And, you should probably wash those hands before you touch your clothes, because Detroit-style pizza is gooey, greasy, and overall a joy to eat.
Sure, the Windy City and the Big Apple might get all of the praise (and annoying rivalries–come on, guys it’s all pizza, which means it’s all pretty darned good). Suffice it to say, that when it comes to pizza, Detroit style is well-worth your attention.
Defining Detroit-Style Pizza: What Sets it Apart?
Just what is Detroit-style pizza, though? Some will argue that it is defined by being cut into squares, but that sounds a lot like deep-dish Chicago style, doesn’t it? What really sets it apart from Chicago-style is having a somewhat thicker crust, and a much crispier bottom.
Typically, Detroit-style pizza is not baked in a traditional cast-iron pan (a la Chicago), nor is it baked on a stone in a pizza oven (a la New York, Italy, and just about everywhere else).
Anyway, you slice it (pun very much intended), here are the five best places to get this unique take on classic ‘za. (Side note: while these places offer more “standard” takes on pizza, they also offer the classic Detroit specialty referred to by passionate locals as the “Motor City Brick.”)
Some restaurants become chains due to convenience, or their ability to be “turn-key” operations for franchise owners; Jet’s became Detroit’s preeminent pizzeria by being the best. Bear in mind, Jet’s is a strictly carry-out and delivery affair. As such, none of the Jet’s locations can be described as very “atmospheric,” but their pies will send your taste buds through the stratosphere.
Known nationwide (in the right circles, at least) for their high-quality, bubbly cheese and distinctive spicy pepperoni. Also excellent, though, are Jet’s sauce and the oh-so-buttery crusts. It’s no surprise that Michiganders often cite Jet’s Pizza as the thing they miss most about their home state.
Perhaps readers are surprised to see another chain restaurant near the top of the list, but Cloverleaf holds a legitimate claim to being one of the originators of Michigan’s unique regional take on the ever-popular pepperoni pizza (although the proprietor of Buddy’s–our next entry–might have some unkind words to say about that, because Cloverleaf’s founder used to be his business partner).
Cloverleaf’s classic Detroit-style pizza has a bit sweeter of a crust than some of the other entries here, and frankly, we’re all about that.
Buddy’s deserves to be near the top of the list of pizzerias nationwide for its storied history alone. However, when you add in the actual pizza, it’s pretty unbeatable. All of the locations we’ve tried had a consistency of quality, but we want to focus specifically on Buddy’s Rendezvous.
This 6 Mile establishment is legendary around Detroit and surrounding parts; sure, there are five other Buddy’s restaurants scattered about Motown, but this one is the only one featuring a bocce ball court. Let that sink in for a second… Come on, what’s more, Italian than pizza and bocce ball–just wipe your hands before you throw, Detroit-style pizza can get greasy (not that we’re complaining, mind you).
If you’re looking for the quintessential Detroit-style pizza, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more authentic and unique slice than Buddy’s. Their recipe has hardly changed since the eatery’s establishment in 1936; frankly, it doesn’t need to. Buddy’s has been featured in countless culinary magazines and television shows and maintains its legacy as a destination for food snobs and working-class Joes alike.
The Green Lantern Pizzeria
With four locations spread out through the Detroit metro area, The Green Lantern Pizzeria specializes in Detroit-style pizza in a laid-back dive atmosphere. If you have kids, though, don’t let that description turn you off–it’s a very family-friendly establishment.
For Motor City pizza aficionados it’s important that we note, however, that only Green Lantern’s Clinton Township location serves up a rectangular pie (the rest are great too, and very similar in style–maybe the other locations just didn’t want to spring for the extra pans?
Let the Green Lantern light your way to some of the best pizza you’ve ever tried–Detroit-style or otherwise. A favorite of locals and transplants alike, Green Lantern is the kind of place you’ll find yourself visiting again and again.
Located in the Hazel Park section of Detroit, this humble eatery might be a newer establishment than the other pizzerias appearing on the list, but Loui’s has already made a name for itself as one of the best slices (sorry, we meant to say “squares”) in Motor City.
It also has a fun Italian vibe and ambiance, replete with checkered tablecloths and straw-wrapped wine bottles–perfect for a casual date that feels a little more romantic than your average pizza joint.
Conclusion: The Detroit Pizza Battle Rages On
This list is bound to stir up some controversy among hardcore Detroit pizza fans–there are many runner-ups we considered, but these are the five destinations that we thought were the most indicative of this rectangular culinary wonder.
Detroit is as proud of its pizza as it is of Eminem, Bob Seger, the Detroit Tigers, and Insane Clown Posse (okay, that last one was a joke)–you owe it to yourself to find out why. In short, if you’re still unfamiliar with this regional delight, it’s time to change that.
Have your own suggestions for the best Detroit-style pizzas? Let us know!