Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pizza: Detroit Style


Once upon a time, when I was still living in California, my roommate at the time, Sherelle, and I were discussing the various types of pizza. Not entirely sure what defined Chicago style versus New York style, we went to a definitive source: Wikipedia. It was there that we found a style of pizza neither one of us had ever encountered before, Detroit style. Being in California, neither Sherelle nor myself could really investigate this further, so I put it in the back of my mind to seek out this mysterious Detroit style pizza when I was back in Michigan.

Now that I've moved to the edge of Detroit, I've discovered almost no one has heard of Detroit style pizza either, even my friends who grew up there. My boyfriend Greg could only imagine that Detroit style must mean Buddy's Restaurant Pizzaria, a native pizzeria chain that isn't found outside of the metro area.

(Fun fact: Numerous pizza chains have their headquarters in the Detroit metro area, including Little Caesar's and Hungry Howie's. Cottage Inn and Domino's Pizza are headquartered in Ann Arbor specifically.)

Once again, Wikipedia was turned to, and this time, instead of looking up pizza in general, as Sherelle and I had, Greg looked up Detroit style specifically, and we found a modest entry that did name Buddy's as specializing in the Detroit style. (It also mentioned Cottage Inn, based out of Ann Arbor, and one of my favorite local pizza places.) Since Greg lives not far from a Buddy's, we headed over for dinner one night after running some errands.

It turns out that Detroit style is similar to Chicago style, but still distinct. Detroit style is square, often has a twice-baked crust, giving it a really yummy, almost fried texture, and has the sauce on top of the cheese. Greg and I ordered the Detroiter (we didn't think it could get more specific than that), which also had pepperoni. (We also ordered an appetizer of fried mushrooms, cauliflower, and zucchini that I highly recommend.)

When I posted about our trip to Buddy's on Facebook, a friend who grew up just outside of Detroit found a more in-depth description of Detroit style pizza at DetroitStylePizza.com. This site includes a lengthy description of both the style and the history of Detroit style pizza. In short, Detroit style pizza was created when World War II ended, and returning soldiers had broadened their horizons and palates, by Gus Guerra and his wife, Anna, who used her Sicilian mother's dough recipe. The original Detroit pizza was layered with pepperoni, then cheese, then sauce (hence the above mentioned "Detroiter"). 

Wikipedia says that Detroit style pizza can be found outside if Michigan, but the locations are few and very far apart. Go figure Austin, TX is one of them, though. The city's slogan is "keep Austin weird," after all. If you are one of the lucky people who can try Detroit style pizza, I recommend that you do so. It's a part of history that is sure to tantelize your tastebuds.

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