might look rectangular, to say so would garner strange glances from locals who know that it’s square.
This shape is a product of the baking pan used. This industrial blue steel pan was first used in Detroit auto factories, but was later adopted by Buddy’s as the perfect pizza pan.
The dough used for Detroit-style pizza is spongy, with a crispy crust. The mix of allpurpose flour and instant yeast, creates something lighter as the dough forms.
This style hails from a Sicilian dough: it’s airier and softer, unlike the ultra-crisp Chicago or chewier New York style pie.
The Layers: Red Top Pizza
Where to Get Detroit-Style Pizza
Multiple locations throughout metro Detroit and Grand Rapids, MI; use map for address and phone information.
Of course, if we’re talking about Detroit-style pizza, we can’t overlook Buddy’s. History of the Detroit style pizza This is where it all began in 1946 when Gus Guerra, owner of Buddy’s Rendezvous, a local bar, put together a new kind of pizza.
There are a few stories about how this happened, including Guerra learning how to make Sicilian dough from his mother-in-law. Another version says that an employee taught him how to make it.
Whoever inspired Detroit-style pizza, we have Buddy’s to thank for popularizing it.
Today, there are over a dozen Buddy’s Pizza locations in Michigan serving up the original Detroit-style pizza with menu items named for iconic Michigan places, much of which are Detroit-specific.
29347 Gratiot Ave, Roseville, MI 48066
28630 Harper Ave, St Clair Shores, MI 48081
Detroit-style pizza also owes a lot to pizza maker Shawn Randazzo. Randazzo, who passed away in 2020, shared his Detroit stye pizza recipe at the Las Vegas Pizza Expo in 2012, and the rest is history. His pan pizza recipe, used at his Detroit Style Pizza Company, quickly became legend. You can try it at these two locations:
23141 Dequindre Rd, Hazel Park, MI 48030
Loui’s Pizza was founded by a long-time Buddy’s chef, which makes sense of the similarities to Buddy’s.
Still, Loui’s Pizza stands out as a must-try Detroit pizza destination in Hazel Park as owner Louis Tourtois helped earn Buddy’s one of its first blue ribbon awards for pizza.
After leaving Buddy’s Tourtois sought to make a name for himself in the Detroit pizza scene and since 1977, his consistency and desire to stick to the roots of independent pizza-making has made his establishment a staple among pizza lovers in southeast Michigan.
24443 Gratiot Ave, Eastpointe, MI 48021
Cloverleaf is another suburban favorite for Detroit pizza located in Eastpointe.
This business also claims a close connection to the original Buddy’s Pizza restaurant but broke away to establish a new brand of Detroit-style pizza.
Of course, Cloverleaf’s square pies were famed and favored by locals who flocked to the restaurant for high quality pizza. Fans of Cloverleaf know that if you’re looking for a pizza with superior crust, this is where you need to go.
42 Piquette Ave, Detroit, MI 48202
Z’s Villa has a unique location inside an old Victorian house, which makes for a unique atmosphere in Detroit, however their outdoor area is where it really shines.
Here you can enjoy a classic Detroit-style pizza while enjoying nice weather by engaging with patio games or playing beach volleyball. Z’s is the perfect place to eat, play, and relax in Detroit.
More Places to Get Detroit-Style Pizza
22812 Woodward Ave #100, Ferndale, MI 48220
4135 W Maple Rd, Bloomfield Twp, MI 4830
1222 E Eleven Mile Rd,
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Multiple Locations throughout Metro Detroit; Use map for address and phone information
Gluten-Free Pizza in Michigan
If you’re looking for a delicious gluten-free pizzza in Michiga, be sure and check out Renee’s Gourmet Pizza in Troy. Use our Guide to 15 Top Gluten-Free Restaurants in Michigan for more GF choices.
Detroit Style Pizza FAQ’s
A. The Detroit style pizza is truly unique, starting with its square shape. Baked in deep dish, Detroit style pizza has a thick, crispy (but not burnt) crust made from bread dough.
It’s finished off with toppings, Wisconsin brick mozzarella cheese and fresh tomatoes. It’s baked until crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside.
A. The Detroit style pan pizza, with slices big enough to be your daily meal, will easily win any taste test across the country.
A true Detroit-style pizza is unlike any other pizza in both its construction and appearance. While the square shape is the most obvious difference, there are more subtle differences that set this type of pizza apart from the rest…and so does the taste: delicious.
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