When we think of American pizzas, New York and Chicago styles often dominate the conversation. However, for those in the know, Detroit-style pizza, with its crispy edges and soft, airy inside, is an underrated gem in the world of culinary delights. Originating in Detroit, Michigan, this pizza variation stands out not just in flavor but in form, history, and local pride.
The Distinctive Shape and Style
Detroit-style pizza is characterized by its rectangular shape, thick crust, and caramelized cheese around the edges. It’s baked in specific blue steel pans, which were originally used as trays in Detroit’s auto plants, echoing the city’s automotive legacy. The use of such pans gives the crust a unique crispy, fried texture on the bottom.
The toppings are applied in what might seem like a reverse order for those familiar with traditional pizzas. Cheese (usually Wisconsin brick cheese) goes directly on the dough, followed by other toppings, and then the sauce is ladled on top in stripes, earning it the nickname “upside-down pizza.” This method ensures the crust stays airy and soft inside.
A Bite Into History
Detroit-style pizza traces its roots back to 1946 when Gus Guerra and his wife Anna, owners of Buddy’s Rendezvous (now Buddy’s Pizza), decided to create a new pizza using a Sicilian-style dough recipe and the aforementioned blue steel pans. The result was a thick, square pizza that quickly became a hit among locals and has since become synonymous with Detroit.
Beyond the Motor City
Though Detroit-style pizza began its journey in Michigan, its popularity has seen it spread to pizzerias across the nation. Many pizza enthusiasts and restaurateurs, charmed by its unique appearance and rich taste, have introduced this style in their menus, with a few tweaks and personal touches.
For Detroit residents, Detroit-style pizza isn’t just another dish; it’s a symbol of the city’s resilience, innovation, and rich cultural fabric. With the city having faced economic challenges over the decades, the consistent love and demand for this pizza serve as a delicious reminder of Detroit’s enduring spirit.
Furthermore, the recent surge in its popularity across the country is a testament to Detroit’s influence on American gastronomy. Each bite of the crispy edges and soft inside resonates with a sense of nostalgia and pride among the locals.
Detroit-style pizza is more than just a culinary dish; it’s an emblem of Detroit’s legacy, both in the automotive world and in the hearts of food lovers everywhere. Its unique style, rich history, and undeniable flavor make it a must-try for anyone visiting Michigan. And for those who can’t make the trip, don’t fret – its growing popularity means you might just find a slice in your own city soon.
For pizza aficionados and casual eaters alike, this Motor City masterpiece deserves a spot on your pizza bucket list. After all, who can resist the allure of crispy caramelized cheese edges and a luscious, soft center?